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UMMA Director to Chair U-M President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art

James Steward

James Steward - U-M Museum of Art Director

October 30, 2006—With the goal of transforming the public environment of its Ann Arbor campus, and integrating the visual arts more fully with its educational and research mission, the University of Michigan has for the first time established a President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art. The standing committee, appointed by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, is composed of faculty, administrators, and staff across campus with a wide range of expertise and perspectives. Initially consisting of twelve members and led by U-M Museum of Art Director James Steward, the Committee is charged with advising the president on matters concerning public art and facilitating the development of a richer and more diverse collection of public art for U-M.

“As an institution committed to learning, inquiry, and creativity, U-M seeks to provide an engaging and rewarding campus environment for everyone. With this new committee, we have a great opportunity to profoundly enrich the visual environment of our campus, and to make art a more important presence in our everyday lives,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman.

“The cultivation of a major public art program is essential for a campus of this stature and historical significance,” said committee chair James Steward. “Public art can inform our daily experience in both powerful and subtle ways, offering visual pleasure and stimulation, and, like all the arts, promoting thoughtful citizenship. I’m honored to lead this important charge for the University.”

The committee is responsible for guiding the University’s decisions and planning for public art. Activities will include identifying priorities regarding the choice of sites and artists, reviewing long-term funding models for maintenance and acquisitions, strategically reviewing proposed installations and gifts, identifying and cultivating multiple sources of funding for public art, acting as the University’s advocates for public art, and coordinating the efforts of appropriate University units, offices, and committees in relation to public art.

Public art has been defined, for the purposes of the committee’s work, as installations of art—permanent or temporary—in public spaces of the University, including the exteriors of buildings, outdoor public areas, or interior public lobbies.

In addition to James Steward, members of the President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art are the following: Brad Canale, Executive Director of College Relations, College of Engineering; Larry Cressman, Professor, Residential College and School of Art and Design; Sue Gott, University Planner; Chacona Johnson, Associate Vice President for Development; Doug Kelbaugh, Dean, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Robert Kelch, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs; Jim Kosteva, Director of Community Relations; Gary Krenz, Special Counsel to the President; Lester Monts, Senior Counselor to the President for Arts, Diversity and Undergraduate Affairs and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Patricia Olynyk, Associate Professor, School of Art and Design; and Alex Potts, Chair, History of Art.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art will replace the Public Art Review Group and, like the latter, will complement the work of the External Elements Design Review Committee (EEDRC), while adopting a more strategic, proactive, and long-term approach to public art on campus. The new committee will be reviewed before the end of three years of operation.