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Uncommon Commons: Making Public Art Work
Uncommon Commons: Making Public Art Work

Uncommon Commons: Making Public Art Work

Lecture Virtual

Thursday, April 8, 4pm PST
To join, RSVP here.

As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to force many of us to conduct much of our lives outdoors, we at MOCA believe that it is an opportune time to focus our programming on outdoor art in the public sphere. In doing so, we aim to call attention to the spaces that host these artworks and the ways that art, site, and public may work in tandem to create civic discourse. As part of this effort, we have organized Uncommon Commons, a series of virtual panel discussions that investigate the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites, and the people that visit them.

For this fifth and final installment of our Uncommon Commons series of virtual panels, we turn our attention to the reception and impact side of the community relationship to public art. We will bring together a panel of public art experts who will each consider how the works they have put into the public sphere have affected their communities. By adopting a critical lens on projects past, present, and future these specialists will chart the evolution of the political, aesthetic, and ethical concerns commissioners, curators, and artists must take into consideration when engaging with public art. In a series of examples, we will explore the opportunities, and pitfalls, that are unique to artists working within the public sphere.


Deborah Aschheim
Deborah Aschheim makes installations, sculptures, drawings, digital and social media projects and temporary interventions into public space. Her projects, often exploring memory and place, are based on historical research and community engagement. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk; at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and the Santa Monica Fire Department and at UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center.  She has created public artworks across California. Aschheim’s solo exhibitions include the Richard Nixon Presidential Library; the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, PA; Otis College of Art and Design and Laguna Art Museum. She has received grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, the California Community Foundation, the Cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale. She lives in Pasadena.

Felicia Filer
Felicia Filer is the public art director for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She directs the commission and fulfillment of over 250 permanent municipal public art projects throughout the city. Additionally she directs the administration and management of the city’s private one percent for art program, the city art collection, murals program and in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports helps to design, develop and implement the art exhibition programs and public artworks at LAX airport. In Summer 2016 Filer co-produced the city’s inaugural Public Art Triennial, CURRENT: LA Water, and in Fall 2019 the second edition CURRENT: LA Food, each one commissioning 15 original, temporary public art installations and over 150 public programs and events at 15 locations. Previously Filer worked as a senior management consultant and loan fund manager for ARTS, Inc., a former Los Angeles nonprofit arts management consulting organization. A native of Los Angeles, she earned a BS in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MBA in finance and marketing from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. Filer’s professional interests include designing systems to facilitate governmental support of innovative models of public art.

Sue Bell Yank
Sue Bell Yank is Deputy Director at 18th Street Arts Center. She has worked in arts, entertainment, and public schools for nearly 20 years, including as Associate Director of Academic Programs at the Hammer Museum, where she formed city-wide partnerships triangulating communities, the arts, and schools. She created an online education platform for the Oprah Winfrey Network, and has worked as a teacher and curriculum specialist in and out of public schools. Her interest in urban planning and affordable cities led her to create a six-episode podcast about housing in LA called Paved Paradise. She teaches at UCLA, frequently writes about socially engaged art practice and pedagogy, and has been a Field Researcher for A Blade of Grass and Asian Arts Initiative. She is the Vice-Chair of the City of Glendale Arts & Culture Commission. Yank received a BA from Harvard University and an MA in Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California.

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Virtual MOCA is presented by the MOCA Thrive Fund courtesy of Chara Schreyer.

Artists’ participation in MOCA’s public programs are supported by the Sam Francis Foundation, California.