Public art is an important art genre because it engages audiences beyond the walls of museums. It can address a wide range of public concerns, such as traffic safety, social isolation, and transportation issues. In many cases, public art is funded by government-sponsored programs. These are generally based on a general theme, such as promoting arts education.
Public art can be any form of artwork that is displayed in a public space. Some examples of this type of art include murals, sculptures, and installations. A variety of materials can be used, including paper, chalk, chalkboards, and even plants. Static or permanent public artwork is generally made from durable materials, such as bronze or aluminium. Temporary or ephemeral public art includes projects such as performances, installations, and video.
The definition of public art varies widely depending on the context. While some public art can be created to serve as a political statement, other works are purely aesthetic. Regardless of the form, the goal is to engage and connect with the general public. Many artists have taken the concept of public art further by incorporating sustainability into their works.
Interactive public art can incorporate a variety of elements, such as music, water, and light. It encourages viewers to take a more hands-on approach to the art. Often, a piece of public art can also help to improve a community’s social standing.
During the 1970s, public art began to shift its focus from aesthetic to more social and political. Several artists began to challenge the status of art as a commodity. They also revised concepts of sculpture. One such project is Another View Site 17, a bronze sculpture that depicts the Koorie creation story of Karak Gurok. This artwork was originally installed on a water source tank in Haryana, India.
Other artists created dialogical works, which seek to promote open discussion and social engagement. Siah Armajani’s Bridge Over Tree, which was installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park, is a good example of interactive public art. Similarly, MissMe, which features portraits of strong women of color, aims to raise awareness about toxic masculinity.
Historically, public art has been used to highlight the achievements of individuals and communities. It has also been a tool of propaganda. During the civil rights movement, the notion of a public space as a democratic canvas emerged. By using the public’s resources to fund the creation of artworks, the city could enhance public interest in its buildings, streets, and parks.
Another important factor in the development of public art is local government sanction. If a piece of public art is not approved, the community may not see it. Hence, if a city decides to invest in public art, it should do so with a well-thought-out plan. Depending on the needs and interests of the community, public art can be crafted in a number of ways.
Public art is not only beautiful, it can provide a sense of community ownership to people in urban areas. The community-building powers of public art can help combat social isolation and anxiety.