Forecast Public Art and @publicartreview are featuring SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) by my collaborative project @anjartndesign in PAR’s 40th anniversary issue which we just received! SOS is included in a survey called “Powerful Spaces; 15 Projects / 103” on the future of public art. You can order your copy of this special edition here and read interviews with artists at the leading edge of community-engaged design and much more! Special thanks go to @fortpointarts and @friendsoffortpointchannel for commissioning #SOSSwimmers!

Issue 58 from Forecast: ”

Readers often tell us that they love our “Projects We Love” department, so we began this issue with the simple idea to add more pages and fill them almost entirely with inspiring works. A theme emerged early in our process; the editorial team was drawn to the work of artists and designers using their unique ability as creative visionaries, problem-solvers, and meaning-makers to create powerful and timely spaces. Over 103 pages devoted exclusively to 15 projects—whether in Alabama or Alaska, Brownsville or Boston, Buenos Aires or Madrid—you’ll discover how artists and designers created 15 public art and creative placemaking projects that connect us to our shared humanity.

Also moving are insights from community leaders Nia Umoja, who shares how a community is developing its own model for sustainability, and Joseph Claunch, who describes how artists led the development of a community park.”

 

“The number is significant in that it reflects the official United Nations [High] Commissioner for Refugees number of 21.3 million refugees worldwide,” he said. “[It’s] one figure per 1,000,000 refugees. And that was in 2016. Now the numbers a little higher, but we’ve kept the figures at 22.”

“Migration has been a part of human history since the beginning,” said artist Ann Hirsch. “We move. We’re always on the move, and sometimes we’re on the move because we need to be; because we are danger.”

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – There is an ArtPrize installation piece in the Grand River that represents the refugee crisis.

The piece is called SOS, or Safety Orange Swimmers, and it makes a connection between the Grand River and all the rivers and seas that people have crossed in search of safety and shelter.

A+J Art and Design, a collaborative team based in Boston, are one of the recipients of the ArtPrize Featured Public Projects grants this year. Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier’s project will be one of two entries in the Grand River. As a way to highlight some of the stories behind the development of the dozens of projects that received grants this year, I decided to mail a small questionnaire to artists that we could then publish on the ArtPrize Blog. Ann and Jeremy responded by asking if we could have a longer conversation about their work and the shifting realities of immigration, which their work explores, as well as the political forces challenging the country — and even ArtPrize itself. I happily agreed.

For context, it’s relevant to note that we spoke on September 6, 2017, the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be rescinded, and in between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

This temporary exhibition in Boston’s Fort Point Channel called attention to today’s refugee crisis. Each figure represented nearly 1 million of the United Nations’ estimated 21.3 million refugees in the world today, as we previously reported.

The “scale of refugees to figures floating in the water is heartbreaking,” Madhumita Narayan wrote. “The realistic sculptures really made it feel like a more tangible cause, rather than just a statistic.”

 

“Onlookers at Fort Point stop to admire and make sense of the eye-catching figures. The uniform shapes are painted “safety orange” for good reason. From an artistic standpoint, it was important for the artists to choose a bright color they knew would make a big impression on observers.

On a deeper level, the color “safety orange” is a color that signifies the idea of hazards, danger and safety. Life vests and safety rafts are usually this brash, orange color which set them apart from their surroundings. The alarming orange color evokes a sense of urgency common to the journey of those seeking asylum.”