From small scale work exhibited in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in the, to memorials honoring victims of war and riot, to monumental sculpture in parks and plazas to the creation of ArtSafe, a foundation that transformed the lives of youth in prison my life’s purpose is realized.
At six months my love affair with nature began. At dawn my mother would take me to the beach where I laid on a blanket watching the sun rise as she swam. At two I wandered off alone to explore the woods – setting off a day long search. By five I was drawing and painting the landscapes and animals near our home. And, at ten I carved my first bird and was building boats in I my father’s basement work shop.
After serving in the Air Force, I took a job as a young timekeeper with the United States Steel Corporation. There, managing bridge and building construction projects, my love of building large scale projects was born. I learned how to manage projects, collaborate, build coalitions, budgets and timelines. And, that my future was in my studio following my passion building my dreams.
In the summer of 1967, as volunteer in the Israeli Army Israel my passion for creating public art was born. Call it a quirk of fate or destiny. I was invited by a Non-Governmental-Organization to create a memorial for victims of the 6 Day War. For that first commission I met with the survivors, listened to their stories and traversed the battle fields where their young people fell. I learned how creating art was a healing process: for individuals, families and communities – and myself. Creating the memorial bonded us as stories of lost loved ones were told; their lives and the spirit of life were recognized and celebrated. I learned how art transforms people and places, by bringing us together and infusing space with meaning, beauty and purpose.
Public Art making is for me a joyous journey of collaboration and celebration, learning and discovery. My goal is to create art that builds bonds between each other and the places we live. It is an honoring of who we are, have been and who we can become!
Judith Spater Canneto
Art is a verb. It’s a way of being and of relating to the world. In my experience of life, I’ve always been easily distracted by the dance of trees in the wind, by the glint of a bottle fly’s wing, by the perfection of balance in the design of a building or a face, by the harmony of color in a roadside garden of wildflowers and the magic of raindrop patterns sliding down a window.
I made art as a child and never stopped. I wove baskets and made clothes for my dolls. I sketched house plans and I drew many horses. I got A’s in art classes, and I never thought of myself as an artist. What I’ve done in life is to follow my passions wherever they lead: first, to a career of service in the mental health field (I continue to practice the art of therapy one day a week), and then to pursue a license as a massage therapist, all the while continuing to paint, draw an use art and poetry as therapeutic tools as a mental health professional, as well as for my own enjoyment. I gave my paintings to friends and family. My growing passion for designing gardens led me to pursue a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from the Ohio State University when I was almost fifty. The formal training in design honed my skills and I began designing gardens professionally.
As Stephen Canneto and I began our life partnership together, we found that our two artistic sensibilities worked well together to create a collaboration of complimentary abilities and perspectives. We share the same vision of public art as a necessary component of a healthy and vibrant community.
I continue to paint, to design gardens and to discover new and exciting applications for my passion for artistic expression. Most recently, I happily found myself designing twelve stained glass window panels for a chapel. And I continueto be distracted by the glint of an insect wing in the sunshine….
My work is heavily influenced by the nature of form. I draw my interest in the physical, abstract, and implied forms to create both geometric and organic pieces that tell a story and enhance the space around us. Found objects are a way to discover meaning and simple narration in my art.
One of my first childhood memories is collecting buckeyes in an upside down frisbee in the front field of my family’s farmhouse in Southern Ohio. Over the years I’ve accumulated many things in old buildings, flea markets, OPT (other people’s trash), second hand and antique shops simply because I found beauty in the form itself.
Collections of family videos, images, writings, and dreams are resources used to recall memories from my past. As an adopted person there is always a wonderment and curiosity of that past life that I cannot remember. I use these elements to create new forms and compositions that abstract the idea of identity. It is about rediscovering those memories and emotions drawn from the objects I’ve gathered. I attempt to expose the content through the use technology, with personal purpose and reflection.