How Public Art is Tackling Today's Top Issues

Friday, June 16, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Join this panel presentation to hear from public art leaders and artists from around the country who are using public art to tackle issues facing their communities.

This session addresses issues of accessibility, arts education, community development, equity/diversity/inclusion, engagement, evaluation, leadership, private sector engagement, public art, and public value.

This session is part of the Celebrating Optimism sessions.


Witt Siasoco

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Witt Siasoco has been actively engaged in the intersection of the arts and civic life through a variety of roles – as artist, graphic designer, and arts educator. In 2013, Siasoco was selected by the City of Minneapolis and Intermedia Arts for Creative Citymaking, a collaboration between artists and City planners to develop creative solutions for addressing long-term issues facing Minneapolis. In 2015 Siasoco was invited to create artwork for Forecast Public Art’s Richfield Artist Resident Engagement (RARE), a year-long residency engaging Richfield residents in conversations about how arts can play a role in their everyday lives. Last year, This Home is Not for Sale, Siasoco's collaboration with poet Molly Van Avery, received a "Best Public Art Award" from the Americans for the Arts. In addition to his art practice, Siasoco works at the Minneapolis Institute of Art as a Studio and Community Art Associate.
Michelle Angela Ortiz

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, skilled muralist & community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through painting, printmaking, and community arts practices, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. For over fifteen years, Ortiz has designed and created over 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led community building and art for social change public art projects as a U.S. Cultural Envoy in Fiji, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba. Last year, Ortiz was awarded the Americans for the Arts' Public Art Year in Review Award for her “Familias Separadas” project, a series of temporary site-specific public art works that mark locations and document stories of immigrant families affected by deportations in the city of Philadelphia.
Erwin Redl
Bowling Green, Ohio
Born in Austria in 1963, Erwin Redl finished his studies at the Vienna Music Academy with a BA in Composition (1990) and BA in Electronic Music (1991). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies in computer art at the School of Visual Arts, in NYC (MFA 1995). Redl investigates the process of “reverse engineering” by (re-)translating the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality and 3D computer modeling into architectural environments by means of large-scale light installations. The artist’s work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial by covering the Whitney Museum’s façade with three multicolor LED veils. In 2008, he created a sound and light installation for the Austrian Pavilion at the World Expo in Zaragoza, Spain. The Pacific Design Center’s new Red Building by Cesar Pelli features four permanent installations by the artist completed in 2013. Redl’s largest work to date is a computer-controlled, 580-foot-long-LED-installation at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (completed in November 2010). His work is collected by prestigious national and international institutions, among them the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Milwaukee Art Museum; and Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul; as well as by private collectors.
Patricia Walsh
Public Art Programs Manager
Americans for the Arts
Washington, District of Columbia

Patricia Walsh is the manager of the public art programs for Americans for the Arts. Prior to working at Americans for the Arts she was a cultural programming specialist for the public art program at the Arts Commission for the City of Las Vegas, served on the City of Palo Alto Public Art Commission and was the program coordinator for the City of San Jose Public Art Program. She earned her master’s degree in Arts Administration from Boston University also holds a Bachelor in Arts in painting from State University of New York at Plattsburgh.