Public art is any piece of art that is meant to be seen by the general public. It is an art genre all its own, with its own critical and professional discourse. The main difference between public art and other forms of art is their intended audience. In most cases, public art is intended to enhance a community, not just the art of a private artist.
Public art can take many forms, including painting, sculpture, and architecture. The most common form of public art is a sculpture. Other forms of public art include textiles, terrazzo floors, etched glass, and other materials. Decorative elements such as fences and stair railings can also be considered public art.
Many public art installations are interactive, involving a public participation process. These installations can involve various forms of communication, such as audio or video. Some artists use vehicles, projection, print, and other mobile means of communication to interact with the public. This type of public art also creates jobs in the creative industries. Artists may create public art pieces based on a broad audience or in response to a public or private call for works of art.
Public art requires maintenance. Artists who win a commission must sign contracts and obtain insurance to fabricate and install the artwork. They also need to provide a one-year warranty to cover any repairs that might occur. In addition, public art installations must be maintained by the owner. The artist must also complete a conservation report, which outlines the materials and processes used for the art installation. This information is essential when the artwork is to be kept in a public space for a long time.
Public art is intended to beautify public space. It can be decorative or functional, and it can be made from many types of materials. Usually, public art is commissioned for a particular location. Civic statues, monuments, and memorials are examples of public art. It is also a form of civic protest.
Public art is an important way to beautify a public space, commemorate important individuals, and engage the public in playful ways. The themes and styles of public art can be as varied as a community’s ethos. These projects are also often site-specific, which makes them ideal for a variety of purposes. They can include murals, statues, digital new media, performances, festivals, and more.
Digital public art often involves video projections and other forms of digital media. Some artists focus on light mapping, which allows them to custom-tailor projections to architectural features. The Gertrude Street Projection Festival showcases works created using this technique. Another example is Nick Azidis’ work on a high-rise block of flats.
Public art projects are usually funded by public money. Therefore, there is an implied responsibility for accountability. A public art contract should contain clear guidelines on how to maintain the piece. The contract should state the type of artwork, the deadline for installation, liability and insurance, and responsibilities for maintenance.