Argo Cascades art finalists show off work, seek input for project
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Two artists being considered for the Argo Cascades public art project showed off examples of their work to the public Saturday and talked about how they would approach the project
The artists visited the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market Saturday morning, gave a presentation from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Workantile on Main Street, and were scheduled to participate in a "meet the artists" event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Argo Canoe Livery Shelter on Longshore Drive.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"People want the artist to use natural material, make sure that any structure fits with the size of the area, and want it to be functional art, meaning that it provides shade, benches, etc." said Aaron Seagraves, Ann Arbor's public art administrator, who was reporting the results of a survey taken by 120 people.
Seagraves said that respondents listed walking, biking and running as a priority for the Argo Cascades area followed by canoeing and kayaking.
At the presentation, at the Workantile, a co-working space on Main Street, Massachusetts artist Mags Harries, who works with her husband, Lajos Heder, an architect, showed examples of their work. Jann Rosen-Queralt from Maryland, the other artist who was chosen from among more than 50 applicants, also presented examples of her work. The third finalist, Andy Dufford, withdrew from the project competition.
Harries said that both she and Heder are ardent kayakers, which is why they thought this would be a great project for them.
"I hope we will hear from the community what this site means to them and how the art can be integrated to be meaningful," said Harries. "I am here to learn, to absorb the spirit of the place and hopefully we will reflect it in a beautiful way."
Harries and Heder have completed a number of art projects around the world related to water, ranging from river projects in the Bronx as well as Upstate New York near Love Canal, to a project in wetlands in China that uses floating umbrellas on the water.
"Water is fundamentally the most exciting thing to use," said Harries. "This is the kind of project that brings out the best in our sensibilities."
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"I am eager to present Ann Arbor with a work that not only conveys the importance of water quality and conservation, but creates a strong connection to the river resource as a life affirming symbol," she said. "My environments and site-specific sculptures often prompt visitors to pay attention to overlooked sites and sounds, sometimes making the invisible visible."
Rosen-Queralt has completed art projects around the U.S. and showed a variety of examples, including a vertical pendulum perforated with holes that creates a quiet tone when the wind blows. It hangs above the tributary of a river located on an estate in Baltimore, Md.
"I want to engage as many human senses as possible in my work," she said.
Seagraves said the proposals for the art projects are due in October, after which the seven-member selection panel will meet to review them. The Ann Arbor City Council will most likely approve a contract with one of the artists in the winter with the expectation that the selected artist will begin working on the Argo Cascades art project in the spring of 2014.
The chosen artist will receive a budget of $115,000 that covers materials, fabrication, and installation of the project as well as engineering consultation, insurance and travel.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at email@example.com or 734-623-2572.