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.
Public art encompasses a wide variety of creative expressions and fulfills a multitude of functions within the public sphere. It provides opportunities for artistic self-expression, community dialogue, education and enjoyment. From memorials and historical monuments to contemporary installations, art can provoke profound change in both the mental and physical environment.
While the classic images of grand works of static bronze or monolithic stone structures have a well-established place in the artistic lexicon, they encompass only a portion of what is regarded as contemporary public art. With multi-dimensional typologies, the definition of public art is evolving. Ranging from site-based art to more performative works that explore dynamic movement, modem art forms are widely used as place-makers and community enhancers.
For EDSA, the integration of art is about more than placing objects in the urban or rural landscape. It is about blending forms, structures, materials, colors and textures to enhance the physical environment with design elements that celebrate and transform a place. Considerations for maintenance, accessibility, connectivity, visibility and experience greatly influence location and placement of such installations.
A great public space is not only inviting, but allows for development of social activities around artful forms that result in a multi-use destination. Public art has moved beyond that of permanence and solidity, seeking to engage the community as a part of the process. We salute this contemporary paradigm in which designers welcome the opportunity to work with communities that expose places for new interpretations.
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. In turn, the process, guided by professional expertise and public involvement, should aspire to an imaginative and productive affinity between artist and community. This requires a commitment to invention, innovation, boldness and cooperation.
The reach and influence of art on communities and neighborhoods can be powerful. In the end, creating memorable art experiences enhances social and cultural harmony and brings a level of excitement that is associated with evocative places.
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