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International Sxulpture Center Opens 2008 Membership Conference This Week
GRAND RAPIDS.- The International Sculpture Center (ISC) will open their 21st International Sculpture Conference - Sculpture in Public: Part 2, Public Art, will be held October 2-4, 2008 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Continuing conversations started at the 2007 conference, this two and a half day event will bring together members including artists, arts administrators,curators, patrons, museum directors, educators, and students for dialogue and networking events focused on issues related to public art. The ISC, which began hosting sculpture conferences over 45 years ago, selected Grand Rapids as the location for their 2008 event due to the cities vibrant cultural community with a long history with public art.

“Sculpture in Public: Part 2, Public Art promises to be an exciting occasion”, said Johannah Hutchison, Executive Director of the International Sculpture Center. “It offers a wonderful forum for members to network and exchange ideas, as well as visit a region of the US with a rich history of Public Art. Building on last year’s conference we look forward to bringing more of our membership together, particularly the students, to continue the discussions about public art today.”

The conference will be headquartered at the 130 acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, heralded by the Wall Street Journal as “the most important sculpture collection west of the Kroller Mueller” and whose collection ranges from Rodin and Maillol, to Moore and Hepworth, to Cragg and Goldsworthy. “We are honored to share our collections, gardens and grounds with the ISC and its members in this capacity.” Says Curator of Sculpture and Director of Exhibitions, Joseph Antenucci Becherer, “we are a highly unique institution as equally a botanical gardens, sculpture park and museum.”

A keynote address to be given by internationally celebrated sculptor and installation artist Jaume Plensa, who also be the subject of a major exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park during the conference. This will be Plensa’s largest US exhibition to date and Park members will join conference attendees for this talk. Other events being planned for the conference include panel discussions by leaders in the arts, social events, pre-conference workshops, a vendor’ssquare, and Art Slam, where attendees can share slide of their work for critique by others. Additional local organization’s participating in the events include the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) and Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Grand Rapids was selected as the host site for this international conference because of its long history and devotion to public art, and, in particular, sculpture. The city was the first recipient of an NEA Art in Public Places grant in 1969, which enabled the acquisition of Alexander Calder’s monumental, La Grande Vitesse – widely considered the sculptor’s most important stabile. In the nearly four ensuing decades, the community has continued its commitment to public sculpture and hosts major works by Mark di Suvero, Maya Lin, Robert Morris, Dale Chihuly, and Ellsworth Kelly, among other. In addition, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has just opened a critically acclaimed new facility at the heart of the central city. The Museum and the city’s Public Art, combined with the collections and grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, provide a highly unique venue for the 2008 conference.

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