Internationally known artists to discuss work as UNT determines public art for new Art Building

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 13:47

What: Public Art and Grant Writing Symposium, a three-day event featuring internationally known artists who are finalists to create public art for the new Art Building, sponsored by the University of North Texas’ Art in Public Places program and the College of Visual Arts and Design.

When: Keynote panel discussion, 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 8 (Friday); Percent for Art Finalist Lectures, 1-6 p.m. Sept. 8 (Friday) and 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 11 (Monday); For students only – Public Art Workshop, 10 a.m., and Grant Writing Workshop at 1 p.m., both on Sept. 9 (Saturday)

Where: Keynote panel discussion and lectures are in room 333 and the public art workshop is in room 385, both in UNT’s University Union, located at 1155 Union Circle in Denton.

Parking: $2.25 per hour (credit card only) in the Union Circle Parking Garage at 350 Welch Street in Denton. For more options, visit

Cost: Free


DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas’ new Art Building is expected to feature art from an internationally recognized artist – and the public can hear from a group of finalists before the artist is selected to develop an artwork proposal.

The five finalists for the public art project will speak at the Public Art and Grant Writing Symposium Sept. 8-11 (Friday-Monday) at the University Union Room 333. The event is organized by UNT’s Art in Public Places program and the College of Visual Arts and Design.

The artists will talk about and present images of their past work during their sessions, and those presentations will determine if their visual language is a fit for UNT, said Tracee Robertson, director and curator of UNT Art Galleries. The new Art Building is under construction and is slated for completion by 2019.

“It’s an opportunity to hear internationally successful artists talk about their works as well as hear from public art professionals about how public art impacts our experience of a place,” Robertson said.


The artists are:

  • Mark Dion – American conceptual artist whose installations frequently use nature and science
  • Jim Campbell – San Francisco-based artist known for using LED lights in his public art and installations
  • Jean Shin – New York City-based artist who takes everyday objects to use in sculptures, videos and installations
  • Matthew Ritchie – British artist who uses drawings, paintings and installations to represent the vastness of the universe
  • Humberto Campana – Brazilian-based designer who, with his brother Fernando, takes ordinary materials to make furniture


Dion, Ritchie and Shin will speak from 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 (Friday). The lectures will start at 1:30 p.m. and the reception is from 5 to 6 p.m. Campana and Campbell (via video) will speak from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 11 (Monday), followed by a reception.

The artists were chosen through the UNT Artist Registry, which allows artists to upload examples of their work and artist’s statements, and nominations from CVAD faculty and staff. The Registry and nominations were juried from over 500 entries to 10 entries in each art medium category and 18 nominated artists. Jurors were Andrea Karnes of the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth and Jed Morse of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. The five finalists were chosen from the juried list by a selection committee made up of CVAD faculty and staff and representatives from the UNT Art in Public Places committee.

This selection committee will chose one or more finalists in September, following the artist lectures. The selected artist(s) will then enter a “design development agreement” to develop an idea for an artwork. The concept(s) will go through an approval process that is finalized by the Art in Public Places committee and University President Neal Smatresk.

Other speakers at the symposium will discuss the importance of public art. The event will open at 10 a.m. Sept. 8 (Friday) with a coffee reception with Smatresk. At 10:30, a keynote panel will feature Veronique le Melle, the executive director of the ArtSpace artist residency and exhibition program in San Antonio; Martha Peters, public art vice president for the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County; and Seattle-based artist Norie Sato, whose work is displayed in the UNT Student Union, Fort Worth’s Chisolm Trail Parkway and San Francisco International Airport.

Sato will conduct a public art workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 9 (Saturday). Her mural “Quiet and Soaring” is featured in the Meditation Room of UNT’s University Union. A grant writing workshop with CVAD experts takes place from 1-2 p.m. These events are open to UNT students only.

Robertson said public art plays an important role in architecture and environment.

“Artworks in our environments and pathways enhance our visual and physical experience of campus and contribute to a sense of belonging,” Robertson said. “Art can contribute to our emotional connection to a place. It gives us a visual marker. It has beauty. It communicates through the senses. It can be inspiring. Often artworks are acquired to commemorate a person or institutional milestone, and in this way many of the artworks on campus tell the story of UNT.”

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108