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Artist Karl Unnasch is honored by Public Art Network Year in Review

Mon, Aug 25th, 2014
Posted in All Arts & Culture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans for the Arts honors 37 outstanding public arts projects created in 2013 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program. Public Art Network Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art.

Public Artist Karl Unnasch of rural Pilot Mound (Chatfield), Minn. was honored for his creation of Ruminant (The Grand Masticator) – a harvesting combine clad in 34 backlit, agriculturally-themed stained glass panels – for the 2013 Farm/Art DTour in conjunction with the 3rd annual Fermentation Fest in Reedsburg, Wis.

Various funding agencies and artists submitted 345 diverse public art projects representing small and large cities throughout the United States. “The innovative work demonstrated in the Public Art Network Year in Review shows the breadth of talent from artists around the country,” said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “These winning pieces reflect the diversity of public art in our communities, from temporary projects to permanent, and sculpture to performance art. These projects engage new audiences and help build stronger and more vibrant communities.”

“Karl’s piece made a big impression on our community,” said Joann Mundth Douglas, Head of the Reedsburg ArtsLink’s Acquisition Committee for Ruminant. “During Fermentation Fest, Ruminant drew a lot of attention and many locals identified with it as a monument to Reedsburg’s agricultural heritage.” In the Walker Art Center’s mnartists.blog, Artist Aaron Dysart said of Ruminant, “Unnasch’s monumental piece mashes up the histories of stained glass, comic books and farm machinery to create a funny, expansive re-telling of the harvest narrative.”

Although Ruminant was originally a temporary piece, community members formed a committee to permanently acquire it for the City of Reedsburg. It is currently being re-outfitted by Unnasch and will be installed as a centerpiece in a new park downtown at a dedication ceremony on October 3, just in time for the 2014 Fermentation Fest. The piece is intended to become a Reedsburg landmark and to attract curious visitors to the city. Said Mundth Douglas, “Karl’s piece is so compelling, we believe that it will both distinguish Reedsburg and attract visitors year round for many years to come.”

The 2013 Public Art Network Year in Review curators were Cath Brunner, public art program director, 4Culture in Seattle; Ralph Helmick, award-winning artist based in Newton, Mass., specializing in public sculpture installations; and Janet Zweig, Brooklyn-based artist recognized for public art pieces and performance spaces. Mr. Helmick and Ms. Zweig have had multiple works included in past years of the Public Art Network Year in Review.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. www.AmericansForTheArts.org

Artist Karl Unnasch has exhibited as far as Europe and been acclaimed in publications as esteemed as The New York Times and Art in London Magazine. His award-winning public artwork has been featured on NBC’s ‘Today’ Show and Voice of America. In 2013, he was counted among the Artists of the Year by the Minneapolis CityPages Magazine. Unnasch today focuses primarily on public and architectural art, most typically incorporating stained glass and sculpture into his work. For more information, visit www.karlunnasch.com.

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