Helping Artists While Helping the Environment

…..an artist in residence program that also helps the environment.

     Artists in residence programs have been proliferating,  and are very successful  because not only do they help the artists,  they can generate a body of work and art programs  related to a company’s activity.

A couple of years ago (December 2014), I featured an article about three artist in residence programs – Kohler, CERN, and the Recology Program.  I thought it was time to revisit the Recology program because it has a positive influence on not only providing artists with support and inspiration, but it is also going far to help recycling efforts in the San Francisco Bay area that ultimately are helping to restore the environment.  It is a truly innovative and visionary art program.

Recology is a recycling and waste disposal company in San Francisco. The Artist and Residence program has been providing  Bay Area artists with access to discarded materials, a stipend, and a large studio space at the Recology San Francisco Transfer Station.  By supporting artists who work with recycled materials, Recology hopes to encourage people to conserve natural resources and promote new ways of thinking about art and the environment.

The Beginnings of the Program

Jo Hanson, creator of the Artist in Residence program.

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology was established in 1990 at the same time that recycling was being implemented in the city and county of San Francisco.  Part of the  city’s plan was to design an education program to promote recycling and resource conservation. The SWMP and Recology San Francisco (then known as San Francisco Sanitary Fill Company) worked together to create informational ads and brochures about recycling, develop classroom presentations, and organize tours of recycling plants.

The goal was to teach people how to use curbside recycling bins and to encourage source reduction in order to promote a general awareness of how recycling helps protect the environment. Conceived by Jo Hanson, the Artist in Residence Program was the most innovative element of the education plan and the first program of its kind in the United States.  In the late 1980s Hanson suggested to Recology and the City of San Francisco that they develop an artist-in-residence program at the city dump which would offer studio space and stipends for emerging and established artists to create artwork from the waste stream and raise public awareness about environmental issues. Now more than twenty years later, the Artist in Residence Program has been nationally recognized and awarded, and countless artists, children, and adults have benefited from Jo Hanson’s vision.

One of the Artist in Residence for Fall 2017, Rodney Ewing

Jo was a guiding force for the program and served as a member of the program’s board from 1990 until she died in March, 2007.   The program has continued to expand and add new features, and since 1990, over 120 professional artists and 30 student artists have completed residencies. The studio is located at the San Francisco Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center (Recology San Francisco), a 47-acre facility that includes the trash transfer station (where trash goes before being sent to landfill), the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, the Organics Annex, the Public Disposal and Recycling Area (“The Dump”), and other recycling areas.  The facility is also the site for a three-acre sculpture garden containing work by former artists-in-residence.

by Cybele Lyle, 2017 artist in residence

The program has had four goals:

  • To encourage the reuse of materials
  • To support Bay Area artists by providing access to the wealth of materials available at the public dump
  • To encourage children and adults to think about their own consumption practices
  • To teach the public how to recycle and compost through classroom lessons that explain the city’s three-cart (recycling, composting, trash) system
Beth Krebs

As part of the program, artists speak to elementary school classes and adult tour groups about their experience of working with recycled materials, and when their residency is completed, the company hosts a three-day exhibition and reception to show the work they have completed.

Artists make three pieces of art for the company’s permanent art collection, and leave art created during the residency with the company for the next twelve months for exhibitions at off-site venues.  Current artists that completed their residencies in May are Cybele Lyle, Carrie Hott and Nathan Bryne.  Upcoming artists for 2017 include:  Rodney Ewing, Cathy Lu, Erik Scollon, and Beth Krebs.

The Sculpture Garden and Gardener in Residence Project

An experiment in biodiversity, Wild Apples for Jo is a bed of apple trees grown from seed. The garden installation is dedicated to the memory of Artist in Residence Program founder Jo Hanson and created by Susan Leibovitz Steinman

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The Sculpture Garden  is a private, three-acre facility that includes more than 35 sculptures made by former artists-in-residence, with new pieces added each year.  Each facility tour includes a visit to the garden. In 1992, under the direction and design of  Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Recology San Francisco built the sculpture garden on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. The land functions as a buffer between the SF Transfer Station and the adjacent residential neighborhood, known as Little Hollywood. It was previously a field of ivy and ice plant.

The garden path is made from recycled concrete salvaged from the Embarcadero Freeway when it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Bricks that line the path came from a building on Mission Street, and many of the plants in the garden were rescued from the garbage and brought back to life using Recology compost.

The goal of the Gardener in Residence Program (GIR) at Recology San Francisco is to bring awareness to the importance of native plant restoration, water conservation, and the value of compost as a soil amendment. The focus has been on  educating the public about sustainable landscape design techniques —  essential for reducing water useage and attracting native wildlife, such as bees and butterflies. Using the garden as a platform for educational outreach it is meant to encourage dialogue about these environmental issues.

The program provides experienced local gardeners and landscape designers with access to the Recology Sculpture Garden for site specific projects. In conjunction with Recology staff, the gardener-in-residence determines the appropriate areas for development within the three-acre sculpture garden, and will design and execute their plan by working hands-on in the garden. Projects are to incorporate drought-tolerant plantings, effective use of mulch and compost, and native plants.

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For more information, contact people for the Recology program are:
Deborah Munk: (415) 330-1415
Micah Gibson: (415) 330-1414
Sharon Spain: (415) 330-0747
Felisia Castaneda: (415) 330-9943
The mailing address is:  Artist in Residence Program, 501 Tunnel Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134

The Recology website for the Artist in Residence Program is https://www.recology.com/recology-san-francisco/artist-in-residence-program/

Information on this and nearly 700 other corporate art programs and collections are included in the 2017 edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections here.

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An “Art Exhibition” at 38,000 Feet

A New Art Project for Qantas.

Wunala Dreaming. This design appeared on a jet on September 3, 1994 for the opening of Osaka’s Kansai Airport. Photo: YSSYguy, Wikipedia

Perhaps Corporate Art Brief readers are already familiar with the art project Qantas initiated during the 1990s to paint several of their planes with aboriginal designs to celebrate the 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous People.

Editor Note:  More information about this project is available in the 2017 edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections. Ordering information is here

The company, the national airline of Australia, has continued to initiate innovative ways of sharing the work of Australian artists with an international audience. The latest project has been to work with some of Australia’s leading artists, photographers and digital influencers to feature their work on the airline’s international Business class amenity kits.

The project, called ‘Qantas Curates’ collaborates with professional Australian contemporary art curators to select artworks from 16 Australians that work in different styles that include pop culture, photography, fine art, abstract landscape, Indigenous art and textile design.

On May 1, the new range of amenity kits (eight types for men and eight for women) were introduced and offered to Business class customers on international flights, with two designs launching every few months.

According to Olivia Wirth, of Marketing & Corporate Affairs for Qantas Group the airline’s vision was to increase an awareness of contemporary Australian art and give travellers a collectible piece to take with them.

As the national carrier, we’re pleased to support talented Aussies telling uniquely Australian stories through their artwork and share them with a global audience.  We know amenity kits are an important part of the international Business class experience. Customers love the functionality of our kits and many use them after their flight as make-up bags, an evening clutch or to carry their mobile phones. So, the exposure is broad.”

The first two artists to be featured were Jacob Leary and Liam Snootle

Bubblegum Dystopia by Jacob Leary.   “Bubblegum Dystopia extends my interests into the nature of organisation. Focusing on the idea of non-linearity the picture space attempts to explore the layered complexities that define contemporary modes of experience.”

Liam Snootle – No Queen Blues/Unwind

 

Billie Justice Thomson, whose artwork Fairy Bread will feature on a kit for women said she was proud to be part of a program that showcases artwork in such a unique way. “It’s really exciting to be part of an art exhibition at 38,000 feet. “

A full list of the 16 artists is at the end of the article.

For many years, Qantas has been giving Australian artists opportunities to reach global audiences. In 2015, a donation of AUD 2.75 million ($1.9 million) from the Qantas Foundation, the airline’s philanthropic foundation, has enabled the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and the Tate to launch a joint acquisition program for contemporary Australian art. Works acquired as part of the program will be jointly owned and displayed by the MCA and the Tate. The institutions are planning to buy a wide variety of art spanning from the late 1960s to the present, and in a coordinated selection and purchasing strategy, the museums will share resources and expertise to carefully select an exciting group of artworks which will be shown in a special exhibition at the MCA in 2016, before traveling to London for a show at the Tate. Introducing contemporary Australian art to an international audience is meant to draw more attention to artists who, in an international context, have often been overlooked.

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 Announcement:  The story behind Qantas’ painted planes is being featured in our upcoming publication, as well as the Alexander Calder plane design  project of Braniff Airways and many other fascinating art projects around the world.  The book:  Unlikely Bedfellows:  Art Changing the Workplace and Industry will be released on June 1 in a digital and paperback edition.  I am accepting advance orders and an announcement will be posted shortly.  In the meantime, send me an email if you are interested in more information.  corporate.directory@earthlink.net

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These are the 16 artists that are being featured on the Amenity kits:

Jacob Leary – Bubblegum Dystopia features on the kit for women onboard 1 May 2017
Liam Snootle – No Queen Blues/Unwind features on the kit for men onboard 1 May 2017
Billie Justice Thomson – Fairy Bread
Bonnie and Neil – Gypsy Floral
Craig & Karl – Home
Fred Fowler – 7000 Ironbarks
Jon Campbell – Maaate
Kate Banazi – Adas’ Algorithm
Lucy Simpson – Dhina
Luke Shadbolt – North Avoca ECL 2016
Megan Weston – Iceland
Myra Yurtiwa Cooke (dec) – Lirrun
Nicole Warne – Hamilton Island 2014
Polly Pawuya Butler-Jackson – Mobile Phone Tower
Rachel Castle – I Love the people
Tom Blachford – Black Water

 

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Can Art Change the World?

How art and artists can transform the world.

One of the most popular new works of art to emerge in recent weeks is the bronze Fearless Girl sculpture by Kristen Visval that has rapidly become a symbol and rallying point for the women’s movement.

It was placed on March 8 in Wall Street at the intersection of Broadway and Morris streets, to draw attention to gender inequality and the pay gap in the corporate world. The sculpture – which became an instant tourist draw, and has been seen by thousands of visitors to New York since it was installed — had been due to be removed on Sunday.

Now New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the sculpture will stay in place at least until March next year.  The statue was “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right”, he added. “She is inspiring everyone at a moment when we need inspiration.”

The art work was commissioned by asset managers State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), who have stated that one in four of the 3,000 largest traded US companies did not have even one woman on their board and the company has said that the girl represented the future.

But this young girl has had a far wider and unexpected impact. It is being recognized as a symbol of the women’s movement and can be seen on many levels to represent the strength and courage of women around the world. Fearless Girl is something all women of any age, shape, color or creed can relate to.

The sculpture has been created by Kristen Visbal, an American sculptor who was born in Uraguay, and who now lives and works in Lewes, Delaware. She specializes in lost-wax casting in bronze. She attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her latest creation, Fearless Girl, is a 50-inch high (1,300 mm) bronze, installed on the Bowling Green in Manhattan’s Financial District.

According to Visbal, “The young girl says soft and sensitive equals strong and capable — The piece is pungent with Girl Power!”

In a March 8 press release she stated that “All women should relate to this work,” she wrote. “It should inspire the young to dream as if anything were possible and simultaneously encourage today’s working woman to hold her ground, no matter what challenges may come barreling down the pike.”

The piece was a collaboration with State Street Global Advisors and McCann New York in celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8, and Women’s History Month.

The Charging Bull sculpture was originally guerrilla art by Italian-born artist Arturo Di Modica. Installed in 1989, the bronze was meant to represent the “strength and power of the American people” in response to the market crash in 1987. But it become a popular attraction and was allowed to stay.

The impact of the Fearless Girl sculpture, and one that has not escaped anyone that sees it, lies in the fact that in spite of the confrontation by the iconic bull of Wall Street, the young girl braces herself and defiantly stands firm. As she faces off against the bull, she has become a potent symbol for the awakening strength in today’s international woman”s movement.

However, in an article on Artnet, a darker view of the story behind the sculpture is described.

In contrast, Fearless Girl, created by artist Kristen Visbal, is a carefully calculated play—some say a publicity stunt—by financial firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and advertising firm McCann New York. As Nick Pinto put it at the Village Voice: “Too Bad That Statue of a Girl Staring Down the Wall Street Bull Is a PR Stunt by Wall Street Patriarchs.”

“As such, the work’s pro-women message is a bit tainted. Both companies are predominantly run by men: Hyperallergic crunched the numbers and found McCann’s leadership was only 27 percent female. SSGA was even worse at just 18 percent. The gender gap, the very thing The Fearless Girl appears to be fighting, is alive and well at the companies that brought her into being. “Could there possibly be anything more patronizing,” asked Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer, “than two massive, male-dominated capitalist companies installing a branded statue of the most conceivably non-threatening version of womankind in supposed honor of a day devoted to women’s equality that was founded by the Socialist Party?”

(See the complete Artnet article https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/fearless-girl-wall-street-art-installation-extended-904112?utm_campaign=artnetnews&utm_source=032817daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=from_&utm_term=artnet%20News%20-%20European%20List%20Only )

In my opinion however, it shows that art has a great impact and can change the world, sometimes in totally unexpected ways!

This non-threatening but courageous little girl has become a potent symbol for the women’s movement as it makes its own statement about the strength and courage of women in the face of aggression — no matter what the original intent was of the firm that commissioned it.

You can never predict how art may transform the world !

see other articles at:  Artnet

https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/fearless-girl-wall-street-art-installation-extended-904112?utm_campaign=artnetnews&utm_source=032817daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=from_&utm_term=artnet%20News%20-%20European%20List%20Only

From the Cape Gazette, by Chris Flood, March 8, 2017.

http://www.capegazette.com/article/lewes%E2%80%99-kristen-visbal-creates-fearless-girl/128311

Fearless Girl was modeled and cast in two months, a process which typically takes six to eight months. The sculpture was cast in bronze at New Arts Foundry of Baltimore, Md.

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