When: Wednesday, Jan 30 | 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Location: TBD

Days: Wednesday. Event Types: Session. Sectors: Public Libraries. Subjects: Ethics, Library Buildings and Space, and Public Service.


Description:

Markham Public Library uses exhibit space to enable visitors to participate in the creative life of their community. In early 2018, MPL experienced two back-to-back challenging situations that arose from two back-to-back public art exhibits. The library handled each of these situations differently- one well, and one regrettably. Both of these situations were complicated and stressful, and caused us to ask ourselves some difficult questions and learn some valuable lessons. After giving the audience some background information about these situations, I will spend some time talking about the purpose of displaying art in public spaces, and also illustrate how art in public spaces has always and will always evoke a variety of viewer responses. To wrap up the session, I plan on talking about writing a policy on public art exhibits, learning to expect complaints about art exhibits and to view them as opportunities for conversation rather than as signs of failure, and having the courage to be a less risk-averse organization.

Learning Objectives:
1. The purpose and value of public art
2. Clarifying your processes around art exhibits: thinking about acceptance criteria, changing how we react to complaints involving art in our spaces/being prepared to defend our exhibits, holding space for uncomfortable conversations.
3. Developing the courage to be less risk-averse.