The Moline Public Art Commission (MPAC) recently commissioned the largest mural project in the City of Moline, and quite possibly the Quad Cities. This mural project has garnered a lot of coverage from local media, and has started a great conversation around public art, which we LOVE! Some commenters have been vocal about their disappointment that this project did not go to a local artist, and some believe this is a sign that the Quad Cities does not support local artists.
While we understand the frustration, we also believe this cannot be further from the truth.
Quad City Arts' role in most projects is not to choose the artwork, it is to facilitate and help the organization to reach its goals. This means we are uniquely situated to see the bigger picture, and in this instance support the choice made by MPAC. The Moline Public Art Commission operates from a Public Art and Placemaking Plan developed by the organization Renew Moline which was adopted by City Council. The negative comments have allowed Quad City Arts to see the validity of some comments and look at future projects and goals for our organization. Most importantly though, it is creating a bigger conversation around public art in the Quad Cities, and the more attention we can bring the more we can do! (Learn more about more than 50 public mural projects that we have facilitated by local artists or completed through our Metro Arts Murals projects: quadcityarts.com/public-murals)
This blog post will not spend time comparing non-local mural artists to non-local performing artists or the sentiment to support locals while doing most of the shopping at “big box stores” because much like those scenarios, there is room for both.
First, we need to start thinking about our public art as a collection. Much like an art museum does or you do with your personal collection. Art museums are great to visit because they have exhibits from around the world, and some have pieces from local artists as well. You may not think of the art you own as a collection, but it is. Think of what is on the walls in your home, some are from local artists and photographers, some come from your travels, and some may even come from Target. In both cases, these were curated by someone to be diverse in style, messaging, and themes.
Some additional reasons why it's important to diversify a public art collection:
There should be a balance of local and non-local artwork and there is space in the Quad Cities for both! Thankfully, there are several projects that are currently in the works from cities in the Quad Cities Region.
The conversation does not end here, come back next month for a post on how you (and your business) can support local artists!
Quad City Arts announced that the Quad Cities nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $29,030,438 in economic activity in 2022, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. That economic activity of $16,253,537 in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $12,776,901 in event-related spending by their audiences supported 712 jobs and generated $6,169,570 in local, state, and federal government revenue. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce for local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with.
Building on its 30-year legacy as the largest and most inclusive study of its kind, AEP6 uses a rigorous methodology to document the economic and social contributions of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture industry. The study demonstrates that, locally as well as nationally, arts and culture are a critical economic driver of vibrant communities.
“At Quad City Arts, we see firsthand the social impact of the arts on our community and on individuals, and we know that the arts have a significant impact on our local economy. With this study, we can put numbers to that impact. It is also worth highlighting that this study collects the impact of only non-profit arts and culture organizations in Scott and Rock Island Counties, it does not include the large number of for-profit arts and culture organizations,” said Kevin Maynard, Quad City Arts, Executive Director.
Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.
“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”
AEP6 represents a reset from its previous versions, establishing a new benchmark in the AEP study series.
● Social Impact: For the first time, AEP6 expands beyond the economic and financial data to include social impact measurements of arts and culture’s effect on the well-being of communities and residents.
● Equity and Inclusion: AEP6 broke new ground by prioritizing equity, community engagement, and inclusivity. With the goal of reducing systemic bias, Americans for the Arts transformed its approach and expanded the inclusion and participation of organizations serving or representing BIPOC- (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and ALAANA- (African, Latine, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying communities.
Nationally, the extensive research reveals proportional economic and community impacts among attendees at BIPOC and ALAANA organizations to the overall national average. These findings should initiate new, and escalate existing, critical funding conversations about BIPOC and ALAANA organizations receiving fair and proportional financial support.
Key figures from the Quad Cities AEP6 study include:
AEP6 demonstrates the significant economic and social benefits that arts and culture brings to their communities, states, and the nation. To amplify the study results and raise awareness of these widespread benefits with public and private-sector leaders, seventeen national organizations partnered with Americans for the Arts on AEP6:
The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each, can be found at AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org. For more information, follow us @Americans4Arts
The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit AEP6.AmericansForTheArts.org.
INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED MURALISTS WERC AND GERALUZ TO IGNITE MOLINE'S STREETSCAPE WITH BOLD PUBLIC ART
The Moline Public Art Commission and Quad City Arts proudly announce that work will begin today on the mural at 1405 5th Ave, Moline IL. The Moline Public Art Commission has chosen Brooklyn-based artists, Jari “WERC” Alvarez and Gera “GERALUZ” Lozano for a transformative public art project that will breathe new life into the heart of our community.
WERC and GERALUZ will begin by projecting the design on the evening of Tuesday, October 17. The official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on October 25th at 1405 5th Avenue, Moline, at 4:30 PM with an artist reception to follow inside Analog Pizza and Arcade. All are welcome to join!
This exciting addition to the mural collection in Moline contributes to the well-being and vibrancy of the community, fostering cultural richness, and creating spaces that engage, educate, and inspire both residents and visitors. By incorporating public art into the fabric of our city, we strive to enhance the quality of life and promote Moline as a thriving cultural destination. Additionally, murals by non-local artists introduce a diversity of artistic styles and can attract attention on a broader scale, potentially drawing tourists and art enthusiasts to the area. This increased visibility can boost the city's reputation as a destination for art and culture.
The Moline Public Art Commission is excited to have secured these artists with exceptional talent for this monumental project. Werc and Geraluz have the ability to transcend cultural boundaries and provoke dialogue through their art. Their work also aligns with the Moline Public Art Commission’s vision of fostering a more vibrant and culturally inclusive community. This is the commission’s first public art mural since it was formed in late 2021, and the commission is excited to provide additional mural and art opportunities throughout the city of Moline, including both local and non-local artists as placemaking plans continue to develop.
Gera Lozano was born in the Amazon jungle of Peru and was raised in Newark, NJ from the age of 9. She has an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in New Genres.
Gera Lozano is a conceptual artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. Using photos, video, artist books, and public art in her process, Lozano’s practice intentionally beautifies and brings to light both sacred patterns and the patterns woven into our social fabric. Both her studio and public artwork carry the energy of cultures’ dreams, that transform the ethnography and the current zeitgeist into abstract geometric designs. GERALUZ, as she is also known in the street art world, projects designs of living cultures that reflect the energetic fields of optical perception.
Lozano‘s artwork has been funded by the Creative Work Fund, the Zellerbach Foundation, the NEA; and is part of the Smithsonian American Art Archives. GERA’s public artwork can be seen throughout the Americas, in collaboration with agencies such as; The Washington State Arts Commission, The New York City Department of Transportation, The New York City Economic Corporation, The Trust for Public Land, The Municipality of Asuncion Paraguay, City of El Paso Museum Cultural Affairs Department, Sun Metro Rapid Transit System, Lower East Side Partnership, The Rockefeller Group & Creative Art Works. GERA’s art has been featured in Interior Design, Art Practical, The Manhattan Times, NJ monthly magazine, Street Art New York City, CBS, NJTV NEWS, and Univision. (www.geralozano.com)
Jari WERC Alvarez was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. (1980) and grew up in El Paso TX. It is on this border where it all began for Werc; 21 years ago, he became part of the graffiti movement and began his artistic career. WERC’s work is an aggregate of culture, symbols, graffiti, and design.
WERC’s work brings wonder into the urban environment with a free-flowing aesthetic, inspired by the dream-like nature of surrealism and grounded in geometry. WERC explores the balance in the aspects of duality and the politics of identity and believes art can weave communities' thoughts and aspirations.
WERC’s is a public artist currently based out of NYC, who paints murals throughout the world; His studio-based works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, such as Musée de Aquitaine, MCASD, CAMLA, MOM, and are part of the Getty's special collections, the Smithsonian American Art Archives & the Cheech Marin Chicano Art Collection. WERC has participated in several mural festivals and initiatives such as the UK's See No Evil 2012, MX Color Walk 2014, & Peru’s Latido Americano 2016. In 2014 & 2015 WERC’s murals made the Top 10 murals of NYC and has been named one of the Top 10 most talented Street Artists in New York City. WERC’s client list includes Sony Pictures, Google, Heineken, PANTONE, BULGARI, and the San Diego International Airport, amongst many others, and has been published in various books, magazines, and media such as; Mural Art, Artillery Magazine, Graffiti Planet, and others. (www.wercworldwide.com)
About the Moline Public Art Commission
The Moline Public Art Commission, formed in 2021, advises the City’s Corporate Authorities in all matters pertaining to City-sponsored art in the Downtown Moline Public Art Program Area, as identified in the Public Art Master Plan approved and adopted by the City Council. The Commission’s primary goal is to increase the public’s awareness of all visual arts, including, but not limited to, the exhibition of sculpture, paintings, mosaics, photography, and video. The Public Art Commission is responsible for interpreting and reviewing proposed Public Art projects in Downtown Moline, Cultural Corridors, and Public Art Program areas.
About Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a nonprofit local arts agency dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad Cities region through the arts. Their contribution can be seen in providing public art installations through the Public Sculpture Program, providing arts and culture programming through the Visiting Artist Series, involving residents in the decision-making process related to public art in the Metro Arts Program, encouraging economic development through arts and tourism, and collaborations and partnerships throughout the Quad Cities Metro Area.
For media inquiries and further details, please contact:
Kevin Maynard, Quad City Arts Executive Director, KMaynard@quadcityarts.com, 309.793.1213 ext. 101
Jeffrey S. Dismer, Moline Public Art Commission Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell: 309-269-2301