"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."
Stephen Manka graduated from Miami University in 1993 with a Bachelors of Environmental Design. She completed course work in Printmaking at the University of South Florida in 1997 and earned her Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from Kent State University in 2002. He has had commisions for Playhouse Station Luminaries Project - GCRTA, Industrial Pavilions - Superior Avenue Public Art, Butterfly Fountain (Columbus, OH), Cedar Fairmount Public Art Investigation, Playhouse Square North Façade Treatment, Shaker Landscape Installation and Ecological Fence – Cleveland Environmental Center. He has also been selected for various awards and honors, including ASLA Landscape Design Award, Superior Avenue Public Art Competition (winning submission), RTA Euclid Corridor Public Art Competition (winning submission), Columbus Sculpture Competition (winning submission), Circle to the Lake Charette (invited participant), RTA University Circle Public Art – Rodin's feet (finalist), Food Bank wall competition (finalist), and Cleveland Public Art Signage (finalist).