As an artist, coming into a community, school or organization for the first time for a project, you can feel like a stranger in a new environment. How do you acclimate to new surroundings? This panel will delve into the experiences of both a collaborative artist and an organization doing a public art project together for the first time. They'll talk about how the project and process evolved, insights that both gained along the way, and what artists can do to help make these first time partnerships a success - for both the artist and the project partner.

In this session you will:

  • Learn innovative methods for creating art collaboratively.

  • Learn how to organize an inclusive community art project.

  • Learn insightful ways in working with a first-time collaborative partner.

Presented by:


Joe LaMantia
Community Artist
Bloomington, Indiana

instagram / website

Joe is a community artist who is both a facilitator and a collaborator. Throughout the Midwest for the past 25 years he has worked with schools (preschool-college) and community organizations to create art that has celebrated community. The completed 3-dimensional school projects have had a varied focus, some center on school tradition, local history, identity, or are created as a teaching tool. With organizations the focus has also been varied, from homelessness to democracy.

Rev. Forrest Gilmore

Rev. Forrest Gilmore
Executive Director
Shalom Community Center
Bloomington, Indiana

facebook / website

Rev. Forrest Gilmore is the Executive Director of the Shalom Center, a resource center in Bloomington, IN for people experiencing extreme poverty. He is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a graduate of Cornell University and Starr King School for the Ministry.


Miah Michaelsen
Deputy Director
Indiana Arts Commission
Bloomington, Indiana

Miah is the Deputy Director of the Indiana Arts Commission where she oversees day-to-day operations, strategic planning, capacity building and outcomes assessment work. Previously, Michaelsen served as the Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts for the City of Bloomington. She has taught arts marketing as an arts administration adjunct faculty member at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and has served as an independent consultant to Indiana communities seeking direction on cultural and community planning.