How Public Art Benefits a Community
Public art can serve a variety of purposes, including beautifying spaces, commemorating important people and events, and reflecting a community’s ethos. It can also foster civic engagement.
It can also boost local economies and create cultural tourism opportunities. Research shows that public art can benefit communities in several ways. These benefits include placemaking, society, culture, and economy.
Creates a sense of belonging
Public art can be found in a variety of forms, from murals to sculptures and even interactive art projects. It can inspire a sense of belonging and promote cultural value and identity, and it can connect people to the community through a shared experience.
Besides creating a sense of place, public art also provides economic benefits for local communities. It can boost local businesses, as well as foster tourism and attract new residents to the area. For example, the popular lion and fish body artwork called Merlion in Singapore has become a symbol of the city’s culture and heritage.
Research on public art impacts focuses on themes such as placemaking, society, culture, economy, and sustainability. In addition to bringing beauty and meaning, public art can also serve as a tool for social activism or civic engagement. Moreover, community-engaged art can bring people together and improve their health and wellbeing. However, this type of art has more challenges in terms of evaluation than other types of public art.
Enhances social cohesion
Public art instils meaning, improves quality of life and enhances social connectivity in the community. It humanizes cities and places, animates their built environment, connects past, present and future and cultivates civic pride. It can also promote sustainable living, highlight ecological values and encourage social action.
These benefits can be boosted when public art includes participation from local residents in planning, selection, creation and installation. Participation can create a sense of ownership and discourage vandalism, while amplifying the positive effects on beautification, safety, tourism and economic development.
Additionally, participatory public art can increase community members’ understanding of how artworks reflect neighborhood culture and history. It can also promote inclusion and decrease stigma toward individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues. Some examples include the Porch Light program in Philadelphia, which brings together neighbors and people with behavioral health challenges to paint murals together. Its evaluation project found improved neighborhood safety and a reduction in stigma towards people with mental health or substance abuse challenges.
Creates a sense of community pride
Public art cultivates a community’s cultural identity, making people feel attached and proud of the place they live. It also inspires visitors to identify with the community, bringing in economic growth and sustainability.
Moreover, public art is accessible to the entire population of the town, eliminating class barriers that prevent people from experiencing culture. Additionally, public art often makes a statement about a particular topic and is often photographed and shared on social media, allowing it to spread beyond the boundaries of a locality.
As such, public art can help a community build pride by celebrating their culture and history and highlighting its current successes. It can even boost the resilience of neighborhoods that experience natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires by transforming them into beautiful spaces. Denver Public Art, for instance, appoints selection committees with a balance of formal arts expertise and local residents to ensure community participation. This allows community members to be more responsive to the art and helps them create a more personal experience of it.
Creates a sense of place
Public art can take many forms, from murals to sculptures and fountains. It can be integrated into the architecture of a space or stand alone and it can also be permanent or temporary. Public artworks can be a great way to promote a city and can inspire a sense of place for visitors.
The public art industry is gaining in popularity with more city leaders and residents embracing the value of urban public art. It can inspire pride, cultural identity, and social cohesion. Additionally, it can encourage tourism and economic vitality.
Public art can be a powerful tool for a community, but it must be designed with the needs of the community in mind. Many cities now include local residents in the selection process for public art, including a balance of individuals with formal arts expertise and those who live or work in the area. This helps to ensure that the public art is sensitive to the local context and culture.