Public art refers to art in any form presented in public spaces. Public art is sometimes created with its final location in mind, while some does not refer to any particular place, and can be found in both outdoor settings and indoor settings. It can include a variety of creations, from murals and mosaics to sculptures and monuments to architectural works and earthworks. Some public art is temporary, while some is permanent; but it is always free to view and accessible to all. Public art engages people outside of the more standard places where art is usually found–galleries and museums.
Public art serves many purposes. Sometimes it is commissioned and installed to contribute to the aesthetics of the environment, to commemorate significant people or events that occurred in or around the location, or to represent the identity and/or spirit of the local community. It might also serve to educate those who experience it. Sometimes an artist petitions his or her city through its planning department to create and install a public artwork. If there is a public art program in the city, the artist’s petition is reviewed and granted if it meets certain standards or requirements. In this way, the artist can present his or her vision to the public as an expression of some idea or as a kind of visual call-to-action. Public art often provokes thought, encourages communication, or inspires civic engagement.
Public art has been found to provide a positive impact on communities by supporting economic growth and sustainability, attachment and cultural identity, artists as contributors, social cohesion and cultural understanding, and public health and belonging.
Public art is valuable. It provides economic benefits in terms of boosts to jobs/employment and increases in tourism. Moreover, it helps create relationships between visual arts and daily life. Public art has the power to transform communities, imbuing a greater sense of well-being to citizens throughout the area.
For more information regarding public art, here are some resources to consult:
- “Public Art” from Wikipedia
- “What is public art?” from Association for Public Art
- “Public Art” from Encyclopedia of Art
- “Public Art” from The Art Story
- “Why Public Art Matters” from the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council
The Naples Art District, a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, is home to the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. The 90+ fine artists who maintain their professional studios and galleries in the Naples Art District share their talents with one another and with the public during open studio times and a variety of events presented by the organization. If you would like more information about the Naples Art District, please don’t hesitate to contact the organization directly, either via the online form on the official website or by phone or email.