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Currently a master plan is being developed for the environmentally sensitive Benicia, California waterfront that will integrate the historical downtown area with the adjacent marshlands and park. Through an 18-month residency with Arts Benicia, artist Mark Brest van Kempen will work to integrate public art and public dialogue into this process of waterfront development.

The collaborators will create three six-month-long temporary site-specific installations that will explore different aspects of the site—such as its history, ecology, and hydrology. Each installation will trigger a set of public events—discussions, design charettes, seminars, and performances—to explore some of the ideas raised by the installations. Together Arts Benicia and the lead artist will work to incorporate the results of these art events into the official planning process for the waterfront. The project’s development was traced through a blog.

Mark Brest van Kempen has created a variety of artworks using the landscape itself as sculptural material. He has received numerous commissions for permanent public art projects, and recently was invited by the German government to submit designs for a national reunification monument in Leipzig. The mission of Arts Benicia is to “stimulate, nurture, and educate the cultural life in Benicia and beyond.” It presents and promotes the work of local artists in a professional setting, provides public programs for adults and children, and has an ongoing arts education program for adults.