Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Case for Public Art

It's 2010. The secular world is uber-rational and technological and the religious world is either so fundamentalist that they dramatically alienate sympathy or interest; or are so tolerant of everything as moral relativists, under a critical lens they stand for nothing... and so we are left to exist in a ubiquitous spiritual vacuity. There is a deeply conflicting standoff between rational secular and traditional religious positions, and modernity offers so little in the sense of personal meaning and can even block our access to a transcendental, communal experience that we are left with offers absent of personal meaning.
It is artists and their work that can open the door to a vast array of personal and traditional manifestations of the spirit and the human soul.
By allowing such oppurtunities, we enter a process of living within an environment that captures and reflects a feeling of meaning and offers a sense of direction. As enthusiasts and patrons of the Arts, we have a responsibility to provide content and experiences that are socially conscious to the needs of our community... the need to belong, the need to trust our past and the need for encouragement and inspiration to participate in a community that welcomes the values we define as those that have meaning (some traditional, some spiritual, and some progressive)... and not only inside temples or during "Social Cause" Awareness Week or the occassional Monday Observed Holiday, but on our way to work, on our way to lunch, or shopping, in our streets and parks, this Thursday at 2:30! ...and not in unattainble metaphors of esoteric grandeur but the humble charms in accessible, public forms; non-ironic, believing modes that we can approach to find encouragement and cognitive guidance through a faith in our community's compassion to offer place and charge of our environmental psychology... the type of art that capitalizes on our intelligence and appreciation for Art, Diversity and Taste and that is sympathetic to our desire for meaning and psychological health.
This is not a lofty ambition, but the criteria of a quality Art experience. Let us begin to define this criteria and make our ambitions tangible for the purpose of greater appreciation and respect so that as a community we can actually become what it is that we say we are, as well as what it is that we want to be... meaningful in the world.


  1. So what are the criteria??!?!

  2. I mention providing content that is accessible, conscious to the needs of the community, representing the values of the community, capitalizing on our intelligence and interest in a quality art experience. (What do we walk away from it with?) I think public art should be an emblem of progress that inspires civic pride, that the people are glad to have as part of the city. Dewey describes the art experience here.

    I think it's important that civic art is seen as appropriate, and not controversial... as the place controversial art is in the museum setting. I think that public art should engage people in the history of the city and pique their interest in becoming more aware of where they are and what they belong to.