Every year in America, millions of dollars are spent on public art projects. St. Petersburg and Pinellas County have more than a hundred works of public art. There are specific procedures and guidelines for artists to be considered for public art projects. The field is complex, and it is difficult to get started in it. Many public artists started as fine craft artists, but also many artists do not understand how to become a public artist. Florida CraftArt is always looking to inform artists on ways that they can gain financial independence from different means of making work, including entering the world of public artmaking.
On Saturday, March 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Florida CraftArt will host a workshop, “Taking the Leap: From Studio Artist to Public Artist” taught by Elayna Toby Singer who is Palm Beach County’s Art in Public Places Administrator. She built the program from the ground up including establishing a two-percent art integration requirement for County capital projects. She curates and oversees art integration into capital projects; transforming plazas, buildings, streetscapes and gardens into “Art Places” for community benefit. She also curates and manages the permanent collection and changing exhibitions at Palm Beach International Airport. Ms. Singer is also a public artist who serves as a board member of the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals, and she is an active leader in Florida’s public art ecosystem that boasts more than 60 public art programs across the state.
This workshop is for artists or anyone interested in knowing more about the process of public art. This workshop is meant to illustrate, from the wisdom of a working public artist, what studio artists need to do to enter this seemingly impossible field. The proposal process, collaborative nature with businesses and organizations, and physical engineering elements to public art are ways that visual artists can gain funding and live as full-time makers.
Ms. Toby Singer will present a diverse range of public art project types and the roles artists play in the creation of public works. She will additionally give an overview of the public art commissioning process, along with tips for how artists can be successful in responding to open calls to artists, concept proposal development, design development, fabrication, installation, and more. Ms. Toby Singer will present strategies to help studio artists prepare their portfolio for “taking the leap” into public art, and she will give individualized sets of steps to each participant on how to move forward following the workshop.
This workshop is part of programming for the exhibit, “Inside the World of Public Art,” which features eight artists who use fine craft techniques in the creation of monumental public works. The gallery also highlights smaller pieces by these public artists made by craft-based processes and how they translate into large scale, including the rigorous steps necessary for showing work in a public setting. “Inside the World of Public Art” is curated by Ann Wykell who is well known for her outstanding public art projects.
“Taking the Leap: From Studio Artist to Public Artist” workshop will be followed by the closing reception of “Inside the World of Public Art” at 5:30 p.m. where people can meet the curator and several of the artists.
The cost of the workshop is $35 for members of Florida CraftArt and $50 for nonmembers. Scholarships are available, email Chelsea Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. To register for the workshop online, visithttps://floridacraftart.org/product/taking-the-leap-from-studio-artist-to-public-artist/
Florida CraftArt is located at 501 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit www.FloridaCraftArt.org or call (727) 821-7391. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Florida CraftArt is a nonprofit organization founded in 1951 and headquartered in St. Petersburg. Its mission is to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. Fine craft art is presented in its 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and curated exhibitions are featured in its adjacent exhibition gallery. Florida CraftArt is the only statewide organization offering fine craft artists a platform to show and sell their work.
About Elayna Toby Singer:
Working in the field of public art for the past 15 years as Palm Beach County’s first full-time Art in Public Places Administrator, Elayna Toby Singer built the program from the ground up including establishing a two-percent art integration requirement for County capital projects. She curates and oversees art integration into capital projects; transforming plazas, buildings, streetscapes and gardens into “Art Places” for community benefit. She also curates and manages the permanent collection and changing exhibitions at Palm Beach International Airport. Ms. Singer serves as a board member of the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals, and she is an active leader in Florida’s public art ecosystem that boasts more than 60 public art programs across the state. She also serves on the Urban Land Institute’s Creative Placemaking national advisory group.
As an artist, Ms. Singer creates interactive sculptures, programs and installations that connect us with ourselves, our surroundings and each other. Her socially engaged work inspires diverse audiences to collect shared stories and cultivate personal and environmental balance. In 2015 and 2017, Ms. Singer won First Place People’s Choice Award for Outdoor Sculpture at the International Kinetic Art Biennial for community created temporary art installations in trees. In 2018, she was recognized as “The Natural Artist” in South Florida Gay News’ issue highlighting fifty LGBTQ leaders, activists, businesspeople and artists. A Longwood Gardens Fellow, Ms. Singer earned her MS in Public Horticulture Administration and Nonprofit Museum Management. Her thesis addressed diversifying public garden museum operations and programs for racial, ethnic and cultural inclusiveness. Her BA is in Cultural Anthropology.