Public Art Program: The Role of Public Art in Enhancing the Environment, Increasing Pride and Promoting Econmic Development
Originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but now happily rooted in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Ben Owen has more than a decade of experience in public art management for statewide public art agencies in the United States. In his current role at the Minnesota State Arts Board, he manages the Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places program, which acquires works of art for communities throughout Minnesota using up to one percent of state-funded capital construction or renovation project budgets. Prior to making the move to Minnesota, he was based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was a project coordinator for the Art in Public Places program at New Mexico Arts, a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the state arts agency for the State of New Mexico. Notable public art acquisitions that he has facilitated throughout his career as a public art administrator and independent consultant include the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University in Ames, IA; the newly-developed Riverfront Plaza at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN; the Bioscience and Health Careers Center at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, MN; Wade Municipal Stadium in Duluth, MN; WisePies Arena at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM; the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre in New Mexico State University’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces, NM; and Spaceport America in Upham, NM. Owen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the University of Memphis and an Associate of Science in fine art from Chattanooga State Community College. He is a professional member of Americans for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, sits on the steering committee for the Public Art Scrambler, an initiative of Forecast Public Art, and is on the management team of Merriam Station Community Garden.