The Ann Arbor Art Center wants your vote for public art

It's not too late to cast your vote for public art in Ann Arbor.
The Ann Arbor Art Center is asking community members to choose their favorite of three proposals for work to be installed along Stadium Boulevard as part of a major reconstruction project beginning Nov. 21. Voting is open through Nov. 15.
Art Center director of community engagement Omari Rush says the center worked with an art advisory council to develop the process for soliciting and reviewing project proposals on the city's behalf starting last spring.
The Art Center received nearly 60 submissions from around the world, including many from Ann Arbor. Representatives of the center and the city of Ann Arbor then determined which designs met minimum criteria, such as not requiring electricity, before turning them over to two community panels that reviewed how submissions met artistic, material, and logistical criteria.
Rush says proposals varied, including standalone sculptures and installations built into the boulevard's physical features. The three finalists all propose making use of Stadium's retaining wall, which is to be reconstructed as part of the project. Determined by the panels' scores, the finalists are:
  • Brian Brush's "Leaven," a vine-like relief sculpture composed of diamond-shaped, anodized aluminum "leaves."
  • Katherine Larson's "Ann Arbor Story Mural Walls," which includes scenes from Ann Arbor's past and present painted in a three-dimensional style.
  • Lisa Sauvé (of Synecdoche Design Studio)'s "Sediment," which is described as an "abstracted topography of the Huron River watershed, featuring hexagonal white oak wood pieces and stained concrete."
"There are some shared characteristics of these three proposals that it seems allowed them to emerge as finalists," Rush says. "Their installations all thoughtfully comment on environmental attributes of Ann Arbor or the installation site, and they intentionally engage passersby from multiple perspectives."
Following the public vote, the Art Center will make a recommendation to the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission and the Ann Arbor City Council to approve the selected artwork.
The city has the final say, but Rush hopes the process, and the Art Center's outreach work, encourages self-expression and helps residents explore new artistic ideas.
"The Ann Arbor Art Center is a community arts organization and the city of Ann Arbor works for the community, so engaging them in meaningful ways throughout this project was a given," he says. "We also value diversity, and we understand that having an inclusive process makes our work even more rich and interesting."

Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.