Mural by Miguel Angel Godoy located in the emerging technology warehouse district of Phoenix, AZ on Grant and 6th Street.

2019 Public Art Conference Season: The Takeaways!

October 25, 2019

After attending four of the country’s premier conferences on public arts in 2019, we have good news to share: the future looks bright for public artists. 

Percent for Arts Programs are steadily expanding to more states. As a result, the U.S. is witnessing a significant rise in building projects that require new, large-scale public art—facilities like schools, courthouses, airports, hospitals, and convention centers. Most of these projects represent an intriguing blend of cultural, geographical, and sociopolitical needs. Most also come with funds earmarked to ensure they include public art proportionate to their size. In sum, these projects will provide an increasing number of artists with unique opportunities to impact society, challenge their own craft, and realize visions that would otherwise prove cost prohibitive. 

Excited to see these growing opportunities for public art, Bullseye Studio is aiming to support artists and art agencies more than ever. Ultimately, of course, that means collaborating to provide fabrication and project-management services for large-scale works in kilnformed glass. More immediately, it means continuing to build awareness about the benefits and potentials of kilnformed glass for anyone working in public art and architecture. Whether that happens at a conference, over social media, or in our facilities in Portland, Oregon, it’s our aim to be an informative and inspiring participant in conversations about public art. This year, those conversations proved particularly engaging at the following conferences.

Free public art festival, Northern Spark, during AFTA’s Convention Opening Night Reception in the American Indian Cultural Corridor near the Commons in downtown Minneapolis and the Rondo Neighborhood of St. Paul.

Americans for the arts (AFTA): Public Art Pre-Conference


One of the largest arts conferences in the country, AFTA has traditionally chosen to address the topic of public art through a pre-conference. Next year, however, that format will change. Instead of a pre-conference, public art will become its own designated event, The Public Art & Civic Design Conference. This change should offer more robust programming for everyone interested in public art, ideally encouraging greater turnout and participation.

With that in mind, Bullseye Studio plans to attend next year’s conference and continue listening to the needs of artists and agencies who work (or want to work) in public art. Based on the conversations we had this year, we hope to contribute further to ongoing discussions about maintenance, deaccessioning, the tensions surrounding permanence in a rapidly changing social environment, and how kilnformed glass stands in relationship to each of these hot topics.

And of course we will be at the service of attendees who want to explore the benefits that public artists gain from working with a proven fabricator—benefits such as expert project management, elevated competitiveness in project applications, and freedom from technical, budgetary, and scheduling stressors.

Explore our work in public art.

Human Nature, 2010, by Ralph Helmick at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.

National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH): Arts in Healthcare Conference


A growing body of research indicates that art promotes healing. From this research, the Arts in Healthcare Conference emphasized the health benefits that arise when patients make or participate in art directly. The conference also covered the effects of visual art on healing environments and how well they contribute to patient wellness and overall staff retention. We expect both topics to continue shaping discussions about the future of vibrant healthcare.

Healthcare and public art, then, is a rapidly developing field. Given the evidence connecting art to positive patient outcomes, it presents immense opportunity for public artists in general, but especially those who can connect their art proposals to clinical literature. We excel at helping such artists turn their research-based visions into healing artistic realities. 

Explore our work in healthcare settings

Bullseye Studio’s table during the 29th International Sculpture Conference Opening Reception at the Pacific Northwest College or Art, Portland, OR.

International Sculpture Center (ISC): The 29th International Sculpture Conference


With a table at the event’s reception at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, we were quickly reminded how naturally sculptors tend to enter conversations about kilnformed glass. As artists accustomed to working with physical materials in 3D, their questions are often fast-tracked: 

Can I combine kilnformed glass with other materials? How does it handle at different scales? How does it perform outdoors? What kind of stress can it bear? Where can I learn to use it myself? 

We were grateful for the steady stream of keen questions and impressed by the way so many attendees began imagining uses for the glass while simply holding a sample. Thank you, ISC.

Explore our work in fine art.

Terrazzo floor, Two Strands of Yarn Create Strength, 2015, by Janelle L. Stanley at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE): Arts in the Airport Workshop


Airports change constantly. They are always being renovated, expanded, and reorganized. This fact makes them a particularly promising venue for public arts. When change takes place in structures of that scale, the odds are good that new public art will be introduced.

By their hybrid nature as travel hub, shopping mall, dining mecca, and public concourse, airports present diverse opportunities for artists. Large-scale permanent installations are becoming regular features at most major airports. At the same time, performing arts productions and temporary exhibitions continue to grow in popularity.

The opportunities within arts and airports impressed us. The field is wide open and expanding. The groups involved are dynamic and open. This conference represents a must-watch area in the emerging trends of public art.

Explore our work with public organizations.