PIONEER TOWER ICONIC PUBLIC ART PROJECT
Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Pioneer Tower was recommended as one of four locations in Fort Worth for “destination quality, iconic public artworks from nationally and internationally-recognized artists” in the Fort Worth Public Art Master Plan Update, adopted by City Council in 2017.
By early 2018, the City of Fort Worth’s plans to rehabilitate the Pioneer Tower, built in 1936 and listed on the National Register of History Places, were underway. This project offered an excellent opportunity to begin work on the City’s first iconic public art project. In April 2018, the Fort Worth Art Commission’s recommended approach to for the project was presented to City Council, namely, projection mapping video artworks formatted to fit the unique architecture of Pioneer Tower by utilizing a 3D scan of the structure.
In June 2018, the City contracted with local artists and co-founders of Dallas Aurora (www.dallasaurora.com), Joshua King (JTK Studios LLC) and Shane Pennington (SP Studio LLC) as planning consultants based on their decade-long experience presenting visionary artists’ work to the North Texas community at the AURORA Biennial. For the Pioneer Tower Iconic Public Art Project, King and Pennington worked with the City of Fort Worth’s architectural consultant to specify art infrastructure, including electric and data connections on all four sides of the tower to support powerful video projection equipment. In addition, they produced a 3D scan of the tower that the commissioned artists would use to format their projection mapping video artworks.
In November 2018, Council Member Dennis Shingleton appointed the Pioneer Tower Project Core Team composed of Cultural District and community stakeholders to provide input throughout the course of the project. In April 2019, King and Pennington guided their appointed Curatorial Committee through a process that led to the selection of New York-based new media curator DooEun Choi.