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Public Art Series (Part 2) // Public Art Panel Discussion

  • Minnetrista 1200 North Minnetrista Parkway Muncie, IN, 47303 United States (map)

Part 2: Public Art Panel Discussion

Thursday, August 15th from 6-8 PM at Minnetrista (Indiana Room)
Moderated by Les Smith

This panel discussion is the second event in a two-part series on public art hosted by Muncie Arts & Culture Council and PlySpace resident artist Masha Vlasova. The event brings together a range of professional touch points with public art and welcomes Muncie residents and local arts advocates into a broad and informative conversation about its various forms, their impact on quality of place, and mechanisms for commissioning and stewarding works of art for the public.

The conversation will be moderated by Les Smith, incoming Board President for Community Enhancement Projects. He is joined by panelists Masha Vlasova (film-maker and PlySpace Resident), Lauren Pacheco (founder of the Chicago Urban Art Society and the Chicago Lowrider Festival), and Richard McCoy (founding director of the Landmark Columbus Foundation). Full bios are listed below.

Public art projects are a way for communities to create dialogue, share cultural experiences, address issues, and build relationships — in this way art enhances the quality of our lives. Public Art takes many forms, and Muncie is home to an array of traditional and contemporary works that honor our city’s past while also empowering its future. It celebrates our local history, sparks creativity, and embodies the authenticity of our city and our communities along our streets, within our parks, and on our buildings.

In April 2018, the first Public Art Plan for the City of Muncie was approved by the Board of Works. The plan establishes the Muncie Public Art Committee to guide and implement the City’s efforts to care for our public art collection as well as commission, create, and celebrate new projects for all to enjoy. Learn more at


 Les Smith has been a licensed landscape architect since 1982. He recently completed a 35-year career as faculty member in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University. He has returned to his private design practice, along with participation in a number of local community improvement organizations. His educational background includes fine arts, performance arts, natural and social sciences, and landscape architecture. He maintains an active professional practice with a specialty in equestrian facility planning and design. While a teacher, Les was recognized for his energetic and enthusiastic teaching methods. As the instructor of design-build courses, Les guided students through the design, engineering, and construction of community service projects. As a designer, teacher, and mentor, he employs a distinctive design process, utilizing experimental drawing techniques to discover innovative design results. His recent book “Design Readiness for Landscape Architects: Drawing Exercises that Generate Ideas” (Routledge Press) demonstrates his design discovery methods for others to utilize. Les is currently the Vice President for Community Enhancement Projects, Inc. (CEP). CEP is a very active Muncie beautification organization. CEP is also responsible for the design, development, funding and maintenance of many familiar community parks and recreation facilities (e.g. Riverbend Park; The White River Greenway Trails; Canan Commons Stage and Park; the Bicentennial Pavilion/Overlook Park, etc.).

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Masha Vlasova is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Art and a BFA from the Cooper Union.  She’s a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship in Filmmaking, Alice Kimball Fellowship, and the JUNCTURE Art and Human Rights Fellowship at Yale Law School. Her photographs, sculptures, and films have been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally at Leeds College of Art and at Braziers Mini Indi Film Festival in the UK, Aspekte Galerie in Germany, Smack Mellon, Anthology Archives, Abrons Arts Center, and the Border Project Gallery in New York City, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University among others. She has presented on her work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Cooper Union, Davison College, and Ludwig-Maximilians Unversitat Munchen (University of Munich). Her curatorial project “Women Filmmakers at the Intersection of Documentary, Video Art, and Avant Garde,” premiered at Indiana University Cinema at Indiana University at Bloomington the Fall of 2018. This Fall she will start as an Assistant Professor of Lens-based and Digital Art practices at Wofford College.

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Lauren M. Pacheco is an arts and culture practitioner with more than 15 years of professional experience in arts administration, curation and project management. Her experience is grounded in social practice and public engagement. Lauren has become a resource to policymakers and has helped engage in the public dialogue about issues that impact artists and creative enterprises while working hard to bringing the arts to a broader audience and bridge cultural sector programming. Pacheco is co-founder of the Chicago Urban Art Society and the Chicago Lowrider Festival. In 2011, she developed and curated the award-winning public art initiative, Art in Public Places along the 16th street viaduct in Chicago’s Pilsen community. In September 2017, Lauren won a public art grant from the Knight Foundation and will transform outdoor vacant space in Gary, Indiana into a walkable, art-park. She has received grant funding from the Knight Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Legacy Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and the National Association for Latinos Arts and Cultures. Lauren holds degrees from Northwestern University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently lives in Gary, Indiana with her husband and their two pit-bulls.

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Richard McCoy is the founding director of the Landmark Columbus Foundation, a non-profit organization that cares for the design heritage  of Columbus, Indiana and inspires communities to invest in architecture, art, and design to improve people’s lives and make cities better places to live. Landmark Columbus Foundation is best known for its program Exhibit Columbus which alternates between symposium and exhibition years. McCoy is an experienced cultural leader who creates unique solutions to complex cultural heritage challenges, curates projects in public spaces, and has worked for major U.S. museums while teaching in universities. He has served on and volunteered for boards and committees of numerous cultural organizations. A former Fulbright Scholar to Spain, McCoy holds a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree from Indiana University. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and family.