Author Archives: Stephen Zacks

New Role for Founding Director

Stephen Zacks, founder of Flint Public Art Project, will shift his role from Executive Director to the new position of Creative Director beginning April 1, 2016.

Since sharing an initial proposal for the project in August 2010, Zacks began testing ideas for instigating art and design in the ruins of large-scale buildings, long-abandoned houses, and on green parcels left behind by rampant demolition. By 2011, the proposal evolved into Flint Public Art Project, with a mission to activate underutilized sites, connect people and places, amplify the local culture, and help transform the image and identity of Flint. Compelled by forces of change in the built environment, in 2013 Zacks and colleagues established the nonprofit Amplifier Inc., expanding from the FPAP model to connect other under-served groups and cities to the global art and design field. It’s the kind of art intended to look ahead, bring artistic energy to widely misunderstood places, and amplify the potential of art and design to influence patterns of redevelopment in cities rebounding from decades of economic upheaval.

With support from the Ruth Mott Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ArtPlace, FPAP has demonstrated its social vision for change through programs like the Neighborhood Art Parade, engaging artists and residents in collaborations to bring art and design installations to under-served locations identified by stakeholders. The Free City festival, Stone Street Artists-in-Residence program, Neighborhood Art Parades, and future Spencer’s Center for Art and Architecture all attract local, national, and international artists to FPAP’s socially engaged programs.

Zacks’ new role as Creative Director has been planned and coordinated by the expanded Board of Directors of Amplifier Inc., which in December added nine local and southeast Michigan artists and community leaders. Begun as an advisory group to steer the executive transition, the expanded board includes artist and cultural strategistAshlee Arder, Ballenger Square Neighborhood Association leader Marijoyce Campbell, University of Michigan–Flint design professor Ben Gaydos, Capital Theater restoration manager Dave Johnson, Metawanenee Hills Neighborhood Association co-chair Wendy Johnson, University of Michigan architecture professor Catie Newell, photographer and graphic designer Jay Rowland, artist and designer Ariel Sammone, and theater designer Joseph Schipani. The expanded board has appointed long-time FPAP colleague and supporter Joseph Schipani as Interim Managing Director.

With support from the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, MacDowell Colony, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts, Zacks is completing his forthcoming book, A Beautiful Ruin: The Generation that Transformed New York, 1967-1987.

For more information contact:
Joseph Schipani: 810-820-0275
info@flintpublicartproject.com

 

Above: Inside the Genesee Towers, June 2011, Desiree Duell
Below: Artist Meeting on Oak Street, May 2011, Joel Rash

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Neighborhood Art Parade Video

Flint Public Art Project presents a series of Neighborhood Art Parades in Flint, Michigan for six months during the spring and summer that bring residents together to reclaim the streets, activate vacant buildings, connect people and places, amplify the local community, and help transform the image of the city. Video by Eric Hinds.

CALL FOR ARTISTS 2016

CALL FOR ARTISTS: Flint Public Art Project invites artists and designers in all media to send letters of interest, CVs, and portfolios to info@flintpublicartproject.com by February 15th for the coming year of spectacular and socially engaged projects in public space. Our 2016 programs include the fourth annual Neighborhood Art Parade series, Planning Actions at strategic sites, the Free City public art festival, exhibitions and events at Spencer’s Center for Art and Architecture, and projects at the Stone Street Coop & Residency.

FPAP’s mission

● Activate vacant and underused spaces

● Connect people and places

● Amplify the local community

● Transform the image and identity of Flint

Anya Sirota + AKOAKI at Cook School

This fall Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges of Detroit- and Ann Arbor-based Anya Sirota + AKOAKI will begin a collaboration with FPAP and Metawanenee Hills Neighborhood Association to instigate programming for Cook School, at the northern end of Grand Traverse Street. Taking cues from planning work by AIA-Flint and taking an impetus from our recent installation with Amanda Browder, participants will explore future uses and test ideas for the space through temporary projects.

Burston Bus Stops

In cooperation with the City of Flint Department of Planning and Development and the Mass Transportation Authority, Flint Public Art Project is organizing a series of Planning Actions to apply tools for engaging communities in quickly improving strategic sites to support the implementation of the Imagine Flint master plan and select Sub Area plans. With Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop and Flint/ Genesee Job Corps, the Planning Action program is building multiple benches to serve as bus stop amenities around Berston Field House on North Saginaw Street from June 3 – 12, 2015. These benches will be colorful and creative additions to the streetscape and allow participants in Berston’s programs a place to sit and gather that elevates their experience as members in the community.

Commissioner Bryant Nolden of Berston Field House has agreed to adopt these benches and care for them as an extension of their program for a period of five years.

All of the bus stops will follow the ADA and accessibility guidelines provided during our preliminary meeting with MTA representatives, and we will conduct follow-up reviews of the plans as they evolve to ensure compliance.

• The choice of materials will be a durable wood that carpentry students from Flint/ Genesee Job Corps will design and build with oversight by Rejean Houle and Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop, who is supervising the design and build process.

• Participants in Berston Field House programs and Commissioner Nolden will be engaged in the process and feedback sought from them during the design and building of the benches.

• The specification of materials and construction will facilitate long-term maintenance and durability through both the choice and treatment of the wood, as well as the specification of construction in such as way that components can be replaced as needed.

• The Berston benches are proposed as prototypes for benches that could be replicated in other areas of the city, if successful. They will be durable and inexpensive, and able to be produced by the Flint/ Genesee Job Corps students as an ongoing component of their job training.

Introducing Caroline Mouangvong

Design Intern Caroline Mouangvong joins FPAP for a three-month residency at the Stone Street Coop from May through August. A postgraduate student in spatial design at the Lycee Adolphe Cherioux outside of Paris, France, Mouangvong brings her specialized design skills and a commitment to public engagement to FPAP’s summer events and programming.

Amplifier Inc. / Flint Public Art Project to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant

May 11, 2015

Amplifier Inc./ Flint Public Art Project to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant
Award is among 1,023 Made Nationally

Flint, MI — Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity. In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make a $20,000 award to Amplifier Inc./ Flint Public Art Project for its Design Actions in Public Space. The NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in this funding round.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one from Amplifier Inc. represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”

“After five years of work, from a speculative proposal in 2010 to self-funded pilot projects in 2011 to a major grant from ArtPlace in 2012, we are thrilled to receive support from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015,” said Executive Director Stephen Zacks. “The NEA’s role in supporting innovative cultural work in this country cannot be overstated.”

Design Actions in Public Space is a series of exhibitions, events, site-specific installations, and urban interventions in Flint, Michigan. The three main components of the project are Designer-in-Residence (to help with community projects); Planning Action (to produce pop-up projects and develop Green Innovation pilot projects); and Re-Use a Lot (to reclaim vacant lots for public use). Drawing on innovative practices in participatory community development as well as the organization’s longstanding partnerships with local stakeholders and government agencies, Design Actions in Public Space provides designers with a platform to develop work that addresses tangible problems in the urban environment.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov

 

muraLAB: Curating Creative Placemaking with Steve Dietz and Stephen Zacks

muraLAB will host a discussion about “Curating Creative Placemaking” — asking how projects aimed to revitalize urban spaces through quick, creative interventions are impacting the practice of public art.

Curator Steve Dietz has founded two major urban art exhibitions, 01SJ and Northern Spark, that provide platforms for public art exploration and the activation of public space. Art producer Stephen Zacks will talk about the genesis and evolution of Flint Public Art Project, an ongoing experiment in staging art interventions that inspire residents to reimagine the city, reclaim vacant and underutilized buildings and lots, and steer Flint’s long-range planning. muraLAB director Todd W. Bressi will moderate.

When: April 13, 2015, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Where: The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Drexel University
3509 Spring Garden Street (19104)

Hosted by the Antionette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Graduate Program in Arts Administration.