What is Public Art?

Richard Serra, Tilted Arc, 1981 (removed in 1989), New York, USA, (Source: Tate UK)

What is Public Art?

“Public art is an umbrella term which includes any work of art purchased with public funds, or which comes into the public domain (by donation, or by public display, etc.) irrespective of where it is situated in the community, or who sees it.” (Source: Visual Arts Cork)

Public art is often site-specific, usually created in response to the space and neighborhoods which it inhabits. It often interprets the history of the location, its community, and most likely concentrates on a social or environmental issue. The public artwork may be created in collaboration with the community, reflecting the ideas and values of those for whom it’s created. Presently, public art can take a wide range of forms, sizes, and scale and can be temporary or permanent. Public art can include murals, sculpture and memorials, integrated architectural or landscape architectural work, community art and even digital new media. (Research: Americans for the Arts)

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004, Chicago, USA (Source: Artnet)

Is Public art always accessible?

Public art is free and accessible to everyone. It creates a intensified awareness in the viewer of the location and the broader context of what exists around them. It aims to instill an understanding of the site while creating a remarkable experience.

Chintan Upadhaya, The Baby’s Head, 2014, Mumbai, India (Source: The Wire)

Whom does Public Art exist for?

Public art aims to create a common ground for a diverse society wherein the site-specific work becomes a part of the community. However, art cannot appeal to each and every viewer but public art aspires to impart a sense of identity and comprehension of shared history.

Kala Ghoda Staute depicting King Edward VII, Earlier placed in Kala Ghoda art district but presently in the Byculla Zoo, Mumbai, India (Source: Kala Ghoda Project)

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There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts.

John F. Kennedy