Arts & Culture, Boston Compass

Big Three Art: Outside the Walls, Three Public Art Works


This month, rather than picking a singular exhibition to highlight, I’d like to invite readers to go out and think specifically about public art, what defines it, and what makes it powerful. In particular three recent artist driven projects show a desire for direct local access to art outside of traditional institutions; work that in fact requires separation from interiors to be successful. For that is the tricky aspect of “public art”, is it just work that has been moved outside, or should it directly engage passerby’s in either a participatory or challenging manner? Large spectacle driven installations make up so much of our public art, however do they leave a lingering impression on the community? With these questions in mind, I encourage you to go out and see the following work.

Emergence: What does hope look like?, is the result of Chanel Thervil’s public art residency at the Boston Center for the Arts. A question and response project, Thervil invites public participation to develop a collective voice of hope.

Public Trust, an interactive artwork created by Paul Ramirez Jonas, will be occurring throughout September between three Greater Boston locations. Ramirez Jonas will be working with performers and volunteers to share conversations on the meaning of a promise in the turmoil of this election season.

Finally, The Meeting House, by Los Angeles artist Sam Durant, staged in Concord MA, considers a difficult past and present built upon slavery and so many unheard voices. This text-based installation will also include a series of programs to build a dialogue and connect communities.


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