The Art of Engagement: Ballroom Marfa and the Public Concern Foundation present Mel Chin and Mary Miss in conversation with Hamilton Fish. We’ll look at the work of both artists, along with their motivations and objectives. The public discussion will also consider the ongoing relationship between culture, artistic intervention and social values.

Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas in 1951. Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. More at

Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time.  She has developed the “City as Living Lab”, a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts, with Marda Kirn of EcoArts Connections. Trained as a sculptor, her work creates situations emphasizing a site’s history, its ecology, or aspects of the environment that have gone unnoticed.  Mary Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, and public administrators on projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City or turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. More at

The Public Concern Foundation is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to the study of current political and social issues, the dissemination of those findings, and the expansion of the public discourse on political and social values and ideals.

The foundation’s principal activity is the publication of The Washington Spectator, the monthly newsletter on public affairs. The Public Concern Foundation also sponsors The Public Trust Project, which promotes the findings of independent scientists. In addition, the foundation hosts journalism fellowships, conducts investigative reporting, sponsors and produces social documentary films, publishes books, and provides fiscal sponsorship for kindred activities.

The Washington Spectator

The Washington Spectator is a monthly, independent political periodical with a circulation of 60,000. It often covers issues not receiving sufficient coverage in the mainstream media outlets. Founded by Tristram Coffin in 1974, it is currently edited by Lou Dubose. Subscribe to the Spectator.

The Public Trust Project

The Public Trust Project (PTP) is a nonprofit organization that investigates and reports on the manipulation of scientific research by corporations and government, and promotes the findings of independent scientists whose work has not been skewed by powerful interests. Read more about the Public Trust Project.


Special Thanks

Ballroom Marfa
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
The Public Concern Foundation