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Metro Arts' Learning Lab Honored by Americans for the Arts

Emily Waltenbaugh

Americans for the Arts today honored Metro Arts' Learning Lab among 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2017 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. Chosen by public art experts, the roster of selected projects was unveiled this morning at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in Denver.

Learning Lab, Metro Arts'artist development program to train artists in civic, public, social and placemaking practices, provides artists with the tools to work in authentic community partnerships through deep listening and co-design skills, practical knowledge needed to enter into partnerships and project management basics. Artists who complete the training are eligible to compete for funding for project research and development or project implementation. The areas of focus for the 2018 Learning Lab co-hort are:

  • Transportation, safety and access
  • Affordable housing and aging populations
  • Public Health and food systems

Learning Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Metro Arts is also supported in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate, and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”

The projects selected for Year in Review, chosen from more than 200 applicants, can be viewed on the AFTA site and are on display throughout the Annual Convention. Three independent public art experts—Bryan Lee, Jr., director of design at Colloqate Design in New Orleans; Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons in Los Angeles; and Denver artist Patrick Marold—discussed the trends they uncovered while examining hundreds of submissions in selecting this year’s choices for the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017.