2014.03.26  Art for Public Spaces – Why Do Cities Need Public Art?

A recent study by Americans for the Arts reported that each year the government provides four billion dollars to nonprofit arts organizations. In return, the arts industry generates nearly 30 billion dollars in revenue. Undoubtedly, cities are recognizing that public art is a driving force in the economy. Although it’s difficult to isolate the monetary impacts of public art, the social and cultural effects are invaluable. Public art enhances and often creates the identity of public spaces. It transforms cities as well as the way people recognize and contemplate the world around them. It has become an essential tool for making cities stand out and attract new businesses and young professionals. The fellowship study focused on New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle, all of which have “percent for art” programs. The resulting book, Art for Public Spaces, is intended to be a working tool for designers, with information regarding the process for commissioning art for both private and public entities. The desire is to create more awareness of project typologies, artists, and cultural organizations to help streamline the inclusion process and minimize individual research time.