PADUCAH - West Kentucky Community and Technical College is seeking community input to steer the development of an interactive art park on its Paducah School of Art and Design (PSAD) campus. Community listening sessions are scheduled for April 13 and 22.

“We encourage everyone in the community to be a part of the discussions that will determine the direction of the art park,” said Paul Aho, PSAD director. “We want them to have their voices heard.”

The community listening sessions are set for Saturday, April 13, from 10-11:30 a.m. and Monday, April 22, from 5:30-7 p.m. at PSAD’s 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street.

All are invited. RSVPs and online input forms may be found at PaducahSchoolofArtandDesign.org for those who wish to attend the forums and for those who wish to participate but are unable to attend.

Through a national Request for Qualifications (RFQ), the college has selected five artists or artist teams to compete as finalists to design an art park to be sited on PSAD’s campus fronting Martin Luther King Boulevard in downtown Paducah. Community input is requested to guide the design proposals and ensure the artists’ proposals reflect the community’s culture, history, and vision for a regional amenity complementing multiple initiatives establishing Paducah as an arts and cultural community and destination.

The art park design competition is funded through an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and is being matched through funds from the Paducah Junior College Inc. (PJC), the foundation that supports WKCTC. This is the second Our Town grant awarded to institutions in Paducah in as many years, and funding for the design process for the project was awarded to WKCTC in partnership with the City of Paducah.

“This design process for a significant public amenity on PSAD’s campus serves to enhance the art school’s value to the community and the City’s established investment in art as a driver of economic development,” said Aho. “With funding from the PJC Foundation, the college will provide stipends for each artist’s design proposal, while funds from the Our Town grant will support the services of a nationally recognized landscape architect to provide technical support to the artists and the project.”

Submissions of qualifications were received from across the county and represent many artists and artist teams with extensive experience, as well as those seeking to build upon their work in the realm of public art. The five artists selected include Jessica Canfield (Manhattan, Kansas) and Shauna Gillies-Smith (Somerville, Massachusetts), Matthew Geller (New York, New York), Blessing Hancock (Tucson, Arizona), Gordon Huether (Napa, California) and Joe O’Connell (Tucson) The finalists were selected by a committee of WKCTC faculty and staff members and the City of Paducah.

A separate committee representing WKCTC, the city, community members, regional artists, construction project managers, and the PJC Board of Trustees and WKCTC Board of Directors will select the winning proposal.

In addition to deciding upon the winning proposal, this group will assist in the presentation of the listening sessions with stakeholders and community members to determine a collective vision for the park that will serve to drive its design. They will also interact with the artists to communicate that vision, ensuring their proposals are relevant and meaningful to the region and the park’s users.

For more information about the project or the listening tours, contact Paul Aho at paul.aho@kctcs.edu.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Paducah School of Art and Design offers an associate in fine arts degree in visual art and an associate in applied science degree and certificate programs in visual communication: multimedia, as well as studio art classes for students of all levels and disciplines. Classes are offered on WKCTC’s campus at 905 Harrison Street and at 919 Madison Street.

For more information about PSAD, call 270-534-3901.  

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