One of the factors that makes us a great public art design firm is our deep approach to working with the community where the art will be installed. We often say that a project hasn't been started until we work with the community on the design and it isn't complete until the community has made it their own through interaction. By involving community members in the design process, they can provide valuable insights into what they would like to see in the artwork, what values and themes are important to them, and how the artwork can contribute to the overall character and identity of the community. This helps to ensure that the artwork resonates with the community, and that it is reflective of their values and interests.
Over the past five years, we have refined a highly effective hands-on engagement process. To start the project, we host a series of community workshops in the community where it will be installed. We invite students, seniors, city employees, and the general public to participate. We recruit participants through existing networks like neighborhood associations, schools, churches, interest groups or social media and conduct fun-filled two-hour sessions where we provide building materials, clay, and colored objects. We provide refreshments and activities for kids. We then lead groups through creative exercises that enable them to make and describe experiences that they envision for their community. Participants are given a range of scale human figures to visualize themselves interacting with the art. We've worked hard to find architectural figures that reflect the full diversity of the human experience, but we have done this so that everyone can place themselves in the experiences they create.
Photos of various Creative Machines events to engage with communities where our art will be installed
Working closely with the public by sitting down and making scores of models with them helps us get to the heart of what each community really wants. The results of these workshops are captured in video interviews with members and incorporated into our final designs.
The video below (2 min.) shows several members of the community of Goodyear, Arizona making models and thinking about ways they would like to interact with the sculpture we built for their local recreation center. Chasing the Stars, one of the world's largest kinetic sculptures, is the finished artpiece.
Our hands-on workshops honor people who enjoy thinking with their hands, working in small groups and discussing their vision one-on-one. This way, every voice is heard, and not just the loudest voices that often stand out in a crowd. There is a certain magic that happens when strangers spend time working with each other, finding answers over a period of time rather than jumping to conclusions. We have learned to facilitate this process of shared discovery.
Following the workshops, we head back to our studio and create concepts that we present in community meetings. This enables everyone to see how their input has been absorbed and transformed into the final concepts.
After we do this type of workshop, we go back to our studio, create concepts and bring them back to the public in community meetings. Everyone can see how their input had been absorbed and translated into the finished concepts.
Our approach has led to great projects, and we are proud to have fostered deep connections with the communities we work with. We believe that our hands-on workshops are the best way to get to the heart of what each community wants and create unique designs that resonate with them.
It Starts with Our Own Community
Creative Machines is is headquartered in the vibrant community of Tucson, Arizona, home to diverse cultures, art, and history. The city is known for its natural beauty, including the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape and majestic saguaro cacti. Tucson is also a hub for arts and culture, with many museums, galleries, and performance spaces showcasing the work of local and international artists.
The community of Tucson, Arizona carrying the Urn Creative Machines built for The All Souls Procession.
Tucson has a strong sense of community. One example of this community spirit is the annual All Souls Procession, a colorful and moving celebration and mourning of the lives of lost loved ones and ancestors. The event brings over 150,000 participants to Downtown Tucson each year in early November. In 2012, Creative Machines had the honor of fabricating the iconic Urn for the famous All Souls Procession. The Urn is a receptacle for mementos, prayers, messages, and remembrances of those we have loved and lost. At the culmination of the Finale, the Urn is burned, and the collective hopes, prayers, love, grief, memories, tributes, and remembrances are consumed by the flames and dissolve into the ether, bringing an end to another All Souls season.
We own an 8-acre facility in the heart of Tucson. We regularly host groups of visitors at Creative Machines, including student field trips, open houses, TED talks, tech council meetings and other groups who enjoy hands-on learning and exploration.
At Creative Machines, we believe that the key to successful projects lies in effective collaboration with our clients and their communities. Our highly effective hands-on engagement process allows us to fully understand our clients' needs, goals, and vision, and also work closely with their community as we design and create the artwork installation that they will know and love for many years to come. With our process, we ensure that our clients are involved in every step of the way, from ideation to final product delivery, resulting in a final product that not only meets but exceeds their expectations. We are committed to delivering innovative, high-quality, and engaging experiences that bring our clients' ideas to life.
Our experienced team of artists, architects, project managers, engineers, and fabricators are waiting to hear from you. Whether you have questions, are requesting a quote, or need information about a custom interactive experience, we want to hear from you!
published on March 10, 2023
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