High Museum of Art Commissions New Accessible Piazza Installation, Outside the Lines
May 5, 2021
ATLANTA, May 5, 2021 — This summer, the High Museum of Art will present an immersive maze of accessible, sensory environments by award-winning design and research practice Bryony Roberts Studio as its seventh site-specific installation on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. Titled “Outside the Lines,” the installation continues the High’s multiyear series of inclusive and inviting commissions to activate the Museum’s outdoor space and encourage community engagement. On view July 10 through Nov. 28, 2021, “Outside the Lines” emerged from conversations between Bryony Roberts Studio and self-advocates with disabilities and their allies throughout Atlanta, with the goal of creating a space that is engaging for all.
“‘Outside the Lines’ builds on our tradition of attracting visitors of all ages with participatory art experiences and providing a gathering space for all Atlantans to stimulate their sense of wonder and play,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “We look forward to welcoming audiences with wide-ranging abilities to explore this year’s unique, outdoor installation.”
“Outside the Lines” provides an environment that is accessible and playful for those with physical, developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, supporting discovery and social connection through an array of tactile environments. The installation aims to present a richer environment for everybody by offering spaces that celebrate a range of sensory experiences.
“Bryony Roberts is a designer who understands the power and immense responsibility of public space by creating community-based projects involving multiple collaborators,” said Monica Obniski, the High’s curator of decorative arts and design. “For me, her research-driven methodology gives weight to the project’s objective, while the aesthetic ambitions of interlocking geometries and colorful tactile surfaces offer a visually stunning and joyful experience for all Atlantans.”
The gently curving steel structure of “Outside the Lines” supports thousands of hanging strands, along the rise and fall of the frame, that will form both small enclosures for quiet relaxation and open environments for social interaction. Emulating a forest-like atmosphere, the tactile materials, designed in collaboration with individuals who are blind and visually impaired, invite safe interaction and enable dynamic navigation through touch. The variety and height of the materials provide a spectrum of exploration within reach of all people, including those who use wheelchairs and mobility devices, and produce a range of intensity and stimulation, offering choice for people with sensory sensitivities.
Community engagement is a central part of the design process at Bryony Roberts Studio, with extensive conversations and interviews with local residents informing both the design and programming of a project. For this project at the High, Bryony worked alongside self-advocates with disabilities and their allies to collaboratively imagine a space that would be both inviting and playful. Representatives from the Center for the Visually Impaired suggested ideas for tactile navigation and exploration, while parent advocates from Parent to Parent of Georgia described the benefits of interactive materials and quiet spaces for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Self-advocates helped to brainstorm spaces both for social interaction and restorative calm, while doctors from the Marcus Autism Center and Emory Brain Health offered further insights into the relationship between materials, colors, textures and experience.
This project builds on the success of the six previous Piazza commissions: “Murmuration” by New York-based architectural firm SO – IL (2020); Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki’s “Sonic Playground” (2018); Spanish designer Jaime Hayon’s “Merry Go Zoo” (2017) and “Tiovivo” (2016); and 2014–2015’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”) by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.
Greg Aikens, BEGIN Program Manager, Center for the Visually Impaired
Victoria Dugger, Artist
Lindsay Flax, Advocate
Paula E. Forney, MMSc, RPT
Dr. Madeleine Hackney, Associate Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
Eric Jacobson, Executive Director, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Dr. Cheryl Kaiman, Program Director, Marcus Autism Center
Sitara Nayak, Vice President of Programs, Parent to Parent of Georgia
Mitzi Proffitt, Director of Support Services, Parent to Parent of Georgia
About the High’s Piazza Activation Initiative
The High’s Piazza activation initiative launched in 2014 to explore how engaging with art and design can extend beyond the Museum’s walls. Varied programs, art-making activities and other interactive features enliven these dynamic outdoor installations.
The High commissioned Esrawe and Cadena to design the first two installations for the project, “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), followed by Hayon’s “Tiovivo” and “Merry Go Zoo,” Suzuki’s “Sonic Playground,” and SO – IL’s “Murmuration.’’ For each of these installations, the High worked with local arts organizations and Woodruff Arts Center partners to present live performances and art-making activities themed around the structures. The Piazza projects have so far been enjoyed by a total of nearly 765,000 visitors.
The High’s Piazza activation initiative is sponsored by a grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which is part of the family of foundations that includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts and culture.
About Bryony Roberts Studio
Bryony Roberts Studio LLC is an award-winning design and research practice based in New York. Integrating methods from architecture, urban design, art and historic preservation, the practice creates interactive and inclusive environments in the public realm. The studio approaches design as a social practice, working with local community groups and creators to respond to the cultural histories and contemporary urban conditions of a place. With projects at international sites such as the Federal Plaza in Chicago, the Government Quarter in Oslo, Norway, and the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, Italy, the practice operates across a range of scales from programming to architectural interventions to urban design. Bryony Roberts Studio was awarded the 2018 Architectural League Prize and the 2020 New Practices New York award from AIA New York. The studio has received support from the Graham Foundation, the Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Academy in Rome, and exhibited in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial and Performa 17.
Exhibition Organization and Support
“Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe” is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Major funding for this exhibition is provided by Judith Alexander and Henry Alexander, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Judith Alexander Foundation, and Troutman Pepper. Generous support for the national tour of “Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe” is provided by the Art Bridges Foundation. This exhibition is made possible by Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Exhibition Series Sponsor Northside Hospital; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate, and wish foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters Anne Cox Chambers Foundation and Robin and Hilton Howell; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters The Antinori Foundation, Corporate Environments, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, and Elizabeth and Chris Willett; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Marcia and John Donnell, Helen C. Griffith, Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation, Joel Knox and Joan Marmo, Dr. Joe B. Massey, Margot and Danny McCaul, The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust, Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller, The Fred and Rita Richman Fund, In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens, USI Insurance Services, and Mrs. Harriet H. Warren. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.
About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 18,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.stage.high.org.
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Marci Tate Davis
Manager, Public Relations