Cubed artists can take inspiration from Early Learning City

Artists at the CUBED public art display at Foo Foo Festival in downtown Pensacola.

Who knew public art could be part of an Early Learning City?

Evan Levin and Ashton Howard did. They conceived of the idea for Cubed, as part of Foo Foo Festival, as 12-day event that promotes and support arts and cultural events.

Artists at the Cubed public art display at Foo Foo Festival in downtown Pensacola.

As they shared with the Pensacola News Journal,

Cubed also carries a subtext of public service that the artists have the option to include in their work.

“We wanted the installation to incorporate with something else that’s local and inspire other artists,” Levin said. I’ll have my surreal characters in the usual surreal world I create. It will be a parent and child interacting in their environment, and engaged in their surroundings.”

Howard and Levin gave artists the option to draw upon the idea of the importance of early language exposure and brain development for their work, as reflected in the Studer Community Institute’s partnership with the University of Chicago’s Thirty Million Words Initiative.

The Initiative takes a public health approach to the important role that parent talk and interaction play in the development of a child’s brain in the first three years of life. TMW is a research project that creates educational and intervention tools to teach parents to harness the power of early language exposure to wire a child’s brain.

The words, tone and interactions children experience before age 4 are tremendously influential — 85 percent of the human brain develops by age 3. Research shows that the strength of the connections formed in that time influence a child’s likelihood of being ready for kindergarten and build the basis for reading skills children will develop in school.


Artists at the CUBED public art display at Foo Foo Festival in downtown Pensacola.

Levin said that after Foo Foo ends, the cubes will be moved to the new Museum Plaza behind the T.T. Wentworth Museum, where they will be on display until the duo start to prepare for Cubed 2018.

“Once we are ready to put new boards on the frames, the existing murals will be removed from the frames and placed around town,” Levin said. “The (Downtown Improvement Board) has already expressed interest in placing some of them in certain locations downtown.”