Are too many alienated from an elitist art establishment? Is funding through the business model a more logical approach than dependency on other sources of income? Vince Kadlubek expounded on these topics and others in his riveting keynote address. Focusing on the artful nature of our surroundings and how people crave the unexpected, Kadlubek helped establish an experience where the freedom to make choices guides “through the normalcy” to surreal realms with wide appeal.
Half a million people journeyed to Meow Wolf Santa Fe in its opening year, and the growing enterprise now boasts 1500 employees.
Not only does Kim Boganey help bring millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of visitors to Scottsdale, Arizona, she also assists in enriching the economy outside of peak months. The Canal Convergence Water + Art + Light festival, which in the past has hosted concerts, augmented reality, light art, and other forms of entertainment, is also designed to create awareness in attendees about water resources, conservation efforts, and the history of the region. Data was a big part of this presentation, and the numbers show that events such as this can garner massive attention in multiple media formats. Such is the popularity and reputation of this art endeavor, that during the Q&A after her presentation, Boganey joked that the questions she frequently receives are about extending the duration of Canal Convergence!
Elizabeth Turk talked about the obstacles she overcame when trying to fund her celebrated Shoreline Project, emphasizing the importance of a pitch that is holistic and inclusive. Understanding the needs and concerns of stakeholders, as well as collaborating with volunteers, was vital to the realization of this experiential art. Aspects of her approach also included marketing initiatives with local institutions, dancers that provided choreography, and music which imbued heightened sensory connection. The design of the umbrellas in Turk’s Shoreline Project was inspired by nature, and the cooperative nature of how this idea came to be is an excellent example of how groups cultivate unity mirroring nature through the arts.
With memorable video footage documenting some of the fun experiences that have taken place in the AT&T Discovery District in Dallas, Texas, Barry Hand made a strong case for investment in public art. He explained how art + tech installations that blend in with buildings and zones created particularly for people were priorities for Gensler, commenting on the advanced manufacturing requirements, environmental considerations, and numerous ways creative leaders solved problems. What was clear by the end of Hand’s presentation was that the entertainment options and futuristic designs in the AT&T Discovery District improve the location for both those who work there and those looking to visit, enhancing the possibilities of the space and benefitting both the urban landscape and the reputation of the business.
The genius of Pierre Gervois was immediately evident in his thoughtful remarks, which included stories from his life and covered topics ranging from the undeniable efficacy of art to the promise of the metaverse. Stressing how political actors seek to support projects that will boost their popularity during an election cycle, Gervois encouraged creatives not to shy away from communicating the influence their projects can have on public opinion. He also recommended learning about and approaching various government agencies, and reasoned that sometimes there is ignorance about which agencies are willing to fund what. Fittingly for the final speaker of the first-ever CODAsummit: Experience, Gervois linked many of the themes of the conference and confidently presented a vision for the future of public art.