The large-scale spectacle and public art group Redmoon has announced that co-Artistic Director Jim Lasko has been named a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University. The Loeb Fellowship is annually awarded to ten individuals in the middle of promising careers shaping built and natural environments in the areas of architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and occasionally artists, which attend Harvard for a one-year residency at the Graduate School of Design (GSD).
Fellows are chosen by their ability to broaden the global dialogue about design quality, fairness, accessibility, creativity and sustainability in urban centers. Chosen from a select field of candidates from around the world, these mid-career professionals will share their experience and innovative thinking with the Harvard and GSD communities.
"I plan to use the Loeb Fellowship as an opportunity to solidify my understanding of public celebration as a form of ephemeral urban planning," Lasko said. He explained "that such events publicly manifested, reconfigure built environments by altering the way that they are experienced and perceived. This has been a passion of mine throughout my career."
Mr. Lasko shared two projects he hopes to investigate during his fellowship year: "A signature event for the City of Chicago tentatively entitled 'The Great Chicago Fire Festival' that looks to create art collaboratively with the communities of our great neighborhoods that will then gather on the Chicago River for a culminating Fire Spectacle," while the second is "a Community Arts Center for Chicago's underserved North Lawndale community that will gather world class artists to create important work focused in partnership with the residents of those neighborhoods."
Redmoon's co-Artistic Director Frank Maugeri added, "This honor is a testimony to both Jim and Redmoon's international currency. We are committed to creating transformative experiences in our urban landscape through ephemeral events that provide opportunities for public engagement, community building and recognition of the possibility of change. That mission is becoming more and more relevant and exciting."
During this period, Mr. Lasko will continue to co-lead Redmoon with Mr. Maugeri.
Jim Lasko is an artist concerned with public space. To that end, he has applied his formal training as a theater maker to create public events designed to facilitate cultural participation: spectacles, parades and site specific performances, interactive exhibits, along with traditional Theater Productions across the country and around the planet. Mr. Lasko has served as Artistic Director of Redmoon for 20 years. He was named the City of Chicago's first ever Artist in Residence, an acknowledgement of his long commitment and success in creating artistic events that promote civic well-being. In addition to his numerous projects with Redmoon, Mr. Lasko is regarded as as a principle member of the international collaborative Dream Masons, whose most notable commission was their massive spectacle to celebrate the Salamanca Arts Center in Hobart, Tasmania. As a free-lance designer, Mr. Lasko worked with French architect Odile Compagnon to design Spertus Institute's Grey Family Center, an interactive children's museum built around the creative power of language. He has been engaged to work with such diverse artists as architect Jeanne Gang, Alexander Polyanichko and Gerard McBurney at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and internationally regarded contemporary artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. He is the recipient of numerous honors and distinctions.
Founded in 1970, the Loeb Fellowship Program network now includes over 440 international professionals dedicated to improving the quality, fairness and sustainability of our nation's cities. The Fellowship is a result of the generosity and insight of John L. Loeb, a distinguished graduate of Harvard and, together with his wife Frances, a thoughtful philanthropist. John Loeb's founding vision was that these mid-career fellowships would dramatically expand the thinking of young talented professionals, and would thus extend their capacity to shape our environment in creative and sustainable ways. More information about the Loeb Fellowship, its alumni/ae and program activities can be obtained from the program's website at www.gsd.harvard.edu/loebfell.
Redmoon's mission is to transform the experience of our urban landscape through ephemeral events that disrupt everyday life and provide opportunities for public engagement, community building and recognition of the possibility of change. Founded in 1990, Redmoon transforms streets, stages, and architectural landmarks, bridging economic, cultural and generational boundaries with a unique brand of Spectacle: a public art form that is equal parts pageantry, gadgetry, puppetry, robust physical performance and visual art. Through its vibrant outdoor performances, high-profile collaborations, and youth-focused Neighborhood Arts Programming, Redmoon fosters civic well-being and community engagement, reaching an annual audience of more than 15,000 people across Chicagoland. Redmoon has garnered national and international attention for its unique productions, site-specific performances and events-which have been seen across the US from New York to Los Angeles with a 2009 appearance at the White House, and around the globe in Holland, Ireland, France, Australia and Brazil. For more information, visit www.redmoon.org.