Americans for the Arts Recognize Alexandria’s Public Art Projects
At their annual conference in Denver, the Americans for the Arts honored two of Alexandria’s public art projects as part of their award selection recognizing 49 outstanding public art projects created in 2017 – “Centennial of the Everyday” by Lauren Adams and Stewart Watson and “the Finest Amenities” by Sheldon Scott which were part of the “Time & Place: Gadsby’s Tavern” program. Chosen by public art experts from over 200 applications, the Public Art Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art in the United States. This is the 17th year that Americans for the Arts has recognized public art works.
“The Office of the Arts is honored that two of our earliest public art projects have been selected for this recognition”, says Diane Ruggiero, Deputy Director of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. “It was a great collaboration between the Office of the Arts, the Office of Historic Alexandria, and the artists.”
As the first in a series of periodic, curated exhibitions of temporary public art located in the city’s historic sites and museums titled “Time & Place”, the City of Alexandria’s Public Art Program invited DC-based artist Sheldon Scott and the Baltimore-based artist team of Lauren F. Adams and Stewart Watson to create research-based, thought-provoking temporary public artworks that foster exploration and dialogue about Alexandria’s rich history located in Gadsby’s Tavern.
Artist Sheldon Scott created both an immersive performance artwork “the Finest Amenities” along with supporting exhibition of photographs and materials from the performance. Using the history of the harvesting of ice from the Potomac River and the storage and use of ice at Gadsby’s as a starting point, Scott’s work “examines the relationships between race, class, environment, luxury, and consumption by interrogating the process related to the use of Gadsby’s ice well.”
Through their extensive research, artists Stewart Watson and Lauren Adams created a series of site specific intermedia installations titled “Centennial of the Everyday”. They created historic ephemera that sat beside the historic objects throughout the museum and helped to tell the stories of women, enslaved people, and anonymous visitors whose stories are often overshadowed by the more historically famous individuals told on daily tours of the museum. For more about Time and Place: Gadsby’s Tavern and to see photos from the exhibits, click here.
“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.”
For additional information about the Office of Arts programs and initiatives, visit www.alexandriava.gov/Arts.