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Toni Sikes is co-founder and CEO of CODAworx, a company whose mission is to “transform every space in the world by making great [art] commissions happen.” CODAworx connects those who commission art, artists and creative teams, and industry resources to support collaborative projects, art installations, and public works, which engage the community and beautify the spaces in which we live, work, and play.
CODAworx will hold its first annual CODAsummit at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from September 20 to 21. This 1.5-day long conference will feature keynote speakers presenting on interactive exhibitions and sensory experiences, panels of expert artists and technologists, presentations by leading artists and their technology collaborators, and discussions led by art patrons about how technology can be essential to art commissions.
Read EMA’s interview with Toni Sikes below and explore CODAworx’s registry of artists via their website. Follow EMA on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with exciting interviews, events, and artist features.
Emerging Media Alliance: How did CODAworx come to be?
Toni Sikes: CODAworx is my third company, and is the online evolution of my first company: The GUILD Sourcebooks (a directory publishing company). I am a huge believer in the value of commissioned art and how it can transform a space, and this first business connected commission artists to architects and designers. CODAworx evolved out of that idea to include the entire industry.
EMA: How is new and emerging media utilized by CODAworx and its artists?
TS: At CODAworx, we see artists using technology as an exciting new tool in the artistic toolbox. Technology enables new media, such as immersive environments, multi-sensory projects, interactive artworks. Often, this work is fueled by the desire to solve real-world problems and to ask provocative questions. For instance, the artworks often raise awareness about environmental and social issues, or fuel community engagement. I believe that this contributes to a new vision of what art is and why it is important.
EMA: How do you support new/emerging media artists?
TS: CODAworx is all about commissioned art—art that is created for a specific space. We support new and emerging media artists who create commissioned artworks by connecting them with the individuals, companies, and organizations looking to bring artwork into their spaces. This takes the form of our RFP Listings, where artists can apply for commission opportunities. We also have a number of programs that showcase outstanding projects that shine a spotlight on exciting work and bring attention to what artists are doing with technology. For instance, one of our monthly digital magazines in devoted to Technology + Art.
EMA: Why was Santa Fe chosen for the CODAsummit? What excites CODAworx about Santa Fe?
TS: Santa Fe was selected as the site for CODAsummit because the city is positioned to be a leader in this new art paradigm, and yet it is small and intimate enough to allow people to get to know one another in a casual and friendly way.
EMA: What do you want visitors to take away from the first CODAsummit? How can they bring these ideas to their individual communities?
TS: I hope the CODAsummit attendees leave with new resources to help them create more exciting artworks, new connections for collaborations, and new vocabularies to help them discuss what this new world is all about. I believe that when you put so many smart and creative people together in one place, the resulting high-level dialogue will advance this new field of emerging and digital art.
EMA: How do you think communities (from arts patrons to commissioners and beyond) can better support new and emerging media art?
TS: Our communities need leaders who are willing to take a few chances with these new art forms. CODAworx tries to de-risk this, by offering models of what communities have done, through case studies and other forms of content.
EMA: Tell me about an artist of note who won the recent CODAawards.
TS: Janet Echelman is a leading artist doing large-scale fiber work; this year, she was a CODAawards winner for an amazing project she did with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. [Echelman’s award-winning installation, titled Dream Catcher, is a large-scale malleable net sculpture developed for The Jeremy Hotel in West Hollywood, California. “Inspiration for the piece comes from the idea of pursuing dreams in Hollywood. Suspended between the guest rooms, the piece is a representation of brain waves that can be electronically mapped while dreaming.”]
EMA: What is an upcoming CODAworx project you’re particularly excited about?
TS: CODAworx is exploring the idea of creating a future gathering that will bring together various collaborators in large artwork projects with industry leaders—stay tuned!