Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Civic Systems: Public Art

Loyal readers will remember that our Civic Systems Projects & Exhibitions began to take shape way back in the winter, when Friend of SK Mary Morgan, founder and director of the Civ City Initiative (http://www.civcity.org/), joined us for a bus tour of the area, during which the kids identified a few dozen systems, both formal and informal: our trip is at http://sikkenga.blogspot.com/2016_01_01_archive.html. Later, they requested systems for their Projects, which required them to research the system well enough to explain it, identify someone with expertise on that system, and conduct at least one interview in preparation for an Exhibition.

Kaeli and Nik were the first to prepare and present their Exhibition. Mary joined us. The topic was public art, an informal system. They chose to conduct it at the Cube behind the Michigan Union, a well-known example of commissioned art. They interviewed David Zinn, a renowned chalk artist, who works both independently and through commissions. (David's wonderful work is here: http://zinnart.com/.)

The interview was terrific--both questions & answers. In addition to exploring the ins and outs of commissioned art, they asked David his thoughts about graffiti. He replied that he always wants his art to make people feel good, and that graffiti makes at least one person feel bad --the owner of the space. That's why he sticks to an impermanent medium, private commissions, workshops, and public spaces, mostly sidewalks. After the explanation and interview review, and a few spins of the Cube, Nik and Kaeli provided their classmates with chalk, and they went to work.


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  2. Congratulations to Kaeli and Nik, and thanks to Karl and your SK class for tackling the Civic Systems project! This presentation on public art was thoughtful and focused, and I loved the integration of your interview with David Zinn and the activity of creating chalk art in a public space. It was also cool that this presentation was captured by UM's director of social media, Nikki Sunstrum, who Tweeted a photo of your class spinning The Cube! https://twitter.com/UMich/status/727523231830269952/video/1 Well done and I'm looking forward to hearing more about the other Civic Systems project. – Mary Morgan