Public art has a variety of purposes. While some are intended to entertain, others are primarily used for education and other functions. Regardless of their function, these works should be free to the public and accessible. The public should also have access to them, and many artists are incorporating sustainable practices into their work. In addition to being educational, public art can be a form of environmental activism. Here are some examples of the various types of public art that you can find in your area.
One of the most useful ways to discover new public art is to browse online publications about public art. Many public art programs have created online digital maps, smartphone apps, and databases of their collections. Many of these databases allow you to search by city and state to find artwork in your area. For more information, consider setting up Google Alerts or Yahoo! Alerts and receiving a weekly or monthly email of public art-related articles. These services will alert you to any new articles and publications relating to public art in your area.
Interactive public art encourages direct interaction and can include light, video, or water. The Ontario Science Centre fountain is an example of interactive public art. It encourages people to create sounds by blocking water jets, or the water can be played through sound-producing mechanisms. Jim Pallas’ Century of Light (1994-1998) was a large outdoor mandala made of lights that reacted to sound, movement, and other factors. Unfortunately, the century-old work was destroyed 25 years after it was installed.
Another method of implementing public art is to contact artists directly and request applications. Many public art programs conduct open competitions or limited competitions to select artwork. For the latter, they distribute a call for proposals (RFQ) or a request for proposals (RFP) and select artists through a process known as limited competition. In addition to this, the public art program may also include a public art academy. The academy accepts only 20 students, and the successful candidate will receive a public art opportunity.
The role of public art has varied greatly over the last century. In the twentieth century, political developments have pushed public art’s use for propaganda. In Soviet Russia, for example, Joseph Stalin launched the Socialist Realism art movement in 1927. His aim was to glorify the communist regime’s achievements. By contrast, the works of art that were created during the Cultural Revolution were created to protest political authority. These works were conceived as an alternative to the traditional art of the past.
The process of creating public art requires a public-private partnership. Municipalities often use the Percent for Art Scheme to fund their public art projects. This approach involves reserving a certain percentage of the construction costs for public art. This money then funds the creation of artwork and displays it for the public to enjoy. The art manager oversees the installation process, oversees the final payment, and evaluates whether the artwork is vandalized or easy to repair.