Annual Award

fierce pussy will receive the 2019 Public Art Dialogue (PAD) Award for achievement in the field of public art.

fierce pussy is a collective of queer women artists. Formed in New York City in 1991, fierce pussy brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets.  fierce pussy projects included wheat pasting posters on the street, renaming New York City streets after prominent lesbian heroines, re-designing the restroom at the LGBT community center, printing and distributing stickers and t-shirts, a greeting card campaign, a video PSA and more recently, various installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums. Originally fierce pussy was composed of a fluid and often shifting cadre. Four of the original core members—Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, and Carrie Yamaoka—continue to work together. You can freely print out, copy, share, and distribute their posters.

fierce pussy will accept the PAD Award on Thursday, February 14 as part of a ceremony and reception in conjunction with CAA’s 107th Annual Conference in New York City. The ceremony will take place at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. A reception following the award ceremony is co-sponsored by the Queer Caucus for Art and the Committee on Women in the Arts.

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The PAD award for achievement in the field of public art is given annually to an individual whose contributions have greatly influenced public art practice. Awardees are chosen from nominations made by PAD members. 

Past Recipients

2018 - Judy Baca

In 1974 Judy Baca founded the first City of Los Angeles Mural Program, which evolved into the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), where she is the artistic director. Baca’s inspirational career as an artist, scholar, and activist has immeasurably impacted urban visual culture.

2017 - Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Since 1977, when Mierle Laderman Ukeles became the official, unsalaried Artist-in-Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation – a position she still holds – she has created art that deals with the endless maintenance and service work that “keeps the city alive,” urban waste flows, recycling, ecology, urban sustainability and our power to transform degraded land and water into healthy inhabitable public places.

2016 - Kirk Savage

Kirk Savage has written extensively on public monuments within the larger theoretical context of collective memory and identity. He is the author of two prizewinning books. Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (2009) reconsidered key public monuments and spaces of the capital within a narrative of nation building, spatial conquest, ecological destructiveness, and psychological trauma.

2015 - Tom Finkelpearl

Tom Finkelpearl is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In this role he oversees city funding for nonprofit arts organizations across the five boroughs and directs the cultural policy for the City of New York. Prior to his appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Finkelpearl served as Executive Director of the Queens Museum for twelve years starting in 2002, overseeing an expansion that doubled the museum’s size and positioning the organization as a vibrant center for social engagement in nearby communities.

2014 - Jack Becker

PAD recognizes Jack Becker's longstanding contributions to the field of public art as founder and executive director of Forecast Public Art, established in 1978. As a public artist and program administrator, Jack specializes in projects that connect the ideas and energies of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities. He has organized more than 70 exhibitions, 50 publications, and numerous special events.

2013 - Penny Balkin Bach

Penny Balkin Bach is Executive Director of the Association for Public Art (formerly Fairmount Park Art Association), the nation's first private non-profit public art organization, chartered in 1872 and dedicated to the integration of public art and urban planning. As a curator, writer, and educator, Bach provides artistic direction for the organization. She works with artists, architects, civic leaders, city agencies, community groups and cultural organizations.

2012 - Ben Rubin

Ben Rubin is a media artist based in New York City. His work features in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the San Jose Museum of Art; and the Science Museum, London, and has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum in New York; the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid; the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, and the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. Rubin has created large-scale public artworks for the New York Times, the City of San José, and the Minneapolis Public Library.

2011 - Anne Pasternak

Creative Time began commissioning innovative art in New York City in 1972, introducing millions of people every year to contemporary art while making sure it plays an active role in public life. In 1994, Anne Pasternak joined Creative Time as its President and Artistic Director. Her goal has been to present some of the most adventurous and historically important art in the public realm.

2010 - Mary Jane Jacob

Mary Jane Jacob is a curator who holds the position of Professor in the Department of Sculpture and Executive Director of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As chief curator of the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Los Angeles, she staged some of the first U.S. shows of American and European artists.

2009 - Suzanne Lacy

Suzanne Lacy is an internationally known artist whose work includes installations, video, and large-scale performances. Often investigating social themes, public policy, and urban issues, one of Lacy’s best known works to date is The Crystal Quilt (Minneapolis, 1987) a performance featuring 430 older women, broadcast live on Public Television. During the nineties she worked with teams of artists and youth to create an ambitious series of performances, workshops, and installations.