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Carly Schmitt

I am an internationally experienced Public Artist and head of Artist@Large, a small art business under which I execute large-scale public art projects and curate various community based initiatives. Originally from Minnesota, I graduated from Macalester College in 2003 with a double major in Studio Art and Communication Studies. In 2005 I established Artist@Large and began developing a diverse portfolio of public and private commissions. In 2008 I came to Europe as a Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow and worked with the Bauhaus University in Weimar researching German public art systems. I then went on to receive an M.F.A. in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies.

My areas of interest in the RESHAPE Project are how can art better support practicing citizenship? and how to encourage the value of art in that context? I label myself a community artist, which is an emerging filed in Germany. I focus on creating work that strives to unite, strengthen, and actively involve people in their role as a neighbor or community member. Curators have directly told me how hard it is to find other artist working in this way, because it challenges the cultural belief that art should play a controversial, challenging and dissonant role within German society. None the less, I have integrated my artistic practice with government projects that are eager to involve citizen, but realise that community meetings are no longer effective. This opens them up to trying new things. More specifically, I have worked with the City of Landshut’s Department of Culture and the International City of Ulm to help them develop new mission statements. In both contexts I created a participatory art project that engaged citizens in a hands-on-way, but more importantly, also initiated a meaningful conversation that fed directly into the mission-statement-drafting-process. I believe art should be comprehensible, encourage creative thinking, and act as a vehicle for social change.

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