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Stephen Manka, 2006

Art in the Public Domain

My experience is that of the Architect/Builder who responds to complex site conditions. There is always a sensitivity to place and to the layers of meaning a place can hold/withhold. I participate in traditions of building, sometimes pushing techniques when charged with shaping stone, steel, concrete, glass, plants, images…

As an Urban Designer the umbrella expands exponentially to a birds eye understanding of human settlement and landscape pattern. On the ground, kinetic views through a vehicle’s windshield reveal the environment quite differently. The art here is to understand the forces that shape our public realm, and sometimes suggest surgeries. Collaboration is crucial and enriching when charged to shape healthy/sustainable, meaningful/iconic, and legible/comfortable landscapes.

With Public Art both microscope and telescope are used to see site context: history, ecology, social and political realities. Through scrutinizing these conditions a provocative public art might be built when charged to discover a finer grain of asphalt for the Public Realm. Everything seems very wide open.

Investigation: computer modeling, drawing, bicycling, casting, photography…
Collaboration: sculptors, botanists, landscape architects, writers, photographers, scientists...


Miami University. Oxford, OH     Bachelors of Environmental Design, 1993

University of South Florida. Tampa, FL     Course work in Printmaking, 1997

Kent State University. Kent, OH     Masters of Architecture in Urban Design, 2002

Selected Public Commissions

Playhouse Station Luminaries Project – GCRTA . Cleveland, OH, 2006/underway

Industrial Pavilions -- Superior Avenue Public Art. Cleveland, OH, 2006/underway

Butterfly Fountain. Columbus, OH, 2006/underway

Cedar Fairmount Public Art Investigation, Cleveland Height, OH, 2005

Playhouse Square North Façade Treatment, Cleveland, OH, 2005/pending

Shaker Landscape Installation. Shaker Heights, OH, 2005/built

Ecological Fence – Cleveland Environmental Center. Cleveland, OH, 2004/built

Selected Honors

ASLA Landscape Design Award. Zone Rec. Project, 2006

Superior Avenue Public Art Competition. Winning submission, 2005

RTA Euclid Corridor Public Art Competition. Winning submission, 2005

Columbus Sculpture Competition. Winning submission, 2005

RTA University Circle Public Art – Rodin’s feet, finalist, 2005

Circle to the Lake Charette – invited participant. Cleveland Museum of Art, 2004

Food Bank wall competition, finalist Cleveland, OH, 2005

Cleveland Public Art Signage, finalist, 2003

Selected Consulting Work Experience

City of Euclid. East 222 Industrial Parkway. Consulting Urban Designer, 2005-present

Lincoln Electric. Consulting Urban Designer/Public Artist, 2006-present

Re/Max Realty. Consulting Urban Designer/Public Artist, 2006-present

Zone Eco-park. Cleveland, OH. Consulting Urban Designer/Public Artist, 2005-present

Urban Design Center. Cleveland, OH. Staff Urban Designer, 2001-2005

Hotel Bruce. Contributing writer/designer, 2003-2005

stephen manka