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This project was conceived as a permanent steel framework for continued artistic interventions to be created by youth experiencing homelessness in conjunction with artists-in-residence. The framework was designed to be a three-dimensional, interchangeable scaffold to accommodate as many media types as possible. The sculpture was designed to act as a sign or beacon for the Youthink Youth Opportunity Center in downtown Minneapolis, MN.
The Youth Opportunity Center, a one-stop shop for youth experiencing homelessness, provides a central location to youth offering services ranging from child care, legal consultations, continuing education, food, and medical assistance. Within downtown Minneapolis, the YOC was notoriously difficult to find due to its location and compounded by no identification signage. The artwork was proposed to create a recognizable landmark that could be described and identified by those in cars and on foot. The artwork takes its massing and scale from a perceived spatial void created by a monolithic stone-clad entry wall.
Over a two year period, the artist worked with staff of Youthlink and Kulture Klub Collaborative, a non-profit organization that brings homeless youth together with artists. The artist worked directly with youth informally to explore artistic possibilities for the future framework. The first installation was created largely by youth, staff, and their families, along with the artist.
This project is an exploration of the nature of permanent and temporary in public art. The artist sought a young, energetic, and ever-changing population to take ownership of a work that had the potential to be engaged in the future rather than merely be "maintained". The success of the piece will rely on the commitment and coordinated effort of youth, staff and future artists.
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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