Art in Public Spaces
The Statue of Liberty. The Eiffel Tower. The Gardens of Versailles. The Federation Bells.
These landmarks engender a sense of pride and civic identity. They reach audiences outside of museums, galleries and theaters – enhancing our experience by adding beauty to everyday life and helping define our shared culture.
Encompassing a wide variety of creative expressions, public art fulfills a multitude of functions within the public realm. It fosters community dialogue and provides opportunities for self-expression, education and enjoyment. From memorials and historic monuments to contemporary installations, art can provoke profound changes on a person’s mental being and the environmental aesthetics.
While the classic images of grand works of static bronze or monolithic stone structures have an established place in the artistic lexicon, they encompass only a portion of contemporary public art. Today’s graphic centerpieces have moved beyond permanence and solidity – engaging others as part of the process. We salute this paradigm in which designers welcome the opportunity to work with communities to expose places for new interpretations.
Amid multi-dimensional typologies, modern art ranges from site-based to more performative works that explore dynamic movement and serve as place-makers and community enhancers. Implementation of this artistic interpretation reaches beyond traditional statues, sculptures and paintings to the integration of architectural components as well as landscape and hardscape elements such as fountains, gardens, paving patterns and site furnishings.
For EDSA, the integration of art is about more than placing objects in the urban or rural landscape. An overall sense of beauty and experience takes center stage so that social and cultural harmony co-exist within evocative places. A great public space is not only inviting but allows for programming and activities around artful forms that results in a multi-use destination. It is about blending forms, materials, colors and textures to enhance the physical environment with design elements that celebrate and transform a place.
As society and its modes of expression evolve, so too will our definition of public art. Materials and methods will change to reflect contemporary culture. Considerations for maintenance, accessibility, connectivity, visibility and experience will continue to influence location and placement of installations.
The reach and influence of art on people and communities is powerful. By instilling passion and meaning into what and why we design a space supported by art – a renewed interpretation for how we work, play, learn and live can be attained. This requires a commitment to invention, innovation, boldness and cooperation. In the end, the process and outcome should aspire an imaginative and productive affinity between artist, place and community.