Public art can be found in every corner of cities across America. These pieces of art, both the big and the small, are created in a spirit of celebration and community. Just like the pieces of art hanging in a museum, public art has the power to spark conversation, bridge the gap, and even drive tourism. This is why there are so many groups and programs tasked with promoting local talent and engaging the community, this includes the Public Art Program with the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.
Public art can take several forms. From sculptures in a garden to giant canvases on the side of a building, the work typically celebrates our public history, ever-changing culture, pays tribute to a local hero or mantra, or informs civic memory.
As time moves around the unchanging art, one can reflect on the place and time in history and remember what was happening in the world or their community and on who they were then. These pieces of public art help us to connect with our memories and keep us from forgetting cherished times or a hard truth.
Like all forms of art, the public art scene in Dallas brings forward a variety of opinions about each piece of work. Acting as a conversation starter, residents can express what is meaningful and valuable to them whether through an Instagram photo or a public forum, providing an opportunity to build a stronger community.
A city with public art values and invests in its diversity, identity, and future. This is why, subconsciously or not, communities with public art see higher populations. This is not exclusive to residential numbers either, but public art helps to drive the tourism industry. According to a study conducted by Americans for the Arts, 35.5 million adults say that an art or cultural heritage related event influenced their choice of destination for their travels.
Dallas has a long-standing history of public art. The city-appointed the first Public Art Coordinator government position in 1984. Since then, many beautiful pieces have appeared downtown, at Fair Park, across college campuses, and everywhere in between.
What is your favorite piece of art and why?