Public art is a form of art that is created for a public audience. This type of artwork can be sculptural, performance-based or digital.
The history of public art dates back to ancient times when statues were used as a way of communicating with the public. For example, in Roman culture, statues of emperors were placed throughout the city to communicate their status and power.
Over time, these sculptural works have evolved into a variety of styles and functions. Some sculptures serve as monuments or memorials to great leaders, and others serve a more subtle and personal purpose.
Other public art is made with the intention of reclaiming or redefining space. For example, Siah Armajani’s Bridge Over Tree in New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park aims to transform an existing structure into a work of art that reminds viewers of the importance of our natural environment.
Another popular type of public art is street or graffiti art. This is an artistic practice that involves a wide range of people from all walks of life, with artists ranging from young kids to professional writers.
While street and graffiti art is usually illegal in many cities, it can have a powerful effect on public perception. It is a way of speaking out against violence, and promoting social change.
It is also a way to beautify public spaces and promote a sense of place in cities, as well as providing a visual link between a city’s different neighborhoods.
Using the medium of street art can be a powerful way for artists to make a statement about social issues such as gender equality and toxic masculinity, and to promote female empowerment. A major example of this is Montreal-based artist MissMe, who creates unsanctioned artworks (typically wheat paste posters and stickers) in public spaces across the globe with the goal of promoting women’s rights and feminism.
This can be a positive and encouraging impact for communities that often feel isolated, anxious or uninformed. For instance, a study in London found that investing in public art could reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety among citizens.
Digital public art can include video played on outdoor screens, or computer-generated imagery (CGI) projected directly onto the surface of a building. Examples of this kind of artwork include the Gertrude Street Projection Festival in Melbourne, Australia, which focuses on light projections.
A permanent public artwork is one that is intended to last a long time, and can be made from a range of materials including bronze, marble and granite. These types of artworks are also more durable than other forms of art, such as murals, which can fade over time or be damaged by the elements.
The conservation of public art is an important issue for both the artists and the community. It is necessary to communicate between engineers, landscape designers and city officials about what maintenance needs to be done to a piece of artwork in order to keep it safe for generations to come. It is also crucial for public art to be created with the intention of lasting a long time, and to come with a written conservation plan.