As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to force many of us to conduct much of our lives outdoors, we at MOCA believe that it is an opportune time to focus our programming on outdoor art in the public sphere. In doing so, we aim to call attention to the spaces that host these artworks and the ways that art, site, and public may work in tandem to create civic discourse. As part of this effort, we have organized Uncommon Commons, a series of virtual panel discussions that investigate the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites, and the people that visit them.
Over the last decade, the discussion regarding public artworks, specifically monuments, and their impact on the communities that live with them has become polemical. Many artworks’ place in the community has been called into question as they no longer, or perhaps never have, reflected the histories, perspectives, and hopes of the people that engage with them on a daily basis.
However, new models are emerging for creating positive dialogue between art and community interests. In this second panel in the series, we assemble a panel of artists, curators, and civic arts commissioners who engage and rely on their communities to inform their decisions regarding the content or form of the artworks that will become part the urban landscape. Together, we hope to investigate how to create artworks that are responsive to the political, historical, and emotional communities they represent.