Monday, 4 April 2011

What is Public Art?

When asked this question most often people will give examples of monuments or sculptures from their home towns. These are good benchmark examples but they are not the only form that public art can take. In the past, the role of the artist in the public realm was restricted to providing finished studio sculptures in pre-designated spaces around a building site. In recent years, there has been a significant paradigm shift in what constitutes public art. Recent developments in public art include the inclusion of performance art, light, sound, artist’s collaborations in designed environments, video, the written word, text messaging and interactive communications. Site interpretation and integration, as well as advances in building technologies, such as rounded surfaces and integrated LED screens, have also changed how public art is practiced. The common element that unites each of these artistic forms is in their ability to act as public stimulators of the mind by creating dialogue surrounding public art.

Over the last three decades, public art has allowed visual artists to play a significant role in the creation of appealing and exciting public spaces. This is due in large part to the proliferation of municipally-sponsored public art programs which support interdisciplinary design teams that now include artists. Subsequently, public art is included into the broader context of urban and infrastructure design objectives.

When we focus our attention on our Municipality one realizes that we have only a few examples of Public Art available. For example, over the past few years the Municipality has seen some amazing initiatives in the area of Placemaking and beautification which are both intrinsically related to Public Art. We have an opportunity to continue this growth and increase public ownership of community identity through the development of a Public Art Program.  For more information about the structure and development of our own unique Municipal Public Art Program, attend the Public Art Action Forum on April 14, 2011.

For more information click here to visit the Municipal Website of the Public Art Action Forum

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

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