BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Community Lab will host a talk and discussion titled, “Department of Public Art” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, at the Lost Dog Café Violet Room, 222 Water Street in Binghamton. This event is free and open to the public. At 6 p.m., participants are welcome to purchase an optional self-pay dinner.
The Department of Public Art (DPA) was created with the intent of promoting public art or as we like to say “art in public”. The primary focus is the enhancement and beautification of the public realm through the installation of art. The goal to re-awaken a sense of pride in residents of the Binghamton area through the development of a city-wide mural project, while enhancing the visual appearance of the city, mitigating blight and celebrating our history and diversity.
The objectives of the DPA are as follows:
* Enhance the visual appearance of the city through public art (murals, sculptures, mosaics, street painting).
*Raise the level of awareness among residents and visitors about the history of the site through the installation of murals.
*Showcase the skills and expertise of local artists.
*Demonstrate the value of murals and public art in improving the quality of life of city residents.
* Promote civic engagement by engaging the public in developing and executing public art.
*Offer mural arts training and support to local artists and to collaborate with and encourage other artists in the community.
The benefits of public art cannot be overstated: documentation of our heritage, community engagement, visual enhancement, economic stimulus, pride of place, to name a few. A connection with our history of innovation is powerful for those of us who live in Binghamton and also for those visiting and going to school here. The origin of this project stems from a recognition of the importance of public art in creating community. Community revitalization starts one street, one neighborhood, one project at a time. We embrace our past while envisioning a new future–a nostalgia not of things lost but a sense of place, and honoring of traditions. We know art has a very leveling effect on people: art moves people. People of all demographics and social status can appreciate art together, and what better place than in the public realm. All forms of public art can be used to express our heritage, history, ethnicity, as well as our hopes, dreams and even our whims.
Public art enriches, and can add vibrancy to neighborhoods. Public art has also been shown to be an economic engine, and a source of community revitalization. Compared to other efforts to revitalize communities public art is inexpensive, and can begin on a very small scale. Public art also provides a vehicle for civic engagement and volunteerism, while fostering partnerships between both the public and private sector. Public art is the perfect place for philanthropy.
By day, Mark is an Associate Capital Program Analyst, with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). He is also the Regional Pedestrian/ Bicycle Coordinator for NYSDOT Region #9 and has worked in the Regional Planning and Program Management Office for over 25 years.
Mark represents NYSDOT on the Livable Communities Alliance, a newly organized group of stakeholders from various disciplines (i.e. Transportation, Health Care, Food, Aging) seeking to promote Livability, and Smart Growth principles. He is also a member of NYSDOT’s Statewide Sustainability Team which looks at implementing sustainable practices in all of the Department’s projects and operations.
He has a background in Civil Engineering, and has received both regional (NYSDOT Award of Excellence) and national awards (AASHTO Trailblazer Award) for process improvements, and public
involvement. He also received the 2009 “Restoring the Pride Award” for Individual Leadership from the City of Binghamton , and in 2010 received the Parks & Trails New York “Healthy Trails, Healthy People Award” for work on the implementation of the Two Rivers Greenway.
By night he can be found working with the Department of Public Art (DPA) and is one of its founding members, along with Peg Johnston and Kady Perry. The DPA, an ad hoc group of art enthusiasts grew from the Downtown Commission (created by Mayor Ryan) specifically the Visual Enhancement Committee which recognized the importance of public art. Mark worked with Kady Perry a BU graduate, the Price Waterhouse-Coopers Scholars and Project Renew. The partnership produced a wonderful mural on the floodwall along the Chenango River Promenade at the corners of Water & Eldridge Street in Binghamton.
He is also the former Board Chair for Southern Tier Celebrates (STC). STC was an integral part of the local cultural scene presenting a myriad of visual and performing arts. STC was best known for First Night Binghamton; however, they were also strong in arts education, and developed a Latin Festival bringing some of the hottest Latin bands to the streets of Binghamton.
Mark is a lifelong resident of Binghamton who lives on the Westside with his wife and two children.
The Binghamton Community Lab is a gathering place for citizen investigators to engage in creating and supporting improvements that will grow a healthier, wealthier and stronger Binghamton region. David Sloan Wilson, distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University and founder of the Binghamton Neighborhood Project (BNP), joined with David Currie, director of the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition (BRSC) to facilitate this series, held regularly on the third Tuesday of the month.
For additional information, contact Hadassah Head at Evos@binghamton.edu.