What does IN:SITE believe?
- Temporary public art is gaining momentum as a medium because of its responsive qualities. Due to its lower costs, it can be mounted in any neighborhood. It can reflect the particular attitudes of a particular place. Because it is temporary, it can contain controversial content without dampening enthusiasm for public art.
- Temporary public art can be used to advance economic vitality.
- Temporary public art can support and model sustainability.
- Temporary public art projects often involve multiple sites. Obtaining site permission from property owners is time-intensive and needs to be carefully considered in project planning. If community involvement is an important aspect of the project, this also needs to be factored into project planning.
- Artists or organizations/institutions can administer temporary public art.
- Since temporary public art is such a new medium, administrators for temporary public art need to actively mentor artists about siting, scale, content, and materials, whether the artists are emerging or experienced.
- It is important to facilitate public discussion about temporary pubic art and schools should offer temporary public art classes.
- Gathering information about materials and installation techniques is essential to advance temporary pubic art.
- Mounting a permanent sculpture for a limited period of time at a location is not temporary public art. Having multiple artists enhance some common object, like cows, and placing the enhanced objects at multiple locations for a limited period of time is not temporary public art.
- Temporary public art is mounted to reveal the particular qualities of a distinct place.
What makes IN:SITE distinctive?
Continuity with place
IN:SITE has had art in the Gateway area of North Avenue since May of 2006. At the corner of 39th Street and North, IN:SITE has maintained two different wraparound murals since the fall of 2006. IN:SITE generally de-installs projects after six months, but in both cases, the neighborhood and property owner requested to keep the art up. The property owner provided free paint to cover over the first mural before the second was installed and came by to help.
The corner is a bus stop, where people sometimes urinate in the doorway and there is trash. Yet the art is respected.
Alternative funding sources
Although IN:SITE has engaged in many cycles of installations, it has only written and received a grant once. This is because IN:SITE has been able to access funding from community and business organizations, the city, businesses, and private individuals. Since 2009, IN:SITE has not had to solicit sponsors. Sponsors have come forward requesting IN:SITE’s engagement with neighborhoods.
The City and County of Milwaukee have worked with IN:SITE to obtain site approval. This has included votes by county and city committees.
In addition, Milwaukee alderpersons have brought together city staff, including a city attorney and Department of City Development personnel, to pave the way for projects.
Collaboration as a hallmark
IN:SITE’s projects have led to collaborations of all kinds. Artists from different colleges have worked together. The City and County of Milwaukee cooperated. A lead artist Gary John Gresl had his son work with him for a month to transform a city block. Lead artist Neil Gasparka acted as curator with over ten artists creating a pop-up museum responding to the history a building and area.
Diversity of art
IN:SITE artists have taken advantage of diverse materials including environmentally friendly Styrofoam cups; recycled plastic bags, books, and clothing; found objects; and “powerblankets,” primarily used at construction sites to help cure concrete. The art has been conceptual, content-rich, community-involved and/or tied in with national movements.
Who is IN:SITE?
(chair and project manager of sites)
Pegi Christiansen is a freelance organizer, writer, educator, and performance artist. She is the co-founder of IN:SITE. She is also the founder and co-producer of the Performance Art Showcase, highlighting talents from Southeastern Wisconsin in an annual show. She sits on the Milwaukee County Public Art Committee. She is a consultant for public art policy.
(cofounder and project manager of website)
Amy Mangrich is an artist working primarily in site-specific installations for the public sphere. Mangrich teaches in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also an Instructional Designer, assisting faculty in integrating technology into their courses. Mangrich is a founding member and board vice-president of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN). MARN is a non-profit arts organization providing opportunities for artists of all disciplines.
IN:SITE Advisors are called on when expertise in a particular field is needed.
- Sara Daleiden — is an artist, curator, and administrator who focuses on participant experience through the creation of identity systems and interventions within a city. She volunteers site interpretation and ideas about creating interactions between art and neighborhoods.
Los Angeles Urban Rangers
- Paul Druecke — has been implementing public art projects for over ten years and was an original member of IN:SITE.
- Sheri Urban — has worked in arts administration and communications for more than 18 years and assists IN:SITE with its public relations plans.
- Karin Wolf — is the Arts Program Administrator for the City of Madison’s Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development. She administers the Madison Arts Commission’s BLINK program, which provides grants for temporary public art. Wolf, a prior IN:SITE member, helps to create connections between Milwaukee and Madison for temporary public art.
What has IN:SITE done?
In May of 2005, Amy Mangrich and Pegi Christiansen agreed to work together to find a way to advance temporary installations in the Milwaukee area. Two people who had been organizing and mounting projects, Paul Druecke and Sara Daleiden, had both left Milwaukee.
By August of 2005, Mangrich and Christiansen, along with Druecke (who had returned to Milwaukee), Kurt Hartwig, Lynne Shumow, and Karin Wolf, were meeting monthly and in October agreed on the name IN:SITE.
In January of 2006, IN:SITE approved a mission statement, a definition of temporary public art, a list of its values, and a set of goals. These goals included locating public and private spaces and resources, linking spaces and resources with artists, sponsoring events to bring people to experience and discuss temporary public art, helping with insurance and maintenance of temporary public art, and establishing a website.
Mangrich worked with a Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design student, Jennifer Hefco, to develop an IN:SITE logo and then created the IN:SITE website. It became active in May of 2006.
This same month, IN:SITE mounted its first set of installations. The Gateway Business Improvement District, in coordination with the North Avenue Community Development Corporation, sponsored eight projects along North Avenue near 35th Street. On June 1st, IN:SITE led a bus tour to see the project in coordination with the Americans for the Arts Convention. TV, radio, print, and online media covered the project.
Since then, IN:SITE has continued to organize installations in this neighborhood and added four others: West End Vliet Street, Bay View, Sherman Park, and the Park East Corridor. Here are some highlights:
- Fall of 2006–This was IN:SITE’s first time working in two neighborhoods simultaneously. IN:SITE brought in Chicago artists Chris Silva and Michael Genovese for one of the North Avenue installations.
- Spring of 2007–Due to the efforts of a new IN:SITE project manager, Lauren Bandari, IN:SITE led two tours and a public discussion about temporary public art in Bay View. A temporary art gallery opened at a site in Bay View due to the tours.
- Fall of 2007–IN:SITE collaborated with Mothers Against Gun Violence and students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design for Chris Murphy’s community-involvement project “Choros.” A private business, Holzmann and Associates Property Management, came forward to fund this installation.
- Spring of 2008–IN:SITE received grant money for the first time. The Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the Challenge America program of the National Endowment for the Arts matched funding from Sherman Park Community Association to install two six-month cycles of art in Sherman Park.
- Fall of 2008–Artists Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis, practicing in Germany, flew to Milwaukee to install a heat-sensitive project in Sherman Park. IN:SITE collaborated with the Performance Art Showcase to mount an installation with a performative aspect at the Department of Neighborhood Services building for November Election Day.
- Summer 2009–The Milwaukee Arts Board was the key sponsor for IN:SITE mounting eleven projects by thirteen artists on sixteen blocks of land in the Park East Corridor.
By the end of 2009, IN:SITE as an organization had evolved. IN:SITE project managers curate, manage, promote, and maintain projects with the help of IN:SITE associates and advisors. IN:SITE functions as a public art administrator, facilitating for the artists sites, liability insurance, and permission from government and property owners. IN:SITE projects receive strong media coverage. IN:SITE’s website had become a top hit for terms including “temporary public art.” This visibility attracted attention from artists, instructors, and public art administrators worldwide.
In a 2010 review of its goals, IN:SITE decided to continue to administrate Milwaukee County projects, but broaden its mission to promote its temporary public art process and principles at a national level. To do this, IN:SITE revamped its website.