Art in public: The City of Aurora hosts a free workshop today on how to break into the field

Being an artist isn't easy -- particularly in these United States, it's indicative of how we view our artists that the starving one is a far more common portrayal than the successful one. That's something Deanna Miller, who runs the City of Aurora's public art program, knows about as well as anyone -- and insofar as she's able, it's something she wants to change.

This afternoon, from noon to 1:30 p.m., Miller will host a free workshop teaching aspiring artists how to get into her field. And she's the one who'd know how.

"What I try to do each year is to host a workshop or class for artists who want to get into public art, because it's a hard field to break into," says Miller. And certainly, it's a field that can be complicated for the uninitiated, requiring such not-so-artistic pursuits as writing proposals and "leveraging resources."

But it can also be a lucrative field; Miller notes that the City of Aurora, for instance, devotes one percent of its construction budget to public art, which is no small sum.

Tomorrow's presentation mostly revolves around a panel discussion presented by the Public Art Network, a national organization devoted to professional public artists, which will tackle the difference between working as a studio or gallery artists and working as a public artist, and how to resolve the challenges the latter presents. Miller will stream that panel -- which is available only to members via PAN -- for whoever wants to watch it. Afterward, Miller herself will take questions from members of the audience about what, specifically, Aurora is looking for in public art and how to get involved.

"I feel as if it's my responsibility as a public art administrator to help artists become better business people," says Miller. With today's seminar, she aims to do just that.

The Public Art Academy for Artists (who may or may not make artistic art artistically) panel starts at noon at Aurora Fire Station 1, at 9801 East 16th Avenue between Dayton and Del Mar, in the community room. The seminar is free and open to the public.

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