Public Works Project

Her project “Seed the Change” was just recognized by Americans for the Arts as part of their annual Public Art Review. Commissioned by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts. Thanks to the William E. Weiss Foundation for their support. You can learn more here.

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Check out a time-lapse video of Seed the Change here.

Critical Mass for the Visual Arts volunteers selected the two winners of the Seed the Change Photo Contest.  The prize for Original Drawing goes to “Octopus” by Gabriela of Bellville, IL. The best “Spirit of the Event” photo goes to Peter Gifford of St. Louis, MO. The winners will each be awarded momentary internet fame and a check for $250 as part of the Seed the Change Public Art Project by Jessica Witte.  We would like to thank all who participated in the contest and the public art project on June 5, 2016.

Seed the Change, the temporary 400-foot long drawing with the public in birdseed was part of opening weekend festivities for the redesigned St. Louis Riverfront at the Arch.  Several area organizations hosted related activities at the event including Center of Creative Arts, EarthDance Organic Farm School, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and the St. Louis Arc.  Seed the Change was the inaugural Public Works Project, a $10,000 commission to create a temporary public artwork anywhere in the City of St. Louis.  Seed the Change was presented by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, generously funded by the William E. Weiss Foundation, and hosted by Great Rivers Greenway.  ”
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Critical Mass for the Visual Arts invites artists from the St. Louis metropolitan area to submit an idea or concept that you would like to explore though a temporary work of art that will exist in the public realm. A three-person jury will review proposals and select one artist to receive up to $10,000 to realize his/her idea for the spring of 2016. This year’s winner is Jessica Witte with her project ‘Seed the Change.’

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Here’s a recent spot Jessica did with Meridith McKinley  on the Charlie Brennan Show to promote Seed the Change.

Critical Mass for the Visual Arts is pleased to announce that Jessica Witte and her project Seed the Change were selected for the inaugural Public Works Project, a temporary public art initiative.

Seed the Change will be a weekend-long collaborative drawing event along the St. Louis Riverfront, tentatively scheduled for June 3-5. Using black sunflower seeds and millet, an unforgettable “seed drawing” will be made on the sidewalk along Lenore K. Sullivan Boulevard, centering on the arch and extending hundreds of feet north and south. The underlying design, based on Missouri native wildflowers, will be outlined by Witte and her assistants on Friday. Viewers will then be invited to add to and manipulate the drawing throughout the weekend. The drawing will morph with the engagement of the audience, growing and changing. Time-lapse photography will record the changing form of the drawing over its lifespan. According to Witte, “the temporal nature of the project reveals that everything is subject to change and we must embrace the present moment to shape change.”

Witte’s hope for Seed the Change is that it will “highlight the city’s human potential; creating a welcoming space shaped by its people that embodies the beauty of labors of love, conversation, and individual expression.” To emphasize the actual physical work of making our city a more inviting place, Witte and Critical Mass will feature organizations during the event who share the mission to improve the city. Activities at tables and tents along the Riverfront will highlight these groups’ work, while creating a festival atmosphere and sparking discussion on how others can shape our city. At the end of the event Sunday, the 4000 lbs. of seed will be donated to the World Bird Sanctuary.

Critical Mass launched The Public Works Project to provide St. Louis area artists with an opportunity to develop a work of art for the public realm. Unlike other public art opportunities in the region, the artwork proposed had to be temporary and could be at a site of the artist’s choosing, allowing artists to match their artistic ideas with the siting of the work.

Jessica Witte is a nationally-exhibited, award-winning artist. Her multi-media work has been in over fifty exhibitions at venues such as the San Diego Art Institute, the Textile Center (Minneapolis, MN), Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney, NE), Rockford Art Museum (Rockford, IL), Maas Gallery (Purchase, NY), Good Citizen Gallery (St. Louis, MO), Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), WomanMade Gallery and Beverly Art Center (both Chicago, IL). Her Birdseed Doilies Project has spanned a decade and been featured in the online Chicago Art Magazine and Stylus, a London-based, international news service. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, she worked as a teacher, gallery director, and art museum staffer in northern Illinois before moving to St. Louis.

 

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  1. Jessica Witte “letting go, to seed” 2015 sunflower and safflower seed approximately. 30 x 50 feet collaborative seed drawing with crew of six over two days on Schmidt Art Center patio. Belleville, IL. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)
  2. Collaborative drawing process. Jessica Witte “letting go, to seed” 2015 sunflower and safflower seed approximately. 30 x 50 feet collaborative seed drawing with crew of six over two days on Schmidt Art Center patio. Belleville, IL. Photo: Jessica Mannisi
  3. Audience interaction with Jessica Witte “letting go, to seed” 2015 sunflower and safflower seed approximately. 30 x 50 feet collaborative seed drawing with crew of six over two days on Schmidt Art Center patio. Belleville, IL. Photo: Jon Slavkin
  4. Collaborative drawing process. Jessica Witte “letting go, to seed” 2015 sunflower and safflower seed approximately. 30 x 50 feet collaborative seed drawing with crew of six over two days on Schmidt Art Center patio. Belleville, IL. Photo: Alyssa Williams

 

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