For a long-time, I never really understood public art or its importance. But it’s seriously underrated and we should have more of it than we already do.
Neighborhood Talking Point
I live in a big neighborhood. I don’t know everyone. But I guarantee that everyone near this one street has walked past the “giant red swoopy looking thing.” And everyone knows about the super-tall mural woman off Interstate 20. It’s like the weather – something that provides a basic common denominator among everyone who lives in a place. At minimum, it’s a talking point (the giant red swoopy thing). But at their best, they can be a source of pride (Eiffel Tower).
Creates a Destination
“Walking around in a giant circle” sounds weird and is not appealing. “Walking to the Iron Horse and back” sounds like an interesting, healthy, and free way to spend some time. I don’t know why this works in the brain, but it does. And public art is a cheap way to create a destination.
You Gotta Bet To Win
Sometimes, a city or neighborhood will put up some public art and it will take on a life of its own. It will become an installation or attraction. People will come from all over the world to see it. In Atlanta, the city designated a tunnel as a designated graffiti area. There is a ton of public art…and now it’s become a thing on the world circuit. But you can’t have something famous until you give it a shot.
Track down a list of public art installations and use it as an excuse to see different parts of your city.