The curator overseeing an $8 million Atlantic City public art initiative said the group plans to break ground on the first installation next week.
Lance Fung, of New York-based Fung Collaboratives, spoke with members of the community about the projects at a casual Dante Hall event Thursday night. Fung was the curator of the “Snow Show” at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy and he plans to transform empty Atlantic City lots into public art spaces.
Fung said that it will be the Gurwicz property, between Belmont and California avenues, that should break ground next week.
Artist John Roloff, of Oakland, Calif., will lead the Gurwicz project.
“He’s created a really beautiful installation,” Fung said. “He’s taking that small piece of land, and it’s an installation that incorporates the ground, and also a vertical element that will block the view of that parking lot from the Boardwalk. It encloses you in a space rather than dissipates your energy. It also, by removing the railing there, will widen the Boardwalk so it sort of gives you a sense of meandering. By the time we get to the Sands lot it really pulls you off of the Boardwalk. We’re hoping it will give you a new Boardwalk experience, rather than having that freeway, linear experience from point A to point B, you will have a sense of respite and discovery.”
He said that the image associated with the project will be a monochromatic, black, white, and grey optical illusion. Landscaping, benches, and free Wi-Fi will be added to the area, which Fung hopes will encourage people to hang out in the area.
“After we have it built, we’re hoping to have performance series and impromptu concerts,” he said. “We’re hoping people take ownership over it, it is a public space, so if you want to go there and read your poetry, go for it.”
Fung said that that space will be opened in November.
He said that the point of Thursday’s mixer was to bring the local art community together and demystify the art world.
Cheyenne Smith, of Atlantic City, came to the mixer because she plans to give her time to the project. She grew up in Pleasantville and is an artist.
Second Ward Councilman Marty Small attended the mixer to show his support for the project.
“It’ll definitely be aesthetically pleasing with some of the things they are bringing to the table,” he said. “I’m happy that the city as a whole is embracing the arts.”
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