Don Kennell and Lisa Adler fell in love. Then they made an art car. Then they had a couple of babies. They both did their graduate work at Rutgers University, he in art, she in the social sciences. This was in the nineties. They have been collaborators ever since. Love is a founding principle of their partnership and of the company that they run today. Don and Lisa’s first art collaboration was an art car commissioned by “Art Matters” of New York City. This interactive, mobile art event traveled the country in the summer of 1995. The art car was an experiment in making a community out of strangers. As we passed through town after city after town, we met people, took their picture with the art car, developed the film (the old days!) and mailed out the pictures as postcards to our audience.
Don and Lisa moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2000. We wanted to raise our family close to wide-open spaces and to be in a city with a thriving arts community. Don maintained a career as an artist and Lisa taught at the College of Santa Fe while they both raised their daughters. In the early 2000’s Lisa led a number of community initiatives that connected students with local businesses, nonprofits, and community development projects. During this time, Don and Lisa co-taught classes on the intersection of art and society.
DKLA Design was incorporated in 2015. Don makes design drawings and leads the fabrication crew. Lisa focuses on community engagement. Our designs draw people in, to develop a relationship that connects the viewer to the place and the art becomes a part of a person’s experience. This synergy between the location, the artwork, and the viewer is significant. It is the goal of public art: to bring art into peoples’ lives.