In tough economic times, why do our civic leaders allocate ratepayer funds on public works of art? Is this pure elitism, an elaborate hoodwinking by the arty set, or are there compelling reasons for allocating public resources to works of art?

The integration of public art into the urban environment is something to which progressive cities around the world have committed substantial resources. Here are some of the reasons why …

* Public art humanizes our cities - In our increasingly urbanised world, characterised by impersonal buildings of concrete, glass and steel, public art is an expression of our humanity. It reminds us that cities are places for people - that paying attention to how our cities look and feel is important, because of the people who live, work and play there. 

* Public art expresses our stories – The art within a cityscape reflects the unique identity of that place. The art chosen by a city for its streetscape may recall the region’s history, reflect particular environmental concerns or associations within that place, acknowledge people who lived there, or explore themes of importance to its community. In this way, public art contributes to a city’s sense of place - an integral part of distinguishing one city from another, promoting civic pride, and helping people to feel connected to the place in which they live.

* Public art increases the value of our cities – Public art can boost a city’s social, cultural and economic value. Cities with a visually interesting urban environment and culture are more attractive places for people to visit and live. Having an attractive environment is one factor that makes it easier for businesses to recruit high calibre staff, for the tourism industry to attract visitors, and for civic leaders to retain and grow the city’s resident base.

* Public art sustains jobs – In addition to the artist’s own work, public art projects are likely to involve administrators, planners, engineers, lighting and design consultants and construction teams. Public art sustains existing jobs, and has the capacity to stimulate new work opportunities.

* Public art activates the imagination - Public art is not simply an expression of a single person’s creative endeavour – it has power to activate the imagination of all who see it, and to stimulate thought, discussion and further creative activity. Public art encourages us to stop and consider the world around us, promoting dialogue and expanding our view of the world.

* Public art is accessible - Public art is accessible to everyone. It allows us to experience art in the course of daily life, as we pass through public spaces. In difficult economic times, it is especially important that we don’t have to buy art in order to see and enjoy it – public art makes access available to everyone.

For further information contact ZIMMERMAN - www.zimmerman.co.nz / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.