Downtown STL Public Art Initiative Announces InSITE 2020 Winners

November 7, 2019

Categories Press Releases

Five projects have been selected to bring interactive art to Downtown St. Louis in 2020

ST. LOUIS (November 6, 2019) — The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative, a partnership between the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC), Explore St. Louis, and Downtown STL, Inc., announced today the winners of InSITE 2020, a temporary public art exhibition to enhance Downtown St. Louis. The artists selected to showcase their work are

  • Ellie Balk
  • Jenny Murphy
  • Timothy Portlock
  • Jacob Stanley
  • Kelley Van Dyck Murphy and Jonathan Murphy of Van Dyck Murphy Art Studio

InSITE 2020 was developed by the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative to welcome visitors to St. Louis, encourage exploration of its streets and public spaces, and highlight Downtown as a place for creativity and possibility. Artwork will be on display starting in spring 2020.

The five selected projects have been awarded funding from $12,000 to $30,000. Approved projects span a variety of visual displays and sensory experiences, including murals in public spaces, pop-up community engagements, and sculptures that explore light, movement, and space in well-trafficked areas of Downtown.

“Over the past several months, artists have developed and showcased innovative project ideas that will bring more life, energy, and color to Downtown St. Louis,” said Felicia Shaw, executive director of RAC. “We can make St. Louis a more inviting place through engaging artistic displays that improve walkability and create a more culturally vibrant Downtown.”

More details about the artist and their proposals are as follows:

InSITE 2020 Artists

Ellie Balk

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.





Jenny Murphy

Murphy 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

Tim 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

Jacob StanleyStanley, 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

Kelley Van Dyck Murphy and Jonathan Murphy engage inbuilt 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 3-D 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 Advisory Committee, a group of art and design professionals, was responsible for selecting the winners. The committee judged the projects on a variety of criteria, including quality, innovation, creativity, and feasibility, as well as the project’s ability to create a measurable impact on Downtown St. Louis by encouraging exploration and curiosity.

For more information on InSITE 2020 and the winners, visit

About the Regional Arts Commission
The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community by elevating the vitality, value, and visibility of the arts. It is the largest annual funder of the arts in the region, and since its inception in 1985, RAC has awarded more than 7,000 grants, totaling more than $100 million to support nonprofit arts, individual artists, cultural organizations, and programs. Directed by a board of 15 commissioners appointed by the chief executives of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, RAC is a pivotal force in the continuing development and marketing of the arts in the region. Visit for more information, or follow us on Facebook at Regional Arts Commission or Twitter @RACStLouis.
About Explore St. Louis
Explore St. Louis is the driving force behind St. Louis’ $5.8 billion convention and tourism industry, the official destination marketing organization of St. Louis City and County, and operator of the America’s Center Convention Complex.
About Downtown STL, Inc.
Downtown STL, Inc. is the catalyst for creating and promoting a Downtown that attracts investment, economic activity, and vibrancy at the hub of the St. Louis region. For more information, visit

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.


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As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.


Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.


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