Downtown STL Public Art Initiative and InSITE 2020

Due to COVID-19, the installation and opening of InSITE 2020 is postponed.

We will share more information as soon as we are able to set a new schedule.


The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative is leading the charge to bring more public art to Downtown.

The Initiative represents the action phase of the Downtown STL Public Art Plan, which was developed through a yearlong process that engaged Downtown residents, workers, visitors, organizations, elected officials, developers, and businesses to present a shared vision and practical strategies for how public art can serve as a critical tool in Downtown’s ongoing transformation and resurgence.

InSITE 2020 Artists

Ellie Balk

Photo of the artist Ellie BalkBalk is a public artist whose work centers on mathematics and data visualization. What’s Your Number, is a vinyl mural-like installation that will visualize data about the quantity of time that survey respondents spend on their mobile devices. The proposed location of What’s Your Number is a Downtown skyway, and the installation will be visible from the street below, offering an engaging experience for people inside the skyway, on the street and in the surrounding businesses and residences.

To participate in Balk’s survey, click http://elliebalk.com/whatsyournumber/. The data will be used in her upcoming public art installation.

Jenny Murphy

Photo of the artist Jenny Murphy in front of a concrete brick wallMurphy is a social entrepreneur with a broad artistic practice that encompasses community arts, interactive installations, sculpture, and design. Through a combination of installation, design, performance, and audience participation, The Department Co. will explore new and alternative possibilities for commerce and community in Downtown St. Louis. Murphy’s project will transform storefront windows into illustrative murals that will serve as the backdrop for pop-up events designed to engage pedestrians to create functional items from reclaimed materials. Through these interactions and further digital engagement, Murphy’s piece aims to shed light on a future in which community members play an active role in defining and creating culture in St. Louis.

Timothy Portlock

Photo of the artist Timothy PortlockPortlock’s work combines special-effects software and the visual conventions of 19th-century American painting to creatively interact with contemporary cityscapes. Beginning in October 2020, Portlock will project a series of multi-story scaled animations on buildings in Downtown St. Louis. The subject matter for each animation will be the obscured history of each building, carefully researched through local archives to share the building’s significance to the city. The projections will be scaled and created to highlight the specific architecture of the surface.

Jacob Stanley

Photo of the artist Jacob Stanley in a cap and scarfStanley, a sculptor, focuses on temporary site-responsive installations that explore the dynamics between collapse and construction, tension and balance, and refinement and rawness. Ribbons of Light is a site-specific sculpture made of LEDs that cascade down a building. The multicolored light sculpture will merge and juxtapose with the surrounding urban fabric and utilize the specific architectural details of the site to reward viewers in multiple vantage points. The long lines of light will be reminiscent of jellyfish tentacles, and Stanley hopes that by breaking with the rigid grid of the city, Ribbons of Light will spark a sense of curiosity in those who view the work.

Van Dyck Murphy Studio

Black-and-white portrait of the artists Kelley and Jonathan MurphyKelley Van Dyck and Jonathan Murphy engage in built and speculative projects that explore ideas of focused contextuality, materially driven form, and projected space. Sine Screen is a digitally designed and fabricated exploration of architectural ornament in the form of a 3D printed masonry screen wall. The project will explore the role of emerging digital technologies with an understanding of the methods humans have been constructing buildings for millennia. Created in sustainable, locally sourced clay, the sculpted form of the units and aggregated system produce patterns of light and shadow, textural fields, and novel optical effects around the sculpture.

The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative exists to make ideas a reality and to implement the vision of the Downtown STL Public Art Plan that public art will support building a dense, inclusive, and culturally vibrant downtown that is a vital anchor to the region.

The Initiative does this by:

  • Developing and leading new public art projects
  • Partnering with other downtown stakeholders to launch and manage projects
  • Acting as a resource for developers, property owners, arts, and community organizations and artists wishing to initiate their own public art projects

Downtown STL Public Art Plan Executive Summary (PDF)

Downtown STL Public Art Plan Full (PDF)


InSITE 2020

As part of its efforts, the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative announces InSITE 2020.

InSITE 2020 invites artists to share and develop ideas for site-specific, temporary public artworks that they would like to create in the Downtown St. Louis core that impact how we see Downtown — from the actual physical character, to different views and sightlines, to our views or perceptions of what this area is and can be — encouraging exploration, curiosity, and a new way of seeing.