I cherish the opportunity to activate public spaces with art in order to engage viewers and to enrich the visitor experiences. My process involves analyzing the site, its function and users, and the various elements relating to it. My works remain in a dialogue with the specific space while also reflecting my artistic voice, which is both playful and serious, and often rooted in photography. Visual beauty is important to me, and I aim to leave aspects of the work mysterious to allow for viewers to make their own discoveries. Whenever possible, I seek possibilities for visitor interaction with my art. I hope to disrupt everyday routines by providing moments of surprise and by inviting conversation. Placement, abstraction and suggestion are the most important considerations as I create art for public spaces.

The project is installed at the new Kansas City International Airport. Its playful imagery and title are inspired by the popular children’s books, which present thematic visual riddles and invite viewers to find and identify related objects in a photograph, much like a security officer is expected to survey carry-on luggage flowing through the x-ray machine.

This public art installation displaying a playful arrangement of puzzle pieces scattered across the courtyard was designed for the block party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Charlotte Street Foundation. This installation continues my exploration of play and games and references my 2001 Charlotte Street Award Exhibition, which featured a puzzle made of doll hair.

Large flower planters with bright floral image applications interact with the busy urban and commercial surroundings. As seasons change, these displays continue to bloom and provide visual stimuli throughout the year, in the absence of blooming plants and even in winter snow.

Visible from the windows of the City Hall of Kansas City, this installation provided visitors an opportunity to reflect on the role of parks in childhood. I created a larger-than-life rendition of the hopscotch grid filled with photographic imagery, which I merged into the sidewalk surface to invite audience interaction and engagement.

Inspired by the local shops and the active pedestrian environment, I created site-specific photographic collages for the public waste receptacles. I incorporated imagery from the surroundings to highlight the nearby vendors.

Petticoat, a garment, typically worn under dresses, is often designed to be visible, or at least partially or occasionally seen. An undergarment in public view, a petticoat acts as a beautiful symbol for the complex negotiation and merging of the private as well as public presentation of the self.

The sensuous imagery of this project softened the hard and primarily cast-concrete materials of the park environment. The photographic source imagery of mostly artificial representation of live subjects (flowers, berries, leaves) created the illusion of a vibrant flowerbed on the park wall.

For the City Center Square window installation I drew inspiration from postage stamps and their function to commemorate people, places, and events. Featuring toys, ordinary household objects, and routine domestic scenes, the imagery celebrated the private everyday life in a public setting.

This interactive sculpture was derived from two games; tic-tac-toe and the wood block puzzle. Nine triangles mounted on posts functioned as a puzzle. Three discrete images could be formed, and the public was invited to rotate the modules to explore unlimited visual permutations. One set of panels represented the architectural wall behind the unit allowing the sculpture to camouflage itself into the surroundings.

The following concepts were created and submitted as part of an RFP process or as a Finalist Proposal.

All images © Kati Toivanen

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