There’s a brain trust of the arts gathering for discussion as a unique way to engage the public with some of the local artists, architects, and general fun-masters behind the growing public art landscape in Boston. And everyone is invited.
Play in Public Art will gather together on Thursday night in South Boston at Lawn on D, with panelists that include interdisciplinary artist Ian Deleón; educator and exhibiting ArtLab artist Chris Frost; educator and exhibiting ArtLab artist Kelly Goff; educator and Shepley Bulfinch architect Mary Hale; exhibiting ArtLab artist Robert Lobe; exhibiting ArtLab artist Amanda Parer; and artist, Arts Program Manager at Boston Children’s Museum, and Time, Body, Space, Objects curator Alice Vogler.
Kate Gilbert, D Street ArtLab curator and director for Now and There (one of the event’s sponsors), says the discussion will highlight the importance of play in the public arts, and that the session itself will be uncharacteristically held outside, right in the middle of a brand-new display of public art.
The panel itself will be held among artist and fellow panelist Amanda Parer’s work, Intrude, which kicks off a four-day exhibit at Lawn on D. Involved: five two-story-high rabbits—the same that were created for the 2014 Vivid Festival of Light in Australia, and have since made their way to England, Belgium, France, Scotland, and Italy. Each will light up and watch over the night as the panel gets down to business and proceeds through the discussion.
Chris Wangro (impresario, artistic director of the Lawn on D, and panel moderator) adds that along with taking place outside, what differentiates Play in the Public Arts from other panels is its brevity: “We’ve created an overall topic, which is sort of playfulness in public art, and we’ve divided it into three sub-segments … spectacle, site, and architecture … each one about 10 minutes long,” he says. “We consider ourselves [to be] trying to make a difference in the public art scene in Boston. We want to make sure we’re contributing to the overall dialogue, [and] bring people who are doing work elsewhere and cross-pollinate the discussion. Public art is finding a great audience and great popularity by being playful.” Featured artist and panelist Robert Lobe seconds the notion, and frames the discussion as a “celebration of the arts, relating to having fun with the arts.”
Which isn’t to say that because there happens to be an international art installation and a bunch of insiders discussing the the importance of widely available public art there will be any reason to not have fun.
“We’re doing it in the middle of a lawn surrounded by giant white rabbits,” says Wangro. “It’s a different way of dealing with public art. If I could moderate this thing wearing a bunny suit, I would. Being fun doesn’t diminish the importance of public art.”