The Portland Public Art Committee is pleased to announce that the artist Sarah Sze has been selected for the Congress Square Public Art Commission. Ms. Sze, originally from Boston and who has family ties in Maine, was chosen especially for her use of color, mixed materials and scale, expertise in both two and three-dimensional artwork, and her ability to create work that combines elements of intimacy and discovery. The selected artist’s work will include developing a concept for permanent public art to be sited in Congress Square in collaboration with WRT, the design team selected last month, who will create a concept for Congress Square as a whole. The artist fee for this project is $75,000 which comes from the Portland Public Art Committee budget.
“The Portland Public Art Committee is looking forward to bringing this outstanding, internationally known artist to Portland. We were impressed with Sarah Sze’s point of view, her ability to analyze the site, her collaborative spirit, and of course her creativity and aesthetic.” said Portland Public Art Committee member Pandora LaCasse.
The artist finalists came to Portland for interviews, a site walk, and presentations at a public forum earlier in August. The four finalists were (in alphabetical order):
Ned Kahn (Sebastopol, CA)
Patrick Marold (Denver, CO)
Matthew Ritchie (New York City, NY)
Sarah Sze (New York City, NY)
The selection process was run by a subcommittee convened for this project, the Congress Square Artist Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from the Portland Public Art Committee, Friends of Congress Square Park, Maine College of Art, Portland Museum of Art, and the local architecture community. The artists were evaluated based on five selection criteria: Relevant experience, Qualifications and record of artistic achievement, Demonstrated ability to coordinate and collaborate with the public and designers, Project understanding, and Artistic merit and aesthetic appropriateness for the project parameters. Public comment was also collected through a survey.
Visit the Congress Square project webpage via the link below for updates and links to information about the artist. Interest in the Congress Square Redesign project has been high because of the unique opportunity to combine urban design and public art to transform Congress Square into a welcoming, accessible public open space in the heart of the city with a focus on arts and performance.
The Congress Square Redesign project is a public/private partnership between the City of Portland, the Portland Public Art Committee, and the Friends of Congress Square Park. The City currently has funds to develop schematic level concepts for the Congress Square intersection and public artwork. The concepts developed by the winning design team and artist will be used to help raise money to implement the project. The project team anticipates the project, if approved for implementation, will require significant fundraising efforts. The City is also pursuing grant opportunities to fund the endeavor.