The five finalists for the project have been selected, and their proposals were heard by our jury on Monday, Dec. 10. Read up on each finalist below.
Carrie Boucher explores how people relate to one another while engaging with interactive materials presented in a public setting. Through her current project, the NOMAD Art Bus, Carrie provides democratic access to open-ended creative engagement, empowering communities and finding the gaps, facilitating experiences for people who wouldn’t normally have access. In her work with the Art Bus she attempts to address inequity through direct action, as well as by organizing and empowering a network of creative support around those who lack access. She will be heading a team that also includes Bridget Elmer and Mitzi Gordon.
Kate Helms was an emergency responder to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She saw the devastation and felt powerless to do anything but document it. She sees settlement funds as an opportunity to generate real, tangible change within the community. She is a Pinellas County resident, artist and scientist, and currently working as the Stormwater Program Administrator for the City of Largo. There, she oversees stormwater pollution prevention efforts and water quality monitoring, amongst many other environmental efforts. She has also worked on projects dealing with Everglades restoration, oyster restoration, wetlands mitigation, and compliance and enforcement with environmental regulations as a member of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Kenny Jensen is a multidisciplinary artist with a deep connection to and love for Florida’s unique wilderness. His diverse conceptual practice includes the collection and manipulation of found specimen, sculpture, installation, painting, photography, and occasional performance art. Through creative presentation of found natural objects, he opens a dialogue toward new ways of seeing ourselves and our collective place in the world, with the hope of encouraging a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and to have a more grounded and sustainable connection to the earth. He will be heading a team that also includes Roxanne Fay and Sheila Cowley.
Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse have lived in Pinellas County for over 15 years, which has helped them to form a deep appreciation of the richness and diversity of Pinellas. They look at this project as an opportunity to celebrate the individual communities within Pinellas County and, at the same time, unite them through the creative thread of art. As a creative team, Mickett/Stackhouse are known for interactive place-marking, with interactivity taking multiple forms. They engage the community in preparing for a project, in organizing volunteers to participate in the building and installation, and in collaborating with the community after the piece has been established. Their goal is to make art that creates or enhances a place and, hence, excites and draws people to interact with the work and to look again at the importance of their surroundings.
Ya La’ford looks at this project as an opportunity to revolutionize the social, cultural and historic context of Pinellas County’s historical journey. She sees this creative task as key to mobilizing consensus, debate, interest and unity as pillars to express the values and artistic identity of Pinellas County to the world beyond. Her art practice focuses on the human journey, human patterns of existence and interconnectivity — the celebration and exploration of the natural world around us. With her installations of geometric stain dye and LED lighting, she has repeatedly built strong relationships and camaraderie with fellow artists, community builders, public officials, architects and commercial vendors, many of which have donated time, labor or materials in support of making art accessible to our communities.