Metro Parks Tacoma offers a new artist training cohort with permanent public art projects

Apply for Public Art Reaching Community (PARC) by February 10

This spring Metro Parks Tacoma is offering a six week hands-on professional public art education program in collaboration with the City of Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality.

Pierce County residents, working in any creative discipline, who wish to learn how to develop artwork for the public realm are invited to apply for PARC. Artists selected for the training cohort will receive a $500 stipend and free training valued at more than $4,000, will create temporary projects with a $1,000 project budget, and will compete for at least five permanent public art projects averaging $30,000 each. PARC is designed to provide artists with the training and experience necessary to be competitive when applying for public art projects locally, regionally and nationally.

“In our field, there is often a catch-22. Talented emerging artists aren’t selected for opportunities because they don’t have previous public experience, but how are they supposed to get that experience if no one selects them for public projects?” said Amy McBride, the Art Administrator for Tacoma’s Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality. “We are excited to offer PARC to address this barrier by building our artists’ portfolios and expanding their skillsets. It’s another in a series of training programs we’ve hosted over the years to develop a sustainable pipeline for creatives interested in moving from a studio practice into creating for community in the public realm.”

Participants will learn professional presentation strategies, how to work with communities, construction and fabrication processes, and project management. These skills, and more, will be taught through a combination of classroom sessions, field trips, hands-on experience creating temporary projects, mentorship, and peer discussion sessions.

The artist training program will be overseen by lead mentor artist Elisheba Johnson. Johnson is a curator, public artist and administrator. Johnson, who has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, was the owner of Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that held art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. For six years Johnson worked at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture on capacity building initiatives and racial equity in public art. Johnson is currently a member of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network advisory council and has won four Americans for the Arts Public Art Year in Review Awards for her work. She currently co-manages Wa Na Wari, a Black art center in Seattle’s Central Area. In addition to Johnson, a variety of experts will assist in the training and mentorship process.

Those with questions about the free workshop or applying for the artist cohort can contact Rebecca Solverson at rebecca.solverson@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5564. Grant applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on February 10, 2020. More information on this opportunity is available at cityoftacoma.org/artsopps.

- City of Tacoma