Public Art Training Camp 2022

Six sessions addressing the needs of Pittsburgh-based artists.

Public Art Training Camp 2022 is an online training series for artists and arts administrators at any stage of their career.

For this season of Public Art Training Camp, OPA has brought together a roster of local and national speakers who will be presenting on topics that directly respond to the answers collected from artists in the Pittsburgh Public Art Counts! survey, conducted earlier this year by OPA in collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh’s Public Art and Civic Design division.

Sessions will be held virtually via Zoom. Each session will begin at 4:00 p.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.

Register now


Thursday, October 6, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

The Future of Public Art in Pittsburgh
Dominique Chestand, Sallyann Kluz, and Sarah Minnaert (Pittsburgh, PA)

Public Art Training Camp opens with presentations and a moderated discussion between Office for Public Art’s executive director Sallyann Kluz; Assistant Director, Public History, Art & Design division at the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning Sarah Minnaert; and art consultant, Dominique Chestand.

Chestand, Kluz, and Minnaert will discuss the recent collaborative survey Pittsburgh Public Art Counts!, public art processes in Pittsburgh, and each organization’s plans for the future.

Participants are encouraged to bring their public art questions to this session.

About Dominique Chestand

Dominique Chestand is a multimedia artist and arts administrator from Chicago. With a background in multiple creative fields, Dominique aims to support artists, their artistic visions, and their communities. As an arts administrator and consultant, Chestand has worked with organizations such as the Danish Arts Council, Young Chicago Authors, the Los Angeles Dance Project, the Chicago Park District, the Silver Eye Center for Photography, the Office for Public Art – Pittsburgh, and more.

About Sallyann Kluz

Sallyann Kluz is a Pittsburgh-based arts administrator, architect, and urban designer whose practice is situated at the intersection of art and community development. With over 20 years of practice in the Pittsburgh region, her work is focused on the public realm and the people who inhabit it. Her practice includes public art programs and strategies, community engagement, design education, public space design, and neighborhood development strategies. Kluz is the Director of the Office of Public Art. In her role, she is focused on providing technical assistance to artists and clients, and expanding the role of artists in community development, civic design, and community engagement.

About Sarah Minnaert

After serving more than 20 years in a number of visual art museum roles, Sarah became the Public Art & Civic Design Manager for the City of Pittsburgh in April 2020. Sarah brings creative and dedicated nonprofit executive and arts administrator experience with a proven ability to manage complex systems and organizations. She is a strategic thinker with an eye on the sustainable future and a deep understanding of how resources, especially human, can be developed and maximized to achieve mission. A collaborative leader and team builder with strong communication skills and significant administrative, financial and operational expertise, Sarah believes that data can be a powerful platform, and is driven to nurture future generations of art advocates. Sarah is excited to have made the transition to her first public service position, and is looking forward to playing a new a role in championing the public value of art.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Site-Specific Commissions and Community Engagement
Nina Marren (New York, NY)

Community engagement, as part of the public art process, is an important topic that local artists would like to learn more about. For this session Nina Marren, Senior Program Manager of the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, will present on how the Department of Transportation works with the community. Her project examples will show how sites are selected for public art commissions and the methods artists employ to authentically engage the community.

Participants are encouraged to bring questions to this session. 

About Nina Marren

As Senior Program Manager of the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, Nina Marren oversees implementation of public art and event-based arts and cultural programming on NYC DOT property citywide. Since joining NYC DOT in 2015, Nina’s knowledge of Visual/Studio Arts and Art History have contributed to the successful execution of varied projects throughout New York City. Nina’s commitment to public programs is fueled by her dedication to the City as a native New Yorker.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Making the Jump: Shifting Artistic Ideas
Kipp Kobayashi (Los Angeles, CA) & Clayton Merrell (Pittsburgh, PA)

Make the Jump: Shifting Artistic Ideas, features presentations by artists Kipp Kobayashi and Clayton Merrell followed by discussion with the audience. Kobayashi’s and Merrell’s session will focus on needs, expressed by local artists, to learn how to make the leap from a solo studio practice to working on public art projects that involve navigating different environments, working with different materials, collaborating with design teams, and relying on installers.

Participants are encouraged to bring questions related to this topic to the session.

About Kipp Kobayashi

Kipp Kobayashi is an artist interested in the traces of human activity and how they transform the structures and systems of our physical world into living entities of our collective thoughts, action and experiences. His work stems from his background growing up as an Asian American which has led to a lifelong interest in deconstructing our preconceived notions of who we are and what we are; breaking them down into the most basic elements of human and natural factors to better understand the unique sets of combinations and patterns that define a more nuanced interpretation of identity and cultural belonging.

About Clayton Merrell

Clayton Merrell is a Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He earned an MFA in painting from Yale, and has received awards/grants from the Fulbright Foundation, ProArts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Skowhegan, Millay Colony, Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center, Artists Image Resource and Roswell Artist-In-Residence Foundation. He was 2005 Artist of the Year at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. His work is collected and exhibited widely, including exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution; Concept Gallery, Pittsburgh; A+D Gallery, Chicago; the Westmoreland Museum; the American Embassy in Belize; and Chautauqua. In 2015 the Pittsburgh International Airport installed a 69,000 square foot terrazzo floor based on his design.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Public Art Opportunities and Applications
Shelly Willis (Sacramento, CA)

Applications for public art commissions and opportunities can be daunting. A large majority of artists who responded to the Pittsburgh Public Art Counts! survey indicated that they have never applied for a public art project because the process was confusing, they didn’t know how to prepare required documents, or because they felt as if they didn’t have the necessary experience to be a strong enough candidate.

This fourth session of Public Art Training Camp will include a presentation by public art consultant Shelly Willis that will provide information to help artists prepare applications, self-select before applying to an opportunity, and demonstrate how an artist’s practice and skills make them eligible for a public art opportunity with no prior public art experience. This session will conclude with discussion.

About Shelly Willis

Shelly Willis has more than three decades of experience planning, curating, and managing the production of hundreds of temporary and permanent artworks throughout the country.  

As the Director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission’s Public Art Program from 2007-2017 she managed the City and County of Sacramento’s Art in Public Places Programs, including the $8 million dollar Sacramento International Airport and the $9.5 million Entertainment and Sports Complex public art programs. Willis came to Sacramento after six years of managing the University of Minnesota’s public art program where she also taught public art courses in the Departments of Urban Studies and Landscape Architecture.  

In 2012, Willis curated “Finding Time,” a temporary public program involving 50 artists and 10 major works of public art in Columbus, Ohio. The innovative project “Broadway Augmented” employed cutting edge technology in 2014 to create 11 virtual public works in one of Sacramento’s most eclectic transitional neighborhoods.  

 Among other writings, her essay on the state of public art education in the United States was included in the book Public Art by the Book, edited by Barbara Goldstein and published by Americans for the Arts.  Willis was the co-editor with Cameron Cartiere of the book, Public Art Practice, published by Routledge New York. 

 She is the recipient of two City Manager Commendation awards for recognition of service. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Arts Executive of the Year Award from the Sacramento Arts and Business Council, and in 2016 she received the Muriel Johnson Award for Arts Advocacy.  Six of the projects she has managed and/or curated received the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year-in-Review award and two were awarded Our Town grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

As a private consultant since 2017 her clients have included, among others, the Cities of Sparks, Nevada, West Sacramento, San Leandro, Palo Alto, Elk Grove; the Port of Oakland and the County of Sacramento; artist’s Mildred Howard, Lava Thomas, and Janet Zweig; The McConnell Foundation, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the Rail Arts District in Napa; and Napa Redevelopment Partners, Fulcrum Properties, and Riverview Capital Investments.

Last year she curated and managed 18 temporary projects throughout the State of California, as part of the State’s “Your Actions Save Lives” campaign which was designed to keep Californian’s healthy during the pandemic. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Artist Self-Organizing
Nataša Prljevic & Farideh Sakhaeifar (Brooklyn NY)

A common question from respondents to the Pittsburgh Public Art Counts! survey was how can artists self-initiate projects? A thoughtful and fair question, self-organization can be a way to help artists create opportunities for themselves and others, develop a wider network, and reconsider what it means to work in the public realm. Brooklyn-based artists Nataša Prljević and Farideh Sakhaeifar will be leading this session and sharing their experiences as individual artists and as members of HEKLER, an artist-run platform and transnational collective that focuses on critical and experimental examinations of hospitality and conflict.

Please note that this session will be held on a Monday.

About Nataša Prljevic

NATAŠA PRLJEVIĆ is an artist and cultural worker from Užice, Serbia based in Brooklyn, NY. Rooted in collage and assemblage practice, Prljević is committed to collaboration and collective work which center poetics and politics of conflict, diasporic intimacy, and art as a tool for rehearsal of transnational solidarity and imagination. In the past ten years Prljević worked and studied with art and cultural workers, educators, healers, activists, collectives, and organizations from all over the world. Prljević is one of the initiators of HEKLER, an artist-run platform and transnational collective that focuses on critical and experimental examination of hospitality and conflict.

About Farideh Sakhaeifar

Farideh Sakhaeifar is a multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Sakhaeifar’s work investigates the politics of conflict, collective history, and personal accounts. Since 2018 she has been working collaboratively as a member of HEKLER, an artist-run collaborative platform that fosters the critical examination of hospitality and conflict. She received her MFA from Cornell University (2011) and her BFA from Azad Art and Architecture University in Iran (2008).


HEKLER is an artist-run platform and transnational community of artists, cultural workers and activists that foster critical and experimental examination of hospitality and conflict. We merge artistic, pedagogical, publishing and organizing strategies centering liberatory potential of collaborative and collective work. We celebrate collective rehearsal which weaves together transnational positionalities and radical imagination towards international solidarity and life-affirming future. Learn more at

Thursday, November 10, 2022

4:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Living and Working as an Independent Artist
Mikael Owunna (Pittsburgh, PA) & Aram Han Sifuentes (Chicago, IL)

A goal for many artists, according to the Pittsburgh Public Art Counts! survey is to live and work as independent artists. For this last session of Public Art Training Camp multimedia artist, filmmaker, and engineer Mikael Owunna and fiber and social practice artist Aram Han Sifuentes will present on how they have developed sustainable and independent art practices. Their presentations will touch upon how they transitioned to becoming independent artists and their strategies for doing so. Following their presentations will be discussion with the audience. Participants are encouraged to bring questions. 

About Mikael Owunna

Mikael Owunna is a Nigerian American multi-media artist, filmmaker, and engineer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Exploring the intersections of visual media with engineering, optics, Blackness, and African cosmologies, his work seeks to elucidate an emancipatory vision of possibility that pushes people beyond all boundaries, restrictions, and frontiers.

Owunna’s work has also been featured in media ranging from the New York Times to CNN, NPR, VICE, and The Guardian. He has been commissioned for major public art installations by organizations including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Foundation, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Orange Barrel Media.

About Aram Han Sifuentes

Aram Han Sifuentes is a fiber and social practice artist who creates participatory projects that center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis), moCa Cleveland (Cleveland), and Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles). Aram has received numerous awards including 3Arts Award, 3Arts Next Level Award, Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Map Fund, and Joyce Award. She is currently a professor, adjunct, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


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Six-session Series

$12, $15, or $20

Individual Session Registration

A limited number of scholarships are available for Public Art Training Camp. Please contact Rachel Klipa, Program Manager at to request more information.

Public Art Training Camp 2022 is proudly sponsored by

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