Farmers Park Regional Art Contest Welcomes Artist to Discuss Future of Venue

Oct 8, 2014

Matthew Mazzotta is a nationally recognized artist who recently won an Americans for the Arts Public Art award for his community arts project, Open House (pictured), completed in 2013 in York, Alabama.
Credit Farmers Park Art Project

A Springfield destination for food is working towards becoming a destination for art.  KSMU’s Simone Cook tells us about the Farmers Park Art Project, an initiative that will begin to take shape this month with its first official art project.

In partnership with the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the project aims to bring artwork to Farmers Park. Jeff Broekhoven is the project’s art consultant, who was asked by Farmers Park developer Matt O’Reiley to help add an artistic perspective to the venue.

“He approached me with an idea to bring a creative, artistic layer to the park, that sort of compliments what the Farmers Park is providing for area farmers and local food.  He kind of wanted to do a similar approach for local and regional artwork.”

In August, officials started a contest that sought out public art proposals. The first artist selected for the project was nationally acclaimed artist Matthew Mazzota. He’ll be taking community input as part of a discussion on October 15, from 4-7 p.m., near the Farmers Park Pavilion.

“He invites them [the community] to this what we are calling an “outdoor living room,” where we are literally going to be setting up a living room space outside at Farmers Park, a rug, and couches, lamps, side tables, and all the stuff, and sit around in the living room space and he’ll conduct this discussion.”

It’s intended to inspire conversation about the site, about the people who use the site, and the concerns and interests of the people who frequent Farmers Park.

“We really want to make Springfield a destination for the arts and so I think beyond just trying to make our art scene better, we want the whole area to start to maybe see Springfield as this real creative place to visit and experience.”

Mazzotta will take under consideration all the thoughts and ideas of the participants and come back with his site-specific proposal by early 2015. The goal is to have the work built and installed by spring 2015.

The Farmers Park Art Project says this is the first public art project as part of the contest, and several potential artists are currently in discussion with the developer to attain approval on their proposed artworks.

The Farmers Park Art Project says it will also be holding a happy hour at Barley Wheat and Rye Social House on Tuesday, October 14, from 5-7 p.m., where individuals will be able to socialize and meet with Mazzota.