Art for the People, By the People
Face it, a lot of artwork is done in solitude by artists you’ll never meet in person, owned by persons of means, and almost always costs something in time money or distance for the rest of us to view. The great exception to this rule is public art.
Public art can take many forms and involve the place in which, and for which, it is created in various ways. Many schools and youth organizations have programs for kids to participate in the creation of a work that will be installed in a local city park or garden for all to enjoy. Not only does this keep young minds and hands engaged in a positive way and give them a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it beautifies public spaces and reaffirms a sense of community.
The same can be said for outdoor statues or murals which cities or private organizations commission established artists to create, turning empty plazas into sculpture parks, blank walls to vast canvases, and giving neglected neighborhoods a fresh look and fresh hope for longtime residents. It also gives the community a chance to watch the work unfold, speak to the artist, perhaps even volunteer their time or other resources, further establishing a sense of engagement and ownership.
Recently, I had the privilege of assisting Peruvian artist Persi Narvaez on a mural in the heart of downtown Rutland, VT. Persi is the current artist-in-residence at The Chaffee Art Center, who with others, helped fund the project. The photos in this post show its progress over several weeks. Passersby seemed to enjoy the process and will hopefully enjoy the final product, which is now a permanent fixture of their daily landscape.
Public art can be a great part of our lives whether we are participants or just observers. Just try to imagine not seeing that favorite piece of outdoor art you walk by every day.
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.
- A wall that speaks (thehindu.com)
- Brazilian Street Art in Boston (boston.com)
- Mural Conservancy: Here’s How to Get the Mural Ordinance Right (kcet.org)