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Public Art

Back to Dig Art! Activities

photographer1Some people believe that art should be in a gallery, so that it can be viewed by the public. There is also a private place for art, so that it can transform personal spaces and be appreciated as a personal art object.

More recently, cities have begun to make public art part of their beautification projects. Do you have an idea about how they might integrate the use of plants into this endeavor?

Take Dig Art! one step further and bring it into your community! Through combining the arts with plants and gardens, this would be the ultimate community beautification project!

Benefits of Public Art

  • Youth gain a sense of pride by displaying their work in a public exhibit.
  • It brings community together in celebration.
  • It helps to beautify a city.
  • It reclaims public spaces for community sharing, learning, and celebration.

Planning a Public Art Exhibit with Youth

  • Choose an exhibit location in your community:

As a group, brainstorm public places in the community where you could exhibit works of garden art. Try to identify places in your community that attract the most people –  these might include public libraries, schools, local shopping centers/ malls, local banks or offices. You could even organize a traveling art exhibit on the local bus route! (See our featured public art projects for more information and inspiration about that idea). Since your project is inspired by the world of plants and gardens, why not consider showcasing your artwork outdoors? Community parks and gardens, downtown pedestrian areas, and farmers markets would all be great places to start.

  • Secure permission to use the location:

Once your group has decided on a location and time frame for your exhibit, you’ll need to secure permission from the owner/group in charge of the space.

  • Decide on a date and time frame for the exhibit:

Think about the date and time frame for your exhibit. Is it something you would like to be displayed for a week or a month – or perhaps more permanently? Consider the ideal time you would like to install the exhibit, and include this in your letter seeking permission.

  • Choose a time and date for setting up and taking down the exhibit:

Once you have received permission to host a public art exhibit and you have agreed upon the dates, coordinate when the exhibit will be installed and designate a group to be in charge of this.

  • Plan the layout of display:

Decide on how the work is going to be displayed and prepare any visual additions such as matting, background pieces, etc.

  • Prepare background information on exhibit:

An important component of the display will be background information on the exhibit. A good way to plan this is to put yourself in the shoes of an ordinary pedestrian who might come across the exhibit. What questions would come to their mind? Most likely things such as who created this, what inspired these works of art, what message is it trying to convey, etc. This information could be provided in a variety of media – painted or printed and mounted next to the exhibit, as well as included in handouts or brochures for those interested in taking something away with them.

  • Plan an Exhibit Launch Party:

Find out from those in charge of the space if you can invite the public for an opening celebration. Make sure the date works well and the time would be convenient for the public to come.

  • Publicize the Launch:

Decide on the best ways to publicize the launch. This may include making posters and handouts, personalized invitations for family and friends, making an announcement on the radio, writing a small article about the project in the newspaper, and calling media and inviting them to come. Also consider installing the exhibit a week before the official launch. The exhibit, if located in a prominent area, will advertise itself.

Featured Public Art Projects
Montessori Student Paintings Ride the TCAT Buses(pdf)
Gandhi Grows in the Grass video
Acre-sized Collaborative Art Installation Uses Grass as Canvas

Web Resources
For more information on public art and to get inspired by the myriad of possibilities, visit the following websites:
Community Arts Network
Public Art Network

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