Need new bus stops, street lights or maybe a library? Before going to the standard options think about hiring an artist. Public art can be both functional and thought provoking, enhancing a town’s look while helping to employ local artisans. In Cleveland, Ohio they are doing just that. In the Gordon Square Arts Districts street benches and bus stops are taking on a new look. The artwork will take the place of the usual familiar structures and help add even more character to an already artistic area of town.
Example of a Gordon Square bus shelter.
Public art is not just limited to art districts though. In Waterbury, Vt. the state’s forensic lab has reached out to the public for art suggestions. As part of a recently renovated facility even a scientific lab is looking for art to display inside and outside the facility.
A different project in Cleveland is centered on making the old new again. As part of a plan funded by the 1935 Works Progress Administration Cleveland created a series of animal statues to display in the Tremont community. Round and short they became the perfect toy for neighborhood children and they remain there to this day, yet with the wear and tear of decades of loving children. In an effort to update these statues they will be remodeled and then spread beyond the Tremont community so all of Cleveland can benefit from these whimsical statues.
Children with one of the original animal sculptures in the Tremont community.
In Albuquerque, N.M. public art has been a very important part of their community since the late 70’s. It proudly shares that 1% of their budget will go to public art works each year. You can see some of their successful projects over the years here. A similar program exists in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where public input is a central part of their Visual Arts Commission.
Walking bridge in Alexandria, Va.
See ICMA for even more stories about successful public art projects:
For even more information you can visit the Knowledge Network Topic page for Arts and Culture.