LexArts, Town Branch Fund seeking artist for interactive project

LEXINGTON, Ky. — LexArts and Town Branch Fund issued a request for qualifications Thursday for an artist to reinterpret the history and ecology of Town Branch through interactive artistic elements geared toward youth.

The effort is part of a National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant for a project called InterACT in Town Branch Park — Arts, Culture & Technology.

“Artists are being asked to design modern, interactive artistic elements geared toward kids, which will make the park more accessible to all ages and elevate interaction and civic engagement in the space,” said Nan Plummer, president & CEO of LexArts. “It will celebrate the unique cultural and ecological significance of our downtown through programming geared toward youth.”

InterACT will focus on five key areas:

• Ensuring high quality original artistic design is integrated in the formal planning process

Providing interactive elements to increase activation of the park

• Adding access points to park programming for youth ages 9-15, an underserved population

• Expanding education and curriculum development

• Increasing civic engagement

Responses are due Nov. 15 and will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of partners in the grant — LexArts, the city of Lexington, SCAPE Landscape Architects, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, Fayette County Public Schools, Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council and Town Branch Fund.

Six artists then will be selected as candidates for the Request for Proposals. Guiding criteria for selection (not all are required or prioritized) are:

• Ability to draw public attention to the ecology or history of Town Branch

• Artistic distinction and aesthetics

• Interactivity with the viewer with a focus on targeting older youth ages 9-15

• Contextual integration into the Town Branch Park site

• Public safety and appropriate materials for longevity in an outdoor setting

“Art, history and ecology will come alive through this project,” said Allison Lankford, executive director of the Town Branch Fund. “Artists, programming and design consultants will work together to fully integrate artist ideas into the function of our signature city park.” 

In addition to the general community input already obtained for the park through inclusion surveys and other community gatherings, there will be two more opportunities for community feedback during this grant.

First, proposals from the pool of finalists will be shared in a public gallery space to garner community feedback, which will be used by the selection committee when choosing the final artist.

Second, the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, comprised of student representatives from every public and private high school in the county, will take the design prototype into older elementary and middle school classrooms, gather and document youth feedback, and share results with the artist, park programming advisors, SCAPE and project leaders. This feedback will provide direct input from the end user and help refine the final design. 

 To view the RFQ, or to submit information, visit https://www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=5827 or go to callforentry.org and search Town Branch Park under View Public Art Calls.

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