FWPA: Public artists often work with a “client” department such as Park and Recreation Department, the Fire Department, and the Library Department, among others. What makes working with a city department unique compared to other organizations or businesses?
JL: When you work with a City Department, there comes a responsibility to the entire surrounding community. You are generally aware of what the department does for the community and what the department represents to the public. You feel a need to visually represent the department in the best light possible as you are putting a face on the entire department.
While every project involves community representatives, city staff are also involved on public projects to ensure work designed can be properly integrated into a site and meet department needs. How did you navigate working with a city department and staff at various levels?
My project manager connected me with the appropriate City of Fort Worth personnel to make decisions on the artwork. For my project, this included dimensions of the painting, how to build a frame for the large painting that was considerate of specific building needs, and the coordinating the delivery and installation of the work. I worked with not only my project manager and Water Department staff but also the project engineer, architects, interior designers, lighting designers, contractors, and electrical engineers for the building. Everyone, without exception, made themselves available for collaboration early to ensure a smooth final design, fabrication, and installation.
You feel a need to visually represent the department in the best light possible as you are putting a face on the entire department. – Julie Lazarus, Artist