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WSDOT, Other Agencies Collaborate with Creatives

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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More state transportation departments are considering implementing artist-in-residence programs to look at public space and infrastructure in new ways, according to reports. In November, the Washington State Department of Transportation became the first statewide agency to host such a program.

In WSDOT’s case, ArtPlace America provided a $125,000 grant for the program, with the future artist receiving a $40,000 stipend and an additional $25,000 to be used toward final projects that the staff and artist develop.

Thinking Creatively

According to the Union-Bulletin, government officials hope that programs such as this will provide outside-the-box solutions to transportation problems, such as increasing community engagement in planning, decreasing traffic congestion and making streets safer for drivers.

captivecookie / Getty Images

More state transportation departments are considering implementing artist-in-residence programs to look at public space and infrastructure in new ways, according to reports. In November, the Washington State Department of Transportation became the first statewide agency to host such a program.

WSDOT’s artist will spend a year with the agency, moving through 10 divisions in the first fourth months.

“The goal will be to investigate how decisions are made,” said Ben Stone, director of arts and culture for Transportation for America, a nonprofit advocacy group administering the WSDOT program through the grant from ArtPlace. “City and state DOTs control so much of the public space we interact with every day. Their (the officials’) job is thinking about how people move through it, but less on how infrastructure impacts people’s lives.”

One point to investigate is how transportation agencies communicate with communities about upcoming projects. To see how these artist-in-residency initiatives have panned out, WSDOT can look at cities who have already launched similar endeavors: In Los Angeles, artist Alan Nakagawa held a workshop for engineers in which a storyteller provided instruction on humanizing presentations to the public, as well as communicating stories people would be interested in, rather than just technical details.

WSDOT hopes to have the artist on board by March, noted agency spokesperson Barbara LaBoe.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Research and development; Transportation

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