Matthew Lennon

Matthew Lennon

Matthew Lennon

Houston, TX

Presenting as part of the session: City Dep(ART)ment - Friday, November 5 at 3:30 pm

Matthew Lennon is the founder and has been the curator and director of HorseHead Projects since 1987.   HorseHead is a vehicle for emerging and midcareer artists; a platform for temporary art installations and public realm practices; and a program that grew to be international in scope.  HorseHead has facilitated projects in Seattle and Ireland, and exhibited artists from Japan, Trinidad, Mexico, Taiwan, Ireland as well as the US.

Matthew was a Seattle Arts Commissioner from 1997- 1999.  

He comes to Houston after serving as Public Art Curator for the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK- 2004- 08.  

Matthew has been a practicing visual artist, writer and curator for 30 years. He has extensive experience in the re-animation of public spaces and the implementation of sustainable urban and rural cultural strategies.

Basic Philosophy

Urban, or rural, place making is about ‘density through design’.  And density is not about housing stock or the scale of the apartment complex.  It’s about the density of human activity in the public realm.

Places which discourage engagement, play, movement, contemplation, communion and creativity are anti social to begin with. The public realm is meant to be pleasurable and stimulating.  Civic design is about facilitating human and humane actions.    More than architecture or art our cultural activities define our civic spaces.  The goal is to design places people use.


Description of Matthew Lennon's talk (short):

Civic Design Programming: a work in progress.  

A city’s Civic Art Team (CAT) needs to develop a comprehensive Civic Design Program (CDP) and be viewed as an essential member of the planning and economic development of the city/region; collaborating with various design teams; and engaged on a long-term, full-time basis with neighborhood development schemes.  This is not about consultation but accepting culture as a fully functioning partner employed to design, build and reanimate our cities as a creative capitals.   

Civic design is not about responding to the built environment or placing objects in public spaces.  It is about including artists and their unique approaches in the shaping of the public realm; creating places that support community activities; making places that reveal our memory, imagination and aspirations.  The primary drive of the CDP is to activate an urban design that reaches beyond economic and architectural considerations (function), and presents a cohesive means of facilitating distinction, innovation and pleasure throughout the city.

Read the full description of Matthew Lennon's talk

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