Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, honors 38 outstanding public arts projects created in 2015 through the Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. The works were chosen from 260 entries across the country and recognized today at Americans for the Arts’ 2016 Annual Convention in Boston.
CONFESS by Los Angeles artist Dani Dodge debuted at L.A. Pride in West Hollywood, CA, in 2015. She sat in a confessional and allowed participants to share their worst sins with her. The result was not sacramental grace but a twisted penance and an anonymous typed note that detailed each transgression on a gold piece of paper. Thus absolved, at least in the eyes of art, confessors could move forward unburdened. The confession booth was within a 20-foot-square space with walls on three sides covered by black fabric. As the weekend went forward, the walls went from black to gold with people’s deepest sins revealed.
“These Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate that public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. Whether subtly beautiful or vibrantly jolting, a public art work has the singular ability to make citizens going about everyday business stop, think, and through the power of art appreciate a moment, no matter how brief,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “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.”
“One woman wrote me an email after participating in the piece and said the experience made her cry, but also transformed her two most important relationships, the one with her mother and the one with her lover,” Dodge recalls. “To have a profound impact on a human soul is the greatest gift an artist can receive. But this recognition by PAN is pretty cool, too.”
The 2016 PAN Year in Review jurors were Lucas Antony Cowan, Public Art Curator of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston; Constance Y. White, Lead Creative of SLDcreative in Dallas, Texas; and Franka Diehnelt, Co-owner of merge conceptual design in Santa Monica, California.
The 38 public art works selected for the PAN Year in Review can be seen on this page. The presentation, which includes photos and descriptions of these works, are available for purchase through Americans for the Arts’ store.
Dodge is part of “Flight Patterns” opening July 6 at Art Share L.A., and in August will create an interactive installation at BLAM projects in Los Angeles. She has solo shows upcoming this year at HB Punto Experimental in San Diego, and in 2017 at New Museum Los Gatos in Los Gatos, Calif., Museum of Art and History: Cedar in Lancaster, Calif., and A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Her website is http://www.DaniDodge.com.
The Public Art Network (PAN), a program of Americans for the Arts, is designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.
Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at http://www.AmericansForTheArts.org.
Dani Dodge lives and works in Los Angeles. A former journalist and war correspondent, she makes art inspired by time on the battlefield, but explores the wars we wage within ourselves. She began painting in 2004 after being embedded with the Marines in Iraq. Dodge was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006, but she left newspapers two years later to focus on telling stories through art.
Today, her work is included in three museum collections and has been shown across the U.S. She is a member of galleries in Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Art Association, and New York, including A.I.R. In 2016, she and a handful of other artists founded BLAM, a gallery with locations in Los Angeles and Brooklyn that brings together artists from both coasts.
In 2015, she had solo shows at the Coos Art Museum in Oregon and LA Artcore, where she built room-sized, site-specific interactive installations. She was commissioned to create installation/performances at the New Museum Los Gatos, West Hollywood’s WeHo Reads Festival and LA Pride. She created site-specific installations for the Inglewood Public Library, the Inland Empire Museum of Art’s inaugural show and the Los Angeles Art Association’s 2015 Open Show at Gallery 825. She created smaller installations for group shows at A.I.R. Gallery, Loft at Liz’s (Los Angeles), and the San Diego Art Institute. She created interactive performances at Perform Chinatown and the Brewery Artwalk. She exhibited mixed-media and video works at Women Made Gallery in Chicago, Central Booking in New York, Prohibition Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Downey Civic Center. She was recognized as a Showcase Winner in ArtSlant’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th 2015 Showcases for installation. She was in two MAS Attacks, one-night group shows with as many as 200 artists.
Highlights of 2014 included solo shows at the San Diego Art Institute (SDAI), where she created a site-specific installation, and Pimento Fine Art in San Diego, where she displayed mixed-media works. She created an interactive installation at LA Pride, an installation at Pulse Gallery in San Diego, an interactive performance at Perform Chinatown, and a three-person video installation at Gallery 825, where she also was part of two group shows. She was in several MAS Attacks. She taught at the 17th Annual Henry Fukuhara Workshop, including a demonstration at the Manzanar Interpretive Center in Lone Pine, Calif. She was recognized as a Showcase Winner in ArtSlant’s 2nd 2014 Showcase for installation.
In 2013, she created a public installation at the San Diego International Airport and was a featured artist at The Gallery in Beverly Hills. She won first place in Expressions West at the Coos Art Museum and a silver medal in Art Labology’s International Showcase, and was a Showcase Winner in ArtSlant’s 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th 2013 Showcases for mixed media, painting, and installation.
Highlights in 2012 included solo shows at the San Diego Art Institute, L Street Fine Art in San Diego, and Pimento Fine Art. She also was in a show curated by Peter Frank at Pulse Gallery. In previous years, she had three solo shows at Pimento Fine Art — one in 2011 and two in 2010. She had her first solo show at The Perfect Frame in Carlsbad, Calif., in 2008. Among her awards: first place in “Top 100” (San Diego 2010) and Fallbrook Art Association (2010); a Best of Show at Bonita Museum (2009); a Juror’s Choice at SDAI (2012); and a People’s Choice at the San Diego County Fair (2009).