Launching a New Interactive Portal To Public Art in the Great Lakes Bay Region

    icon Aug 04, 2022
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The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is launching an exciting new resource that is poised to serve as a comprehensive portal to public art in Michigan’s Great Lake Bay Region.  

Known as the Public Art Passport,  residents and visitors alike are able to explore 360-degree views of public art spanning across Saginaw, Midland, Bay City, and Frankenmuth, as well as public art hubs on regional college and university campuses.

Envisioned as an ever-expanding resource of and for the region, this website portal which can be found at www.PublicArtPassport.com includes information about each public artwork, google map locations and links for ease of visiting in person, and also highlights arts and cultural organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region.  And better yet, it's easily accessible from a smartphone, tablet, or computer

According to Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum director Megan McAdow, the onus for this ambitious project all started with a conversation with one of Saginaw’s biggest champions of regional arts, Sarah Jury, on how the fabulous art across our region could be better highlighted and made more accessible.

“Because Marshall Fredericks is known as America’s public sculptor, the museum really wants to promote all public art, especially in this region,” she explains. “We’d been thinking about for a long time, as had Sarah Jury, who is such a strong supporter of art in the region and specifically public art.”

“We proposed a website that would allow people to view the artworks in detail, 360-degrees, and learn more about them, their makers, titles and more,  and the Jury Foundation signed on to fund the pilot launch and now a portion of Phase II,” explains McAdow.

“Our goal is to not only get the word out about all the great public art available to residents in our region, but also for visitors and tourism coming into our region,” she continues. “The museum has been looking at different ways to do interactive websites and share not only our own gallery’s artwork, but public art throughout the region; and we came up with idea for the Public Art Passport that uses 3-D Technology, Drone footage, and Google Maps all together for people to explore the public art available in our region.”

“In the Passport’s early phases we started by focusing on a few areas that have higher concentrations of public art, such as the Downtown and Old Town Saginaw, Downtown Bay City, and Midland,” she continues. “This was in part due to the range possible for the drone aerial footage. We certainly plan to continue to add more public art locations within the GRLR as additional sponsors come on board. Recently, we added Frankenmuth to the experience as well.”

“It’s taken about a year to pull everything together, and we’re only just getting started,” notes McAdow. “Eventually, we want to document all the public art in our three-county Great Lakes Bay Region.”

McAdow says that for the pilot they had planned on highlighting around 5-10 artworks per downtown and local college, but instead of the initial 50 managed to get just over 100 total artworks in that pilot phase.  Additionally, the Public Art Passport highlights over 50 arts and culture organizations across the Great Lakes Bay Region,  so that users can easily connect with all our region has to offer.

“This includes sculptures, mural, and encompasses a community crowd source effort,” stresses Megan. “We are adding works to the site all the time as people let us know about more public art in their neighborhood, but wanted to start with these highly concentrated downtown areas and will be adding more things throughout the counties in the future.”

“That being said, we may have missed some of our fellow arts and cultural non-profit organizations, so if any organization finds themselves missing or want any of the information changed on the site about  their organization, just let us know and we’ll be happy to add it in right away.”

“We have some really wonderful public art on our local college campuses, both here at Saginaw Valley State University, but also at Delta College where they have a fabulous collection on their campus, so they were eager to partner with us on this,” notes Megan. “

“We want to feature all the arts and cultural organizations and museums in our region together on Public Art Passport so people can see all the arts and culture there is to engage with around here.  People can easily use this portal to connect with these organizations directly and be linked to their websites and visit the rich arts and culture we have in the region.”

One such recent addition is a partnership with Creative 360 in Midland that will be celebrating a new public art project in Midland with a dedication event on Wednesday, August 10th  from 6 – 7:30 pm at the Creative 360 Stage, Studio & Galleries located at 1517 Bayliss.  The sculpture by Midland-based artist Annie Stout is part of the “NEA Big Read: Great Lakes Bay Region” initiative and will be permanently installed at Creative 360.

This public art installment is the culminating chapter in the ten-month long initiative centered on the book “The House on Mango Street” by Hispanic author Sandra Cisneros. The book's themes, particularly "neighbors and "neighborhoods" were also the basis for three community artmaking projects throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.                                                                                        

For the Midland piece, artist Annie Stout created a steel house frame approximately 7’x8’x12.5’ that has two open ends for visitors to walk through and two sides and a roof where keys can be hung.

“The house structure is representative of the community as a whole,” explains Stout.. “I want to invite the community to help complete the sculpture by adding keys all over the walls. The keys represent the individuals in our community with open hearts, minds, and doors, which is how we can make real connections and strengthen relationships with our neighbors.”

Adds McAdow: “I would like to emphasize that we really see the Public Art Passport as a way for others in the region to participate in the process. We invite anyone to provide feedback and help us fill in any missing information, as well as recommend what additional artworks we should add in the next phase of development on the site.”

“While we have not yet added any businesses as hotspots, we are considering ways that we can feature locally owned businesses and eateries while maintaining the Public Art focus.”

“People are encouraged to contribute by going on the website,” concludes McAdow. “They can directly email us but we also encourage people to post contributions onto social media by going on our facebook page or our Instagram page and tagging their post with #publicartpassport.  This way we’ll be able to see if its artwork we need to add to the site, but we also want to cultivate a bunch of images of people exploring and enjoying these sculptures and murals, so encourage people to submit selfies with the art they are experiencing as well.

“Please go the website and explore, give us feedback, send us information, and follow and share us on facebook and Instagram. And check the sight often, as we’ll be soon announcing some upcoming events and guided tours.”

Web: www.PublicArtPassport.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/publicartpassport

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/publicartpassport/

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