We are thrilled to announce that Americans for the Arts has honored UNLESS by Stephanie Cardon along with 49 other outstanding public arts projects created in 2018 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program. PAN Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects was unveiled at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Minneapolis. This is the 18th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.
UNLESS filled the main entryway of Boston’s landmark Prudential Center with a vibrant floor-to-ceiling tapestry installation from September 19 through December 28, 2018 offering an urgent, visual call-to-action around issues of sustainability, climate justice, and how we can effect positive change on our environment. Commissioned by Boston Properties and curated and produced by Now + There, UNLESS was fabricated in collaboration with IBA/La Villa Victoria in Boston and students who came to MassArt from Puerto Rico following 2017's devastating hurricanes, who were all paid fair wages to work on construction and embroidery. The tapestry incorporated embroidered text from Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home and the installation featured a customized text-messaging interface that connected audiences with links to more information about steps we can take together for a positive future. The text message program lives on for public use, promoting continued action toward climate justice. Opt in by texting UNLESSBOS to 555888.
“Sometimes, in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, such as mitigating climate change, the best way forward is to simply put one foot in front of the other and take action. Cardon’s creative upcycling of construction waste, coupled with the engagement of those most affected by hurricanes, is an apt metaphor for the collective action we can take towards creating climate justice,” said Now + There’s Executive Director, Kate Gilbert.
“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”
Two independent public art experts—artist Seitu Jones of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at Albirght Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2018. All projects selected for PAN’s Year in Review awards can be viewed on this page.
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 55 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.