Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public

Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public

Markham Public Art

Ken Lum, Melly Shum Hates Her Job, 1990. Courtesy the artist.

October 12, 2020
Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public
October 13–December 8, 2020
Keynote by Ken Lum : October 13, 1:30–3pm, RSVP required.
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Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public is a nine-week virtual summit presented by the City of Markham in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd. A fast-developing urban environment, Markham has one of the most diverse populations in Canada. Part of the City’s emerging public art program, the summit aims to develop resources for those interested in the practice of contemporary public art. In a series of programs, professionals in the field will present the broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today. Framed by current discussions happening at the intersection of contemporary art, public realm issues and urbanism, the summit features working models and case studies that address the challenges and opportunities faced by those working in this constantly evolving field. 

The summit will kick off with a special keynote speech by internationally celebrated artist Ken Lum.

In this special presentation, Ken Lum lays out the key points that public artists, or persons interested in public art, need to consider regarding the role of public art in society today. The keynote considers how public art is called upon to perform as a so-called public good, while at the same time it has become instrumentalized by administrative language. Lum presents these key points as an index of terms essential for every public artist to know. Lum will also speak about this moment as a “monuments moment” brought about by the unprecedented change to our collective existence under a global pandemic, which catalyzes a re-examination of public space and the institutions that govern it.

The keynote is co-presented by Canadian Art. Free, online, and open to the public. Registration is required. 

For summit details and to subscribe for updates, please visit the summit website.


Session 1: Keynote presentation by Ken Lum
October 13, 1:30–3pm EST
Registration click here.

Session 2: Collaborative Process
October 20
Featuring: Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins, James Khamsi (DCSK), Stephen Richards (Streamliner Fabrication), Stefan Pilipa (Punchclock Metalworks Inc.)
Moderator: David Turnbull (Edmonton Arts Council)

Session 3: A Civic Role for Artists
October 27
Featuring: Carolyn Bowen (Watershed Planning, City of Calgary), Shirley Levy (NYC Department of Cultural Affairs)
Moderator: Michèle Pearson Clarke (visual artist and Photo Laureate, City of Toronto)

Session 4: Art and Urban Planning
November 3
Featuring: Ellen Blumenstein (Imagine the City, Hamburg)
Moderator: Brenda Webster Tweel (Stantec’s Urban Places)
Respondents: Parvathi Nampoothiri, Richard Fournier (City of Markham)

Session 5: Accessibility
November 10
Featuring: Paul Amenta (SiTE:LAB), Christopher Smit & Jill Vyn (DisArt) , Devon Ostrom (curator, artist, and advocate)
Moderator: Kevin Buist (independent curator and writer)

Session 6: Placemaking and Public Art
November 17
Featuring: Native Art Department International, Mary Anne Barkhouse (artist)
Moderator: Dr. Julie Nagam (University of Winnipeg, Nuit Blanche Toronto)

Session 7: Site-Specificity and Public Art
November 24
Featuring: Maggie Groat (artist), Paul Wong (artist), Randy Niessen (Public Art Program, City of Calgary)
Moderator: Annie Wong (artist)

Session 8: Temporary Programming
December 1
Featuring: Rina Greer (public art consultant), Jayne Wilkinson (Canadian Art) & Yan Wu (Markham Public Art), Ilana Altman (The Bentway), Tairone Bastien (Toronto Biennial of Art), Kari Cwynar (Evergreen Brickworks)
Moderator: Janine Marchessault (York University)

Session 9: The Digital Turn in Public Art
December 8
Featuring: Marc Boutin (MBAC), Jon Isherwood (Bennington College VT, Digital Stone Project), Ben Rubin (EAR Studio Inc.)
Moderator: Mitchell Chan (Studio F Minus)


Becoming Public Art is curated by Rebecca Carbin, Principal, ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, and Yan Wu, Public Art Curator, City of Markham.

General inquiries: publicart [​at​]
Media inquiries: Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator ywu [​at​]

RSVP for Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for…
Markham Public Art
October 12, 2020

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