Public art is a form of art that is installed in public spaces. The creation of these artworks can take years and involves a lot of people. The artist or artists, architects, designers, local residents, politicians, arts agencies, and construction teams work together on a public art project. Contemporary public artwork is often protected by the community that commissions it, while older works are often sold in private collections.
One of the most famous public artworks is the Cloud Gate in Chicago. The sculpture is a tourist attraction and has become a symbol for the city. Its unveiling was celebrated by local jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis, who composed a song called “Fanfare for the Cloud Gate.” The artwork encourages viewers to think about nature and to be inspired by it.
Another piece of public art that is important to the community is the Apollo Pavilion. This work by the English artist Victor Pasmore is a prime example. It has become a subject of controversy among local politicians and groups over its governance and allocation of resources. However, artists have mounted a campaign to help restore its reputation and to raise awareness. A video installation by Jane and Louise Wilson at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Peterlee in 2003 was one of the first steps in this effort. Another example of an innovative public art project is the WikiProject Public art project, which began in 2009. This project relies on temporary student contributions to document public art from around the world.
In addition to the traditional site-based public art projects, some artists have also created expanded-site projects. These often involve a variety of media, including video, print, and dispersed forms of communication. These projects are often accompanied by public art programming that creates jobs in the creative industry. This includes artists, engineers, and community-based artists.
Another type of public art is called integrated art. It combines a public artwork with another structure, such as street paving, sculptural seating, or artist-designed glazing. One such example is the Ontario Science Centre fountain, which was made to look like an instrument. The water jets in the fountain are programmed to produce sound, and users can manipulate them to play the music. Another example of an interactive public art is the Century of Light, which is an outdoor mandala of lights that reacts to sound and movement.
Public art often serves as the first exposure to art for many people. It also inspires the next generation of artists. It can also serve as a catalyst for social change. Social activists have used public art to protest against taboos around homosexuality and AIDS. It can also be a platform for artists to memorialize loved ones or critique social issues.
Some public art is permanent and can last centuries. The most permanent pieces are usually statues or sculptures that have been cast in bronze or marble. One of the oldest examples of this kind of public art is the Burke and Wills Monument in Melbourne, Australia, which was sculpted by Charles Summers. This work was moved five times before being permanently installed.