As promised, here’s a fuller update of what I have been working on this year.
You can see in the photos that there has been a lot of progress on the neon sign. I am planning to install this weekend, if the weather will cooperate. The opening reception will be at the Soap Factory on Saturday, October 14 from 7-10pm. If you are in the Twin Cities, please come out and say “hello”.
This is the final week of the crowdfunding campaign for the sign. I am really humbled by all the support so far. If you haven’t checked out the Kickstarter page, please do, and if you can pledge to the project, even better. As I write this, there’s only $500 left to raise – any pledge helps! And backers will get a preview of the finished sign via photo before it’s unveiled to the public.
UPDATE 10/12/2017: The Kickstarter was successful! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. Look for images on the project page by the end of the year.
In January and February I was able to attend formal mediation training to support the participatory artwork I do. I attended Civil Mediation Training and Circle Training at Community Mediation and Restorative Services in New Hope, Minn. Since then, I’ve been observing sessions, and it’s a really intense process to be part of. Next week I’ll be volunteering in Hennepin County Schools, where the emphasis is on restorative justice processes, supporting students as they develop their own ways to resolve conflicts.
I’ve also been involved with more public engagement consulting. In April, I worked with the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development again for another event as part of the 2040 comprehensive plan. For this event I designed several activities to gather input about how housing in Minneapolis can help close the equity gap. Last week, CPED city planners and I presented this work at the American Planning Association statewide conference in Mankato, Minn.
Both the mediation and public engagement work take a lot of energy, but I find them to be good complements to my artmaking. In both mediation and pubic engagement work, the processes offer opportunities to try ideas in a much more immediate feedback loop; I can see very quickly if A or B is the best approach. These projects also have definitive goals and endpoints. This is something that is not part of my artmaking methodology, where I try to keep things more open for participant input on the process itself. It is a more immediate gratification from the work, which is a nice change of pace. And of course they are both about facilitating communication, so they tie into my general interest in civic engagement as well.
That is all for now; it will likely be 2018 before I write again.