What is Public Art?

Definition of Public Art - Public art is an artwork or art place that is created by an artist or designer, a group of artists and/or designers, or a collaboration between artists and/or designers for a specific site or place for the public to experience. Public art may include, but is not limited to, some of the following:

· architectural
· artisan, fine crafts
· commemorative
· decorative
· environmental, natural environment
· folk art inspired
· traditional folk art
· functional work
· kinetic, suspended work
· landscape design, gardens
· lighting treatments
· murals
· performance
· sound
· street activities and festivals
· wall, floor, plaza treatments
· water

Why focus on Public Art?

Public art is usually thought of as large sculptures or murals, but as pointed out, can include many forms of artistic expression.

It is essential that the importance of Public art be recognized and evaluated. Public art is especially important to the growth and development of the arts in South East Asia because of its direct contact to the public. It brings the art to the people. Where as art in galleries, museums or theatres requires the interest and cooperation of people before hand in order to experience the art; public art is more capable of bridging the gap between the artists, their art and the people.

In addition to this, public art, because it covers such a broad range of creative outputs, is a non-exclusive means of promoting and developing the arts. Performance artists, painters, sculptors, and all visual artists and designers all can be involved in public art and therefore are included when public art is considered.

There is also the need to address public art that relates to its site. Public art projects, which consider the environment in which it is displayed/installed. Site specific art, which considers the site and makes it essential in the process of the art making and the overall presentation and final exhibition of the piece(s). In regards to "positive examples", this type of public art proves to be the most successful in its implementation.

Key involvement of artists is essential. The artists directly involved with public art can offer first hand experience and insight. Siting examples of previous or
present public art projects that may or may not have been successful.

Attention must be given to the presence of social commentary in specific examples of public art, not excluding graffiti. Graffiti is often only viewed in a negative context and as a result its substantial contribution to public art is overlooked. Graffiti should not necessarily fall under the label of vandalism. Graffiti is a powerful example of a specific type of visual language. It can be used just like all other forms of public art, yet because of it's visual context it is more useful in challenging specific ideas, of society and art.

Encourage corporate and private interest in the commissioning and/or funding of public art. Highlight the benefits: The Public art resulting, not only boosts the reputation of the artists involved, but also the corporate/private sponsor. It improves the space or area in which the piece is displayed.

Through this the creation of a network of public art artists is possible with a list of artists available for commissions as well as artists who do public art for "art's sake". Give public art a platform from which to throw its voice. Give the artists a way of connection or outlet as well as a way of connecting with one another.

In summary the programme goals are:
*To promote public appreciation of the arts, by highlighting local sites through artworks.
*To involve the average person in the making of public art, that is specific to their community.
*To involve communities in local art projects in ways that respect the creative role of artists or other design professionals, and respects the diversity of cultures and interests of the specific community.
*To encourage the creation of permanent artworks having both artistic merit and community benefit.