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MIAD Open Art Project
Stratiformis Dedication, Catalano Square
Wednesday, May 3, 2006, 3:30 p.m.

What is the Open Art Project?
The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) launched the collaborative Open Art Project in fall 2004 to:

  • Enrich the city’s landscape with a new work of art by a nationally known artist.
  • Provide MIAD’s college students and local artists with an invaluable educational and creative experience of working with such an artist.
  • Increase community understanding of the process of choosing and creating public art through a year-long public engagement including artist selection, artist lectures and continuing education with real-time and online opportunities for input.

What is Stratiformis?
Stratiformis is the name of the sculpture created by artist Jin Soo Kim as part of the collaborative Open Art Project launched by the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in fall 2004. It will be dedicated in Catalano Square on Wednesday, May 3, 3:30 p.m., and
is the first permanent, public artwork in the Third Ward. Its name derives from a cloud formation that inspired Jin Soo Kim to suspend objects from the Historic Third Ward’s past within the piece.

Who is Jin Soo Kim?
Jin Soo Kim, creator of Stratiformis, is a nationally known, Korean-born artist who is on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her works engage the public through unusual uses of found objects and can be viewed in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Houston, Madison, Atlanta, the Netherlands, Venice, Korea and China.

How was Jin Soo Kim chosen as the artist for the Open Art Project?
Ms. Kim was selected from among three artists of national repute by an Open Art Panel following public presentations of the artists’ visions and opportunities for real-time and online community input. More than 500 people attended the presentations and more than 1,000 people visited the Open Art portion of MIAD’s web site in fall 2004.

Following Ms. Kim’s selection by the Open Art Panel, she submitted her design proposal to it. The Panel approved the design, which was presented to the public, and entrusted MIAD Project Director and Professor of Sculpture Jill Sebastian to oversee execution of
the artwork with MIAD students.

Who is on the Open Art Panel?
The Open Art Panel that selected the installation site and Jin Soo Kim following community input comprises the following diverse group of community and arts leaders: Diane Buck, educator and writer; Raoul Deal, Artist in Residence and Lecturer, Cultures in Communities Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Robert Greenstreet, Planning Director, City of Milwaukee and Dean, UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning; Carmen Haberman, Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation; Josie Osborne (non-voting coordinator), MIAD Director of Outreach and artist; Janeen Shavers, artist; Lynde Uihlein, BRICO Fund; and Jason Yi, MIAD Professor of Foundations and artist.

MIAD Professor of Sculpture and public art creator Jill Sebastian is Project Director and Betsy Erskine served as Project Coordinator.

How were MIAD college students involved in the Open Art Project?
Under the direction of MIAD Professor of Sculpture and Open Art Project Director Jill Sebastian, MIAD students attended the artist presentations; provided feedback for the selection process; researched the history of the Third Ward for selected artist Jin Soo Kim; worked with her to contact business owners in the Third Ward and to secure found objects for the sculpture, which were provided by Reliable Knitting and its late president, Isabelle M. Polacheck; participated in the sculpture’s creation, including a near unanimous choice of a natural look as integral to the site; and are now assisting with its installation. The students are: Brian Bolstad, Claudia Casteletto, Care Ekpo, Joan Gabel, Brett Henzig, Lauren Janka, Mayuko Kono, Jenna Lee and Alissa Tonato.

Who funded the Open Art Project?
The Open Art Project received generous funding from the Mary Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Joanne Johnson Public Art Fund and the Milwaukee Arts Board. Reliable Knitting supplied material support and is hosting the installation reception, and numerous individual donors and entities such as New Land Enterprises contributed funds, materials or services. The project is also supported financially by MIAD and by generous donations of time by MIAD staff, who facilitated the project. Stratiformis is dedicated to the late Joanne Johnson in honor of her passion for public art.

What is unique about Stratiformis?
In addition to the intensive public process that produced Stratiformis, this public artwork is a hand-made rather than a fabricated piece executed with the participation of a student crew from found objects from the Third Ward’s past. By blending vestiges of industrial times with the post-modern within a natural look that is integral to the site, it is history in its most tangible form and creates an ongoing public conversation about the Third Ward’s past, present and future.