Submitted Proposals

ARTIST: Molly Dilworth

I propose to test and establish the IRR value of a palette of solar-reflective roof paint. Currently, most manufacturers offer a limited color range (white, light gray, light beige) and are willing to mix any color but can’t provide IRR values for those colors. The NYC CoolRoofs program has minimum IRR standards, without known values, the colors can’t be used. With a standard set of IRR colors a series of solar-reflective rooftop paintings could be made through the CoolRoofs program, improving efficiency of city buildings and beautifying the city as a whole, particularly on roofs that can’t support the weight or cost of gardens or green roofs. These rooftop paintings would be made with government (NYC Department of Education – on school buildings with students), community and private partners. More

ARTIST: Skip Blumberg

NYC Civic Center Charrette: Plan, Design, Image and Imagine a Green Gotham

The development of a multi-media plan for the future of lower Manhattan’s landscape with innovative, visionary and practical approaches to streets, sidewalks, public spaces, parks, and outdoor recreation in a livable city.

A “charrette” is an informal panel of designers who meet to sketch plans and drawings with certain design requirements and goals. More


ARTISTS: Nsumi Collective

Micro-proposals for The Institute for Wishful Thinking

For NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

We propose the “Office of Collective Unconscious”, OCU, a new Line Office of NOAA for mapping and processing the collective unconsciousness of the United States of America through the deployment of psychospheric instruments.

We will develop a comprehensive multi-platform toolset to mine the deepest, most repressed motivations, shadow perceptions and collective blind-spots of the American System.

Specialized products will include daily unconsciousness forecasts, severe meme-storm and mind-storm warnings, and mass emotional climate monitoring. The OCU will produce original research and written reports for other government agencies, contractors, and the public. More











ARTISTS: smudge


Ten underground nuclear tests have been conducted in the United States outside of restricted
territories: Central Nevada Test Site, aka Faultless (NV, 1968), Shoal (NV, 1963), Gasbuggy (NM,
1967), Gnome (NM, 1961), Rulison (CO, 1969), Rio Blanco (CO, 1973), Salmon (MS, 1964),
Sterling (MS, 1966), Long Shot (AK, 1965), Milrow (AK, 1969), Cannikin (AK, 1971).
In 2009 we visited four of the ten sites and found their signage to be minimal, sometimes difficult
to find, and uncontextualized. The signage did not include information about the presence of
radioactive isotopes that resulted from the tests, nor about the long-term dangers they pose to
humans at the sites and downstream—for thousands of years into the future. According to Office of
Legacy Management fact sheets, there is no capability to remediate these sites in the foreseeable
future. Likewise, there are no plans to design and install plaques at the sites that directly and
specifically address the long-term dangers present. More


ARTIST: Katie Herzog

As Artist in Residence in the Institute of Museum and Library Services I propose to work with library law consultant Mary Minow to revise library policy relating to classification systems. To reflect the culture of participatory knowledge production embraced online, and to embrace democracy at a structural level, new libraries will hold local elections and the public will vote on a classification system. More



Songs for Government Agencies and other works More


ARTIST: Christopher Robbins

A Picture The Homeless study showed that there were enough vacant properties in Manhattan alone to house every homeless household in all five boroughs of the city. This program will link the Department of Housing and Urban Development with community members, artists, and homeless advocates to turn abandoned property into shelters for the homeless in a quick, direct, D.I.Y. style – people making their own homes in abandoned structures with Government support. More



ARGO (Alliance for Remaking Green Oceans) is comprised of visual artists William Allen (also a poet), BARbara Westermann, ChARlotte Allen, BiRGit Jensen, and JOchen Saueracker.

The ARGO group is a study and exhibition group focused on shared interests in the ocean, shipwrecks and islands, marine architecture (boats, lightships, and lighthouses), painting, printmaking, world maps, the history of the new York waterways, and kayaking in collapsible East German-model kayaks. More


ARTIST: Ryan Griffis

Contaminating the Preserve

Founded in 1988, the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, following more than 60 years of effort by people wishing to celebrate the European discovery of La Florida. The preserve’s original boundaries enclose 47,000 acres of Northeast Florida, a vast tract of ecosystems managed by federal, state, city and private landholders. Some of the key sites included within the preserve include: a slightly scaled down model exhibit of the French Fort Caroline, a reproduction of a monument to French entrepreneur and colonist Jean Ribault, Kingsley Plantation – one of the most intact examples of the slave plantation system from the 18th-19th centuries, and vast tracts of Florida wetlands and forests with hiking trails. The Preserve is named for the cultures that inhabited the area at the time of French and Spanish arrival, the Timucua. More



ARTISTS: Liz Slagus and Norene Leddy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sorely lacking in one specific area: sex education curriculum. The sole offering regarding sex education on the HHS website is that of abstinence-only education. This is a gross throw-back to the Bush Administration (and the dark ages prior to Roe v. Wade). This is egregious, embarrassing and dangerous. It is the right of every United States citizen to have accessible and clinically honest sex education information; without the burden of religious views or politics. As a result, Liz Slagus and Norene Leddy are combining artistic practice and curatorial vision to create SexEd: a collective, community-based sex education curriculum developed through a series of artist projects and community collaborations. More


ARTIST: Sheryl Oring

Secretary of the People

As part of the Institute for Wishful Thinking’s Artist in Residence for the US Government program, I am proposing the creation of a new Cabinet level position within the White House that I would fill for the term of the next presidency. As Secretary of the People, my job would be to create means of communication with the population at large, and then represent the people’s key concerns –- as well as possible solutions to national problems — to the President and others in the Cabinet. More


ARTISTS: Nick Tobier and Juliane Stiegele

Utopia Store

Our streets and cities could be so much more interesting if artists were involved in the process of deciding what goes next to what. Efficient flow of goods and capital, appropriate parking enforcement, along with the codes of zoning can tend to enforce normative behavior on an urban scale. We believe it is vital to shake our collective selves from this normative city.


UTOPIA STORE encourages utopian conditions where the lives of the city are enhanced by zoning that encourages creativity over profit. These conditions can be realized by any person. Any day. The location of this utopia is the space between people. More

ARTISTS: Conrad Stojak

My proposal is simple but radical. I’d like to change the image of Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill to that of a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have chosen the ten dollar bill mostly because Hamilton was not a United States president (neither was Benjamin Franklin) and should have little impact upon the concept of “Founding Fathers” since most of the public believes that term is applied to early presidents. However, that in itself is a misnomer since Abraham Lincoln was a born nearly a century after George Washington and was not around during the founding of the United States. The ten-dollar bill is also a low circulated bill as opposed to five and twenty-dollar bills so I consider it a good starting point before other denominations are changed and it flanks nicely with the Lincoln five. On the rear of the “MLK” ten would be a picture of a protest during the civil rights movement led by King or the march on Washington. More


ARTISTS: Kate Sopko & The Green Triangle

Soil Repair Project Summary

We propose a pilot project in Cleveland, Ohio, that offers hands-on educational workshops on soil health to residents, teaching low-tech strategies for repairing our city’s damaged soil base one vacant lot at a time.  The program would target the large amount of vacant lots in Cleveland without future development plans, with the goals of regaining lost fertility and maximizing our soil’s ability to sequester carbon.  Public art on each site would document the lot’s soil history and restoration efforts. More

ARTIST: Pamala Wiley

A Simulated Proposal for:

A Community-Based African American Mothers & Early Childhood Education Initiative (The Power of Participation)

A community-based mothers and children center called Bubastis Cultural Institute will be established in Pinellas Point, the community surrounding Saint Petersburg, Florida. BCI will focus on providing early child hood education and counseling for mothers, especially those from extremely low income areas. It is expected that through the providing of information to the mothers that it will be possible to have a direct and positive effect on the early childhood education of the young children in the community. More


ARTISTS: Rebecca Herman & Mark Shoffner

Proposed Collaboration with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps:
USS Clyfford Still

We propose to create the USS Clyfford Still, a ship of abstraction attacking or aiding foreign lands. The USS Clyfford Still would be commissioned as an amphibious transport dock, bringing Marine troops to ports worldwide and to points further inland in the promotion of American visual culture. It is an invasion of art: part military intervention and part Abstract Expressionist painting. It is also a display of the superiority of American visual culture and its ability to conquer all other artistic traditions. As described by the US Navy, amphibious transport dock ships (LPDs) are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. LPDs are used to transport and land Marines. USS Clyfford Still would land on foreign shores far and wide, and American troops of abstraction would pour out to conquer the visual landscape. More


ARTISTS: The Aaron Burr Society

Free Money Movement & the Absurdity of Value

The Aaron Burr Society proposes that we nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank and create branches in all of the states.  Each state bank will be chartered to give interest free loans to all Americans with an income below $200,000; to make the banks sustainable 1.25% interest rates will be charged after the great recession. Loans can be given to individuals or collectives. Loans can be used for housing or transportation, cleaning the environment, community news media, public services or local commerce. People from the various communities will be elected to the board of directors. All bank transactions will be posted online along with operating costs, procedures and the banks internal communications. Transparency will not only guard against corruption and waste but will ensure participation among the citizenry. More


ARTISTS: Kristin Marting, Mahayana Landowne, & Tal Yarden

LUSH VALLEY – Artists-in-Residence Proposal for USCIS

The current application process for US citizenship is alienating and fraught with miscommunication. Intrusive questions on the citizenship application (N400) send the wrong message to applicants and possibly poison their permanent relationship to our country once they become citizens. The Oath of Allegiance is militant and unwelcoming.  As artists-in-residence, we propose to help the USCIS reform their application process to send intended messages and develop relationships with citizens that are healthy and encourage active cultural participation. We believe that by taking the pulse of Americans as well as applicants, we can assist the Agency in truly representing the values of its citizens. This will in turn foster a country of more activated citizens, better able to participate and influence their communities. More


ARTIST: Danielle Adair

Studio Visits


Studio Visits operates akin to the studio visit model of artists. It is an exchange program wherein officials from the government visit select artists in their studios. The reverse also happens as selected artists visit select officials on the job. The goal of these interactions is to actually see and hear from individuals, in context, about their practice. In this way, the program aims to inspire new ideas about agency and resourcefulness within ones own field by gaining exposure to the discourse of another’s. More



The National Toxic Land/Labor Service (National TLC Service) is a new agency within the Department of the Interior charged with developing cultural programs that address issues of labor, human rights, and the environment stemming from historic and present-day US military activities, particularly the nuclear weapons program. Co-directed by a humanities scholar, an artist, and an environmental justice activist, the agency works in collaboration with the grassroots organizations and affected individuals already involved in contesting and reforming the government’s land and legacy stewardship practices. More


ARTIST: Kenneth Pietrobono

Proposal for the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior National Mall & Memorial Parks

Considering the mission of the National Park Service to “honor our nation’s history…” and “…recognize and promote local history,” and the status of the rose as a national symbol, I propose the creation of a federally funded “National Rose Garden” within the National Mall. Given the power of the National Mall as a setting to “celebrate the United States commitment to freedom and equality,” all hybrids would be given names that reflect the systems and policies we cultivate in this country in the name of and denial of ‘freedom and equality.’ The roses would serve as reflections of the American landscape as it is actually encountered as opposed to its idyllic re-telling. More


ARTIST: Casey Lance Brown

THICK-BORDER:  Building the Military-Environmental Complex ©

Proposal:  Militarization as Transitional Phase

All public lands along the U.S./Mexican border should be temporarily transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.  Border lands would be closed to both immigrants and the public, with the exception of a few select public education visits (to be determined by annual lottery).  The ultimate ecological benefits would accumulate over a trial phase of one generation (20 year period).  The most highly prized habitat will later be transferred back to the public land agencies once the immigration issue has been solved either through new legislation or evolved economic conditions. More

ARTIST: Janet Goldner

My residency seeks to address the discrepancy between policy makers and administrators and the people addressed by the policy.  My idea comes from my many years of working in West Africa and thus is addressed first and foremost to the Department of State and others who work abroad.  It may be equally valid for other agencies who work both abroad and domestically. More


ARTIST: Nicole Wilson


National Debt Project


I began the National Debt Project on August 31, 2009.  Since then, I have sent the change that I have found during previous day Certified Mail through the United States Postal Service to the Bureau of the Public Debt to help fund the National Deficit.  If I do not find any change, then I send a penny of my own.  I copy President Barack Obama on all of my letters and I post all correspondence online at More


ARTIST: Roland Schmidt


The emergence of a more nomadic, interconnected and decentralized lifestyle, demands a more democratic, flexible and efficient approach to global migration. The current governmental policies regarding migration still reflect the model of the decaying industrial-age, that of a separated world based on boarders, national states and institutionalized decision making.

P2P-I wants to give you back the decision where and for how long you want to stay, starting with the TRANSFERABLE RESIDENCE PERMIT PROGRAM (TRPP). TRPP makes your residence-permit of your home country a transferable good within a democratic, self-determined process, which you can exchange with others on your personal demands. It allows you to replace the engagement with an anonymous, bureaucratic apparatus with a personal, one-to-one-relationship you establish and govern. More

ARTIST: Sarah Ross

Department of Creative Survival
What is the effect of mass incarceration and what is the outcome of time spent caged in small places, often in rural towns?  Among other things, incarcerated people hone skills, become resourceful, and tap their creative spirit. Malcolm X wrote revolutionary books, Stan Tookie Williams wrote childrens’ books and Donny Johnson painted using the pigment of M and M’s. The creative and revelatory skills of people who have survived prison is an asset that must be harnessed. Thus, the Department of Creative Survival is an agency that is managed by and employs people formerly incarcerated in state and federal prisons. The Department finds creative solutions for those in need of jobs, housing, clothing and food. DCS works one on one with those in need, working to rebuild communities using creative and often unconventional strategies for survival. More

ARTIST: Patty Harris

Artist in Residence for The Bureau of the Public Debt

As the Artist in Residence for the Bureau of the Public Debt, I will try to create solutions that would enable individuals to pay down their debt while performing some type of community service. In this way, people might receive a helping hand from the government while contributing to their local community. In essence, this would be a barter system. An individual credit card debt would be gradually eroded through service to the community. This give back program might include community gardens, classes on nutrition and healthcare, and teaching skills that are job-related such as computer software and accounting. More


ARTIST:  Jordan Clough

I propose the reuse of the modular wall system employed in Iraq, known as “t-walls”, for the building of infrastructure and public works. My proposal examines t-walls as the physical manifestation of a political situation, and therefore able to reflect political change by the nature of their reuse. To mitigate the enduring legacy of these ubiquitous concrete slabs, it is in our diplomatic interests to reuse these components for rebuilding.  The t-walls provide a sturdy, portable, and a standardized concrete set of building blocks with which to work. They embody large amounts of energy and materials already used in their production; reuse also has the opportunity to minimize the environmental impacts of concrete production. More


ARTISTS: Phenomena

Social Values and the Creative Act

In partnership with the United States Federal Government; Agency of International Development (USAID).

We will invite designers, artists and art therapists to design the ideal/model house for foster families to live in and successfully raise and educate the young people they take in from inadequate state orphanages. The concept house will be general and could be adapted for different countries and specific needs. This will give the children a chance at success in life that they would otherwise never get. After the house is built we will, through creative professionals, thinkers and art therapists focus on developing programs and support in teaching the children how to approach and solve problems and to express themselves visually. This will help to equip the foster children with the social and creative skills they will need to survive after the age of 16 when they leave care. More




Proposal from the members of TOOL:  Shirley Irons, Amy Finkbeiner, Clover Archer Lyle, Jen Nelson

This proposed residency with the USPS revolves around sending artworks to randomly chosen addresses with an invitation to send back a written reaction to the piece. By offering the opportunity to participate directly in creating a dialogue around the work we hope to develop a public art project that will connect on a more personal and intimate level. More


ARTIST: Matt Greco

USAC: United States Artist Corps

What if artists had a responsibility that reached past their personal concerns or designs for aggrandizement?  A responsibility that they had to meet with the same honor, fidelity, strength, determination and sacrifice that a soldier meets war with.  What if there were artist-soldiers and their life depended on their art, quite literally? More


ARTIST: Harout Simonian

This Is Not Political

Strategy, a word of military origin, refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal.
Building on the work of many thinkers on the subject, one can define strategy as “a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills – there have to be at least two sides to a conflict. These sides interact, and thus a Strategy will rarely be successful if it shows no adaptability. More