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TCNJ to host panel discussion on the impact of public art

TCNJ LogoEWING, NJ … Two guest speakers with experience in the study, commission and response to public art will share their perspectives at  “The Impact of Public Art: A Panel Discussion,” at The College of New Jersey on Nov. 9.

The event, featuring Kim Babon, a scholar, and Sara Reisman, a cultural affairs official with the City of New York, has been organized in conjunction with an exhibition by artist Willie Cole, spanning two decades of work, that is on view at the TCNJ Art Gallery from Oct. 27–Dec. 8. Cole, a specialist in found-object sculptures, is the creator of “Pixels,” a prominent art installation located between TCNJ’s Music Building and its Art & Interactive Multimedia Building.

Babon is an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Elon University. Her research explores how context—the location of public art—is central to understanding reactions to it. She received a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago in 2007. Her dissertation, “Location, Location, Location: Reception, Context, and Controversy Over Sculpture in Urban Spaces,” examined how certain public sculptures inspire intense debate while others, created by the same set of artists, do not.

Reisman is the director of Percent for Art at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Since the 1980s, Percent for Art has commissioned more than 220 artworks for schools, courthouses, parks and other civic sites throughout New York City. Much of Reisman’s curatorial work focuses on connecting a wider public with contemporary art. She has also curated public art installations for Socrates Sculpture Park and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, among other venues.

“At its best, public art creates a sense of place and identity, creates dialogue, connects artists with communities, and builds public understanding and appreciation of art,” noted TCNJ Art Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham, who said of the event, “We are thrilled to host two important experts in the field of public art.”

The panel discussion, organized by The College of New Jersey Art Gallery, The Center for the Arts, and the Department of Art, will be held from 5–7 p.m. in the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall in the Music Building. It is open to the public. For more information, contact Art Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham at