I had a chance to meet Janet Echelman this past weekend. Based in Brookline, Massachusetts, Echelman is an internationally renowned public artist known for her building-scale-sized outdoor net sculptures—ephemeral, delicate, floating works of colorful fishnet that dance and shiver with prevailing winds. Her works offer both a sense of physical shelter and a new visual focus in the sky in urban landscape settings.
One of the first things I noticed about Janet is how seriously she takes listening. She’s unaffected and good-natured, asks good questions, and finds ways to connect with people. When it comes to community engagement, these are the best sorts of qualities to find in a public artist who understands the iterative process of using art to solve problems—what she describes as a “team sport.”
Here’s Janet giving a TED talk in 2011 entitled “Taking Imagination Seriously.”