By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17
Over the course of three days, the Frost Art Museum‘s Public Art Advisory Task Force brought together students and faculty from multiple disciplines to reimagine the role of public art on campus for the Spring 2017 Public Art Charrette.
The ultimate goal of the charrette, organized by FIU associate professors David Rifkind and Roberto Rovira, was to develop plans that the university could implement in the future to help bring awareness to FIU’s current public art inventory and increase student engagement with the arts.
“Some of the best transformations on campus, like the Sky Lounge and the Solar House, have been projects driven by students or collaborations between students and faculty,” said Rifkind, associate dean of students in the College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts. “We’re hoping this public art charrette will lead to that kind of long term transformation of the campus.”
The charrette kicked off on Jan. 17 with an introduction by Frost Art Museum Director Jordana Pomeroy, followed by presentations from the art museum’s staff, a campus walkthrough, and breakout sessions and concept briefs to explore ideas for potential proposals.
“We think these students will always appreciate how an environment can be impacted by works of art and how the environment can impact the way someone views a work of art,” Pomeroy said.
Students were divided into seven teams, each tasked with developing new strategies and designs for FIU’s public art collection and program.
After a full day of working independently, each team presented their proposals on Jan. 19 to a presentation jury that included FIU faculty, Frost curators and facilities staff. Each team received questions and feedback from the jury’s panelists following their presentation.
Some of the proposals included adding a Frost Art Museum tab to the FIU Mobile app that includes an interactive campus art tour function; readings, lectures and performances in spaces with existing public art; and a “Living Breezeway” that would include new public art from renowned artists all around campus.
“One of the main goals of this charrette is to get students involved in helping us see the future of art on campus; to assess where we are and where we want to go,” said Rovira, an associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design.
In total, 38 students and eight faculty members from various departments under the College of Communication, Architecture + the Arts – such as Art & Art History, Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design and Architecture – and staff from the Frost and FIU’s Public Art Advisory Task Force collaborated for this year’s charrette.
“Too often, we tend to be too immersed in our own worlds and our own disciplines. But in the arts, you want these worlds to collide and this was a beautiful example of that,” Pomeroy said.
The experience provided students with an opportunity to look at the campus’s artwork, architecture and landscaping from a different perspective.
“A lot of the work we did was about respecting the boundary between architecture, art and everything in between,” said Dominic Mack, a landscape architecture graduate student. “You have to take all these different factors into consideration.”
Each team crafted ambitious and creative proposals for the charrette and the presentation jury ultimately designated Team 3’s proposals – titled “Scale In-Sight” – as the overall winning presentation.
The team highlighted three underutilized areas on campus – the lawn in front of the Frost Museum, the north façade of Parking Garage 6 and a grassy area located along Southwest 117 Avenue near the Hurricane Research Center – as areas for potential new art work and landscape design.
Drawing inspiration from the Wynwood Walls and various world-renowned artists, Team 3 proposed new cone-shaped structures located along the 117 Avenue entrance and artwork covering the side of PG-6 that would be visible to vehicles passing by Modesto A. Maidique Campus along the turnpike and Eighth Street as part of their presentation.
The team will have an opportunity to present their proposals to a committee that will include FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and Provost Kenneth Furton.
TEAM 1 – Honorable Mention
TEAM 3 – 1st Place
Karen Chu-Metz, Gregory Moyse, Michael Gray, Jana Michele Read, Fernando Rodriguez, Andrew Donohue
TEAM 4 – 2nd Place
Airen Amani Cruz, Maidy Martinez, Francesca Fernandez, Victoria Gomes, Claudia Paguaga
Betram Percy Darville Jr., Deborah Wintriger Ariosa, Guido Mena, Liudmila Fuentes, Valeria Alexandra Quintanilla Florian
Maria Flores, Gloria Florexil, Diojanys Gomez, Tricia Keefer, Rasal Raunak, Michael Torres