November 12th, 2022. On a cold Saturday morning, six local artists gathered in the break room of JL Troupe Company, sipping hot coffee as they prepared to spend the day learning about industrial metal fabrication and how artists can create partnerships to enhance their art, especially in the public arena.
The artists (Andrew Luy, Emmie Mayne, Josh Phillips, Gwyer Sinclair, Craig Van Cleave/Hunter Vroonland, and Justin Ward) all applied to a Request for Qualifications to design artistic lighting to be suspended from the trees of Apollo Park adjacent the Orion Amphitheater. The six were selected as finalists to submit full proposals for the park’s installation.
The project is part of Huntsville’s Public Art Program, and is one of several public art programs in 2022 that have exclusively targeted local talent. The Artistic Lighting Program (internally referred to by the program name ‘Skyline’) also served as an opportunity to provide professional development for local artists, one of the goals identified by Huntsville’s Public Art Master Plan.
This is not the first public art professional development workshop Arts Huntsville has conducted for local artists. A five-part workshop series was held in 2021 at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. Over the course of the series, two participating artists were selected to fabricate and install a temporary sculpture. One of those artists, David Nuttall (Artimaps) had this work fabricated by JL Troupe; the fabricator’s first public art project. David, also in attendance on November 12, shared his experience and process with the group.
Artists also received a tour of the installation site and Orion Amphitheater led by Victoria Jones, and learned about LED lighting design options from LED Orange and Notorious LED. The core of the workshop, however, focused on an introduction JL Troupe’s fabrication technology, including the opportunity to experiment with a small hands-on project to see the tech in action as it intersects with art.
Artists will work on their proposals over the next two months and present their ideas to a selection committee in January of 2023, after which one artist will be selected to receive a commission to bring their idea to life.