News and Events » 2015

The Scotsman

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The Scotsman
Green energy scheme aims to bring beauty to renewables
By Alison Campsie

ART and science fuses in Glasgow to power a new generation of “beautiful renewables”

A challenge to make “beautiful renewables” that combine high quality public art with the next generation of green energy schemes is now underway in Scotland. 
Architects from New York, Los Angeles and Berlin are advising three Scottish teams of creatives and scientists who are competing to design a renewables scheme at Dundas Hill , Glasgow, that is capable of powering at least 50 new homes.

Read More >

IgniteChannel: Land Art Generator: Can Artists Create Renewable Energy?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Land Art Generator: Can Artists Create Renewable Energy?
November 24, 2015
By Kimberly Lauren Bryant

Take one part public, mix it with two parts renewable energy, and what do you get? A recipe for sustainable solutions that enhance local culture. And if there were a head chef, it’d probably be Land Art Generator, an initiative that aims to create more energy sources from works of art. Bringing together artists, architects, and engineers, they’re finding ways to bring renewable energy to homes through public art.

Read More Here >

Forecast Public Art: Public Art Review

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Land Art Generator Initiative
Where public art and energy generation combine
November 18, 2015
By Katie Jones Schmitt, the Benchmarking Outreach Coordinator for Center for Energy and Environment and the City of Minneapolis.

On November 9th, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) landed at Forecast Public Art. This exciting program, which seeks to combine energy traditions of yesteryear and creative clean energy ideas of today, inspired the room of approximately 30 artists, city staffers, designers, and engineers to think about how collaborations of artists, engineers, and architects can bring cleaner, more local, energy back to our cities.

In today’s world, powerplants typically serve one practical purpose: to provide energy in a cost effective manner. Many of them are located far from where the energy is used, are generally unslightly, and most people have no connection to energy generation. But it was not always that way. At the turn of the last century, powerplants were found in urban cores, since energy couldn’t be transmitted very far, and because of their central location, they took on architecture styles consistent with those of surrounding buildings of the time.

Read More >

LAGI in the Weekly Buzz!

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Context Sustainability’s Weekly buzz—what you need to know

November 13, 2015
By Sophia Ingram

“With so much news from so many sources, it can be difficult to keep tabs on what’s happening in the world of sustainability. To help, we’ve pulled together the top five most buzz-worthy, inspiring updates from this week…”

The article contains summaries of five articles with links, including the Guardian article about LAGI, along with articles about sustainability news related to McDonalds, Starbucks, Give-back Fashion, and the Purpose-Driven Workforce

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The Land Art Generator Initiative has been awarded the
J.M.K. Innovation Prize, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund

“Launched in early 2015, The J.M.K. Innovation Prize was designed to seek out boldly promising ideas in the field of social-sector innovation—however untested or wherever they arise.”

We are very fortunate to be one of the ten awardees. We’d like to extend our thanks to, and share this recognition with, the thousands of participants in LAGI design competitions, whose amazing innovations make LAGI possible. The above image is composed of thumbnails of the work that can be seen in the online LAGI portfolio.

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize will allow LAGI to expand consulting and project management work in cities around the world that are seeking creative ways of integrating sustainable infrastructures into regenerative planning and projects.

Over the next few years, LAGI will be working closely with our design partners (past LAGI design competition participants) on the detailed design and construction of many regenerative public art installations at various scales and site contexts.

The Prize will also help to support the 2016 LAGI Design Competition for Southern California. LAGI 2016 is re-imagining the coast of Santa Monica by inviting individuals and interdisciplinary teams to design a large-scale, site-specific work of public art that also serves as clean energy and/or drinking water infrastructure for the City of Santa Monica.

The Importance of LAGI

We’re helping to educate the next generation of artists, architects, engineers, city planners, landscape architects, designers, and scientists, who will find greater innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration and creativity. The LAGI design challenge provides project-based learning in STEM subjects through engagement with art and creativity.

As we work together to design and implement a post-carbon world, the impact of sustainable infrastructures on the constructed environment is becoming an important focus of city planning and architecture. At the same time, a culture war over land use has slowed the implementation of many proposed wind and solar installations.

By engaging communities with an inspiring vision of our sustainable future and providing context-specific solutions for sensitive sites, we would like to help turn the tide of public discourse and bring about universal support for immediate investment in 100% renewable infrastructure.

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize process of selection was its own innovation in philanthropic award management (as a project that designs and runs competitions, it’s a subject that LAGI is interested in!). 373 volunteer reviewers were recruited from the Fund’s network to review 1,138 applications from 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Each application was scored by at least 6 reviewers, after which 202 entries were advanced to the second round. More complete applications were read by subject matter and social innovation experts in disciplines including justice, education, human rights, food systems, public health, energy, natural resources, and the arts.

We congratulate the J.M. Kaplan Fund on their development of the J.M.K. Innovation Prize and thank them for their generous support.

The Guardian

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Public art projects that double as renewable energy sources
by Kristine Wong
November 7, 2015

Two Pittsburgh artists are encouraging cities around the world to install public art structures designed to generate power while educating viewers about renewable energy

What happens when renewable energy meets public art? The Land Art Generator Initiative, or Lagi, founded by Pittsburgh-based artists Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, is trying to find the answer with several proposed public art structures designed to generate power while inspiring and educating their viewers.

The initiative has collected hundreds of designs from competitions held in Abu Dhabi, New York City and Copenhagen. At the 2016 competition, which will be held in Santa Monica, California, entrants will design structures that harvest clean energy or generate clean drinking water.

“Public art can contribute to the solutions we need to steer us away from the effects of climate change,” Monoian said at October’s SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas.

Read more at the Guardian–>

LAGI Lecture: Emily Carr University

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

LAGI Co-Directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry had the great opportunity to present the LAGI project to an audience of foundation students at Emily Carr University in Vancouver BC on November 2, 2015. Thank you to Glen Lowry for inviting and hosting us!

Beautiful Renewables: Energy in urban settings – cultural and community benefits?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

As we aggressively implement strategies towards 100% carbon-free energy and witness a greater proliferation of renewable energy infrastructures in our cities and landscapes, we have a great opportunity to proactively address the aesthetic influence of these new machines through the lenses of planning, urban design, community benefit and creative placemaking.

Please join the Land Art Generator Initiative, Creative Carbon Scotland, SCENE Consulting and ecoartscotland for a presentation and discussion about the aesthetic and cultural implications and the concomitant potential for community benefit of renewable energy infrastructure.

LAGI Founding Directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry will speak about the LAGI 2016 Open Competition and the LAGI Glasgow project, highlighting the role that creatives are playing in the design of our energy futures.

November 18 2015 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
High School Yards
Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ

More Here >

Forecast Public Art – LAGI Lectures

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Forecast Public Art LAGI Lectures

Monday, November 9, 7 – 9pm
Ferry & Monoian will discuss the Land Art Generator Initiative as a practice, and
address questions about its formation, what it means to pair art+ energy, the
kinds of education and outreach strategies they employ, and the current and
future role of designers in this movement.
Refreshments served.

Tuesday, November 10, 8 – 10am
Ferry & Monoian will discuss their working relationships with cities and
government entities during Land Art Generator competitions. This session will
address these questions and more: How do the partnerships form between
LAGI and a city? What are the practical and logistical considerations of this
project when it comes to the city? What happens after the competition is over?
How does the host city benefit from the competition?
Breakfast served.

Both events will take place at:
Forecast Public Art
2300 Myrtle Street, Ste. 160
St. Paul, MN 55114


Students Design Solar Artwork, Power Disadvantaged Neighborhood With Clean Energy

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Students Design Solar Artwork, Power Disadvantaged Neighborhood With Clean Energy
We Are Anonymous
October 27th, 2015
By Vandita

Because Western Pennsylvania has a very high mix of coal-fired power, which contributes to consistently poor air quality in the Pittsburgh region, a team of 20 local kids aged between 8 and 17, as part of a six-week Art+Energy summer camp, successfully designed and installed “Renaissance Gate” – a public artwork using solar panels, aesthetically angled to both take in sunlight and surround the steel frame of an arched gate – to generate renewable energy and light up the disadvantaged neighborhood.

Read More >

takepart: Kids Create Street Art That Generates Solar Power

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Kids Create Street Art That Generates Solar Power
A Pittsburgh project is designed to light up a disadvantaged neighborhood and show an alternative-energy future in a coal state.
October 23, 2015
By Kristine Wong

Pennsylvania’s coal industry may be in decline, but in one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods, a solar project could become a symbol of a brighter future.

Since August, Homewood residents have walked through the Renaissance Gate—a public art and solar installation built and designed by local youths during a six-week summer camp—and seen the Western Pennsylvania sun power their cell phones and light up the community center next door.

Read More >

Artpark Guest Artist Presentation

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

On Thursday November 12 at 5:30 PM, we will be presenting LAGI at DeVeaux Woods State Park (3180 DeVeaux Woods Drive East, Niagara Falls).

We very much appreciate the invitation from Artpark. The talk is a part of their fall guest artist presentation series in which the “public is invited to explore the modern issues of sustainability and community development through the capabilities of public art.”

CORO Water Conference

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

We are honored to be a part of the 7th annual Coro Water & Sustainability Conference on Tuesday, October 20TH at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, California.

We’ll be on the response panel of the CORO Hackathon Presentation along with Lauren Bonn and Margaret Bruning.

“Civic Art and Society” How can art shape public opinion on water?

The Coro Hackathon is a civic adaptation of the modern technical hackathon model. With minds instead of computers and inquiry instead of coding, Coro Fellows explore and synthesize the logic of a given societal issue.

Hackathon Response Panel:
Lauren Bon
Metabolic Studios

Margaret Bruning
Director of Civic Art
Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Robert Ferry
Founding Co-Director
Land Art Generator Initiative

About Coro:

Coro was founded in San Francisco in 1942 by W. Donald Fletcher, an attorney, and Van Duyn Dodge, an investment counselor, to train young veterans in the leadership skills necessary to assure that our democratic system of government could more effectively meet the needs of its citizens.

Since 1947, when the first program was delivered, Coro has grown to include Coro Centers in six cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles (1957), St. Louis (1972), Kansas City (1975), New York (1980), and Pittsburgh (1999).

300-400 participants a year go through Coro programs nationwide. At least 10,000 program alumni are currently serving as leaders in local, regional and national/global businesses, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and elected public office.

The four Centers, Programs and licensees, and an alumni service organization, are connected supported and leveraged as a system by Coro National, a 501(c) 3 governing body that serves as the national voice and partner for the regional centers and alumni participants, and works to build capacity for the system and enhance program quality standards and innovation.

Coro is a non-profit, non-partisan educational institute supported by foundations, corporations and individuals.

Daily Mail: How many solar panels would it take to power the PLANET?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Daily Mail
By Victoria Woollaston
October 7, 2015

How many solar panels would it take to power the PLANET?
Experts reveal we would need to cover an area the size of Spain to provide the world with enough energy. The calculations were made by Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian from the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI)

They used US Department of Energy data about the world consumption of energy with projected figures up to 2030.

From this, they worked out how much energy would be needed per square metre of land across the globe.

Panels would need to cover 191,817 sq miles (496,805 sq km) of land to power the world with solar panels – the equivalent to covering the whole of Spain with the boards.

Read more >

LAGI Exhibition at “Powering Our Renewable Energy Future” Conference in Eastern Maryland

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

LAGI is delighted to have an exhibition of past competition submissions as a part of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s 16th Eastern Shore Planning Conference “Powering Our Renewable Energy Future.”

Where: The Tidewater Inn, in Easton, Maryland
When: Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Eastern Shore has the potential to be the undisputed leader in Maryland’s renewable energy generation and locally produced renewable energy holds a promise of future resilience and prosperity.

Accomplishing this includes balancing the expense to resources like tillable acreage, wildlife habitat, rural vistas, and more. How can the Eastern Shore’s communities, residents, and industries benefit from clean, affordable renewable energy while maintaining its rural landscapes and independent character?

This conference seeks to understand:

  • what renewable energy technologies are available today;
  • what emerging technologies exist;
  • how can renewable energy properly fit into a rural landscape;
  • how can rural industries, like agriculture, take advantage of renewable energy technologies;
  • how can broader renewable energy adoption help make communities more resilient and add to the rural independent character of the region; and
  • how can residents and communities participate in the benefits of renewable energy?

DRSC STEM Conference

Monday, September 28th, 2015

LAGI will be presenting out 2015-2016 Youth Design Prize and educational programming at the DRSC STEM Conference on September 30th in Dayton, Ohio.

Our presentation is in Session C at 12:40PM: Public Art of the Sustainable City: STEM to STEAM.

Following the introduction to LAGI, Katie Henry will be presenting a more in-depth demonstration of how renewable energy as art can be a tool for STEM education at 1:40PM: Empowering Students to Power Themselves: Prototyping Renewable Energy Art Forms in the Classroom.


Thursday, September 24th, 2015

We will be speaking at SXSW ECO, which is taking place October 5-7 in Austin, TX.

Join us and LA’s Green Public Art Consultancy as we talk about Regenerative Public Art for Living Cities in the context of LAGI 2016 Santa Monica.


Public art is a critical component of successful urban placemaking. Can it also be a force for sustainable city planning? We’ll examine how public art is getting greener, becoming regenerative, and informing the public about climate change, energy and water issues, and biodiversity loss.

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) and Green Public Art are working to increase popular support for sustainable development by integrating art and interdisciplinary creative processes into the conception of site-specific, solution-based public art interventions. By presenting works of art that generate clean electricity and drinking water, we can show that sustainable development models that require localized “living” and net-zero infrastructures can result in beautiful and engaging urban spaces.

The panel will provide an overview of past LAGI and Green Public Art projects, and give a preview of the LAGI 2016 design competition for Southern California.

Event Type: Sessions
Category: Fireside Chat (no, 10AM is not too early for a fireside chat!)
Theme: Design

Living Product Expo

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

LAGI will be at the Living Product Expo September 17 & 18 (2015) at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

The LAGI founding co-directors will be speaking at the event from 5:45–6:00 pm on Thursday the 18th.

The WindNest 1/4 scale prototype will be displayed along with several past LAGI submissions, showing the world that renewable energy can be beautiful.

About the WindNest Prototype
WindNest is designed by Trevor Lee of Suprafutures to passively rotate to face the wind just like a weather vane. To test the functionality and to experiment with the ball bearing mechanism design, a prototyping team under the direction of GTK Flow Analysis fabricated this 1/4 scale model and subjected it to a series of tests under different wind conditions and speed sequences.

The full-scale installation will incorporate a slip ring to allow for continuous rotation while conducting the electricity produced by the turbines and solar fabric.

The prototype also provides the opportunity to experiment with the structure of the cloud pods and will assist with the design of the fabric skin.

WindNest prototype being installed at the Living Product Expo from Land Art Generator Initiative on Vimeo.

About the Living Product Expo
In early April, 2015, the Living Future Institute launched the Living Product Challenge. This new program re-imagines the design and construction of products to function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world. The Living Product Expo is a groundbreaking new event that will bring together leading minds in the product industry and ignite a revolution in the way materials are designed, manufactured and delivered. Sustainability directors from the world’s leading design firms, prominent manufacturers and sustainability consultants will gather to learn about game-changing innovations in product design.

The Expo will assemble a diverse group of people, industries and disciplines. Together, we will engage in a transparent, transdisciplinary and transformative dialogue to inspire the creation of the world’s first Living Products. Participants will gain new tools, knowledge and connections to effect positive change in their organizations and supply chains.

The Living Product Expo is the world’s leading place for design and manufacturing professionals to learn about game-changing products that will transform the marketplace. It will be a unique opportunity for manufacturers and designers (of all sizes) to network, learn from one another and aggregate market power to create transformative impact. Attendees will experience a stimulating agenda of education tracks, inspiring keynote presentations, tours, networking and Show + Tell product demonstrations showcasing the latest trends in sustainable products.

LAGI at the Mattress Factory

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

What does the future of renewable energy look like? LAGI will be holding a workshop at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory for all ages to engage with LAGI 2015–16 Youth Design Prize.

Visitors will interact with cutting edge clean energy technologies and explore how they can be sculpted into power plants that are also works of art for a design site in Southern California.

The Mattress Factory’s ARTlab is a hands-on, drop-in, interactive activity designed for visitors of all ages. During ARTLab visitors are invited to explore, play and experiment with projects designed inspired by current exhibitions, artists and ideas.

Saturday, September 5 from 1-4pm

Mattress Factory
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-4444

More here >

20 kids transform a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood with solar art & charging station

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

20 kids transform a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood with solar art & charging station
August 14, 2015
By Laura Mordas-Schenkein

Where a rusted old marquee hovered over a community center’s run down lot in the neighborhood of Homewood, Pittsburgh, a glistening installation of solar panels now rises as a symbol of hope. As part of a six-week Art+Energy summer camp, a remarkable team of 20 local youths — aged 8-17 — successfully designed and installed a grouping of solar panels, entitled “Renaissance Gate.” This is the first completed project led by the Land Art Generator Initiative, a nonprofit that aids in the development of large-scale public artworks that generate renewable energy.

Read more here >

Homewood youth tap solar energy as ‘gateway’ to betterment

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Homewood youth tap solar energy as ‘gateway’ to betterment
August 14, 2015
By Daniel Moore

When Jordan Blackwell and DaVontae Garner hit the studio to polish their latest rap composition, the Homewood teenagers were faced with the challenge of trying to rhyme “kilowatt-hour.”

The duo emerged from the session with a 3-minute song — loosely inspired by Drake’s “Energy” — that helps explain why Homewood residents were turning their heads on Frankstown Avenue on Thursday.

Community leaders unveiled “Renaissance Gate,” an installation of solar panels mounted in a run-down lot where a rusted sign marquee used to stand. The panels were aesthetically angled to both take in sunlight and surround the steel frame of an arched gate, which 14-year-old DaVontae said symbolized a gateway to a new Homewood.
read more >

Pecha Kucha Night Pittsburgh

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

LAGI Co-Directors Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian will be presenting at:
Pecha Kucha Night Pittsburgh
Organized by AIA Pittsburgh and AIGA Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.
July 16, 2015
Bricolage, 937 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
More information here >

Solar 2015: The 44th National Solar Conference (American Solar Energy Society)

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

LAGI Co-Directors Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian will be speaking at:
Solar 2015: The 44th National Solar Conference (American Solar Energy Society)
July 28–30, 2015
The Pennsylvania State University

More Information >

City Paper Pittsburgh

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Photo by Heather Mull for the City Paper

Two articles, written by Charles Rosenblum, appear in the City Paper for the week of March 18, 2015.

Local firm goes global promoting art and sustainability: The Land Art Generator Initiative promotes public artworks that generate clean energy

A lauded green-art initiative hits a roadblock in Schenley Plaza: Land Art Generator project stalls in art commission

Biophilia Network: Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

LAGI Directors Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry will be presenting the LAGI project at the Biophilia Network at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory on March 5, 2015. (Pittsburgh, PA)

More about Phipps Conservatory and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes here >.

Green Mountain Energy Sustainability Stories: Land Art Generator Initiative

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Green Mountain Energy
Sustainability Stories: Land Art Generator Initiative
February 2015
By Nick Schenck

We were thrilled when Green Mountain Energy recently reached out to us with a set of questions for their blog. The editor writes “We want to learn how other companies approach sustainability, so we’ve decided to publish a series of posts featuring innovative companies and people who are doing their part to support our planet. See below to read a guest blog from Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, founding directors at Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI).”

more here >

University of British Columbia: Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The LAGI Founding Directors will be lecturing at the University of British Columbia on May 12, 2015.
The lecture is being hosted by UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)
More about IRES here:

Renewable Cities: Global Learning Forum

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Please join the LAGI Founding Directors, Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian, for a presentation and exhibition about the LAGI project at Renewable Cities: Global Learning Forum.

Event Dates: May 13–15, 2015
Event Location: Vancouver, BC
Event Website: