A professional development training programme for local artists, CONNECT, was developed to run alongside and compliment the artwork commissions. This was devised and developed in collaboration with artist Aideen Barry. Outcomes included the Fake Public Art Judging Panel initiative, Art Connect phone app, a Collaborative Practices seminar and artists speed dating style networking events. https://www.landmarkpublicart.com/connect.html
The Fake Public Art Panel involved the local artists judging a number of fake applications which had been prepared by professional artist, and regular judging panel participant, Aideen Barry. She made them as close to the type and quality of real applications as possible, including all the usual errors often found in typical submissions.
After all the applications had been read there was then a lively debate about each one, referring to the judging criteria used in real panels, such as the artistic merit of the idea, if it is relevant to the area, if it is realistic and original, and also considering maintenance and long term benefits for communities. A scoring system helped to identify the most appropriate proposal for the commission.
The idea for the initiative came from the Public Art Co-ordinator realising many artists were making similar mistakes and limiting their chances of gaining commissions. There are also misconceptions about selection panels, how they work, and what they are looking for.
The intention of the Fake Panel day was to make as transparent as possible the process involved and for artists to gain a greater understanding of the competition they are up against and how their proposals could be judged against the usual selection criteria.
The day finished with a presentation from Gaynor Seville and Aideen Barry, outlining the key dos and don’ts when applying for commissions. The artists who participated were very enthusiastic and positive about the experience, one commenting “It did not seem anything like a "Fake" panel and I now really understand the enormous task a panel has in selecting an artist for a particular project.” Every artist who attended agreed it would have an impact on the way they applied for commissions in the future.
I-phone and Android App – ‘artconnect’
During the planning of the Connect programme we wanted to find a way to direct artists to the wealth of information that is already available regarding opportunities, contacts, listings etc, and to address this in a creative and interactive way. The idea came to develop a phone application that would work as a signposting system. Visual Artists Ireland, has huge online resources www.visualartists.ie and are partners in the development of the app.
The Landmark public art programme was launched in April 2012. Percent for Art funds were carefully pooled to create a collection of commissions for a wide range of artists working in a number of art forms. Key to the thinking behind the programme was a desire to strategically commission works that would complement each other in the same environment, add value to each project and attract artists working at all levels, from emerging to well established.