August 4, 2020

Meet Tanya Galin, Public Art Coordinator

As Scottsdale Public Art staff members, we always get asked one question: “So, what do you do?”

In some form, our staff works with artists to coordinate and install all of the beautiful public artworks Scottsdale has to offer. We all come from different creative backgrounds and wanted to introduce ourselves to give a behind the scenes look at the people who make up Scottsdale Public Art. This week, we are highlighting our public art coordinator, Tanya Galin. She coordinates both temporary and permanent public art projects. We asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say.

What does public art mean to you?

Public art is art for everyone. It can reach people who normally would not have access to art, and that is what I love about it. 

How did you get into the field of public art and what led you to this career?

I have worked in the art world since college. Each job I took was different, but they provided a skill that helped me transition to the next job. I have worked for an art publisher, in an artist’s studio, in art galleries, and now in public art. I started at Scottsdale Public Art as an on-call overhire in 2013. At that time, I worked as a preparator for Canal Convergence and library gallery exhibitions. I moved up to a part-time events and exhibitions assistant and then became a public art coordinator in 2018. 

The Traceries recycle bins by artist Mary Bates Neubauer are located at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Photo: Scottsdale Arts.

Tell about your favorite project you’ve worked on.

This is a hard question because they all are special to me, but one of my favorite projects was Traceries by Mary Bates Neubauer. Traceries was created through the Solid Waste Recycle Bin Project. It is my favorite project right now because it is the first project that I worked on from beginning to end. A public art project tends to be a long road, so it is best to have a great artist to work with and a passion for the art they are creating. Mary was that artist, and it was exciting to bring in her work to liven up the Arizona Canal. In addition, it felt good to be part of a project that was beautiful and functional by adding recycling bins to a location that needed it. Click here to read more about this project.

Describe your dream public art project in Scottsdale.

Right now, I am excited about virtual and augmented reality. I would love to help create an app that would have the artist talk to people about the history and significance of the artwork through their smartphone. People tend to walk by or look at public artwork and do not know anything about it. I would like to make it easier for people to access this information using this new technology. I also think it would be exciting to be a part of a virtual or augmented reality public artwork project. 

What advice would you have for people who want to work in public art?

For artists and coordinators, public art is very rewarding since you can touch so many peoples’ lives with the artwork. It takes time to go through all the steps and approvals for the project, so it is good to have diligence and patience. As a coordinator, my favorite part is working with the artists and being a part of the creativity and ingenuity that goes into producing the public art piece. This makes the time it takes to make it through the entire project worth it.  

What do you do in your free time or outside of work?

On my free time I like to travel, paint, and work on my vintage jewelry shop on Etsy.

Click here to check out her Etsy!

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