Four Receive Dr. Finbarr O'Connor Prize for Shifting the Paradigm for Public Art Project

September 21, 2021 Daniel DiPrinzio

The University is pleased to announced that Professor of Visual and Performance Arts Abbey Ryan '03, Adjunct Professor of Visual and Performance Arts David Guinn, Adjunct Professor of Visual and Performance Arts Maryann Worrell '05, and Adjunct Professor of Visual and Performance Arts Krista Profitt '11 have been named winners of the 2021 Dr. Finbarr O’Connor Prize for Shifting the Paradigm for their work on the Arcadia Public Art Project (APAP).

Established in July 2019 by Dr. Suneet P. Chauhan ’79, 'H18 to honor his beloved professor, Dr. Barry O’Connor and to encourage the Arcadia community to greater innovative thinking, The Finbarr O’Connor Prize in Shifting the Paradigm seeks to recognize novelty in solution-based problem solving and reward people who shift the paradigm through the programs or projects they lead.

The selection committee found the APAP submission refreshing. “Moving art from in-studio to outdoors” was one exciting feature but simultaneously, its impact on the community was also extraordinarily compelling. Involvement of the community in transforming the space into art work was poignant. Public art that transforms non-descript spaces into lively and colorful, welcoming spaces while moving the community to conversation captured the imagination of the committee. Additionally, though not part of the submission requirement, the committee searched online for proof of concept and discovered a powerful 6-minute video that helped to support the project’s narrative.

APAP included plans for its next transformative community work. The committee saw the project’s future planning and the potential for additional work in Glenside and other places as the winning combination. In summation, the committee found that Arcadia’s APAP concept could be everywhere . . . through the beauty of art.

The selection committee received multiple submissions and reviewed each for completeness (responding to the five required questions), adherence to submission requirements (1 page in length), depth of impact, proof of program/project launch, natural ability to replicate for broader impact, and a shift in the paradigm.