Not sure if I’m getting the verbiage right, but I love public art. And after last summer’s travels, I almost feel like an authority on the subject. Our first stop in our journey was Vancouver, British Columbia, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Talk about a city that loves its heritage. Public art is everywhere. Cool stuff, too, like totem poles, abstract structures, rock mascots and even buddhas. I know. Big variety. I loved it. Walking through Stanley Park was like an interactive game!
As we walked around the city, I began to feel rather jealous of my fellow countryman’s dedication to the arts but given that Vancouver recently had their city displayed on the worldwide stage was probably the impetus to many of the pieces. Still, they did it.
Visiting Florence and Rome was an overload for all my senses. Some good and some bad (but I don’t need to go into that). The city of Florence is one big display of public art, from the shop windows, gelato displays to the awe inspiring architecture. Just plain gorgeous. Rome? Same thing, except with way too many people and men in costumes.
My beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara, California has touches of public art. There is the dolphin fountain at the harbor and a rainbow tunnel-like structure (no one really knows what it’s called) at the waterfront, but aside from the original spanish architecture, Santa Barbara doesn’t seem to encourage public art. Although, now that I said this, I must tour around with a more vigilant eye and see what I can find.
Public art makes the statement that everything is as it should be: balanced. My little public school in a suburb of Santa Barbara (Goleta) promotes public art by allowing me to create a ceramic tile mural with the graduating 6th grade class. The murals feel like a breath of fresh air, a bold brushstroke in the landscape of our campus.
So I ask you. Is there public art in your community?