Public Art – Concept Proposals

The following select concepts were created and submitted as part of an RFP process or as a Finalist Proposal. They were not accepted or realized.


The Windows

2020

Site-specific Public Art Proposal for Homewood Inn, Indianapolis, IN

The idea of a window is simple, yet fascinating. It represents an opportunity to discover something new or to see something old in a different light. A window is a hopeful symbol for discovery and potential. And like history, it is two-directional. We must understand and honor our history to best actualize the opportunities that lie ahead of us in the future. I selected the window for this project as the metaphor and the visual bridge for its rich meanings and for its visual potential. 

The silhouettes of women presented in the windows showcase the iconic element of the Sunday best – the elegant, personalized and expertly crafted hats worn by women. The three women, each in their own window, represent different time periods and styles of dress to suggest the long and varied legacy of the women of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church.  At the very top we see Madam C. J. Walker, known as a hair care and beauty products entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist. She was a notable member and benefactor of the early Bethel AME Church. Her profile is rendered based on this 1911 photograph of her with her friends.

Stained glass windows in churches inform and educate the congregation. They illustrate biblical stories and convey spiritual truths. By placing women wearing their Sunday best hats in the windows underscores their stature in the community as educators, community leaders and benefactors. The window, a simple devise, makes a profound statement and allows us to honor the traditions and commitments of generations of Bethel AME women with the wider, contemporary audience.


Geum Triflorum ­(Prairie Smoke)

2020

Site-specific Public Art Proposal for Sunflower Medical Office Building, Roeland Park, KS

This proposal celebrates health, healing and natural beauty with the enigmatic Prairie Smoke, a wild prairie flower, which features a unique blossom with a lingering billowy burst.  Ailments from cough, fever and sore throat have been treated with this medicinal plant.

Three separate, free standing sculptures present the stems in double-paneled laser cut shapes. Daylight highlights the stylized floral designs rendered in contrasting metals, aluminum and Corten steel. At night customized lighting within the sculptures will present a different, dramatic view.

Pedestrians will interact with the sculptures, integrated into the landscape flora, also visible from the nearby streets.


The Gliding Garden

2019

Site-specific Public Art Proposal for 2019 Art in the Loop, Kansas City, MO

Inspired by Kansas City, “the City of Fountains” and its many beautiful parkways, this project presents a mobile water garden gliding through downtown. The flowing waves, lush foliage and bright flowers attract viewers with their bold and colorful presence and engage imagination with whimsical enchantment. My abstracted, whimsical approach to visualizing the three key elements is reminiscent of children’s book illustrations, which engage the imagination and invite daydreaming through enchantment. Viewers are invited to this visual oasis to draw their individual interpretations of an urban garden.


The Big Sky

 2016

Finalist Proposal for the Charlotte Street Substation, Kansas City Power & Light

This proposal embraces the site as a place to celebrate light and power. The barrier walls are envisioned as an enormous canvas to create a bridge between the structure and its celestial backdrop to honor the big Midwestern sky. The project recognizes our dependence on electrical power while also celebrates our awe of nature. The sculptural elements reference lightning and the mounted outdoor light units are digitally programmed to emulate the stars and other lights in the sky. The project presents distinctly different identities during the day and at night.


The Aquatic Camouflage

2006

Site-specific Public Art Commission, Kansas City, MO
(funded and accepted, not realized due to venue becoming unavailable)

The concept for this installation was derived from a wooden puzzle of sea life. Flowing across large windows in urban office spaces the projects is at once voyeuristic and inviting. The playful and flowing design across the office windows attempts to draw attention to the caged sense of employees in cubicles while the pedestrians stare in. The design becomes reminiscent of camouflage patterns used in military combat uniforms creating an uneasy juxtaposition of childhood innocence and warfare.

All works © Kati Toivanen