Public Art in Changing Times

April 1, 2020  |   Local
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There is plenty of space around me as I take my daily walk, I realize that not everyone can do this. The out-of-doors comes in degrees. Sometimes just standing on a sidewalk and staring into the sky makes a world of difference. As we change in these changing times, and I believe that so will our definitions of public art. Materials and methods will change to reflect our contemporary culture.

I am reminded that great public art has the power to make us think, feel and – in some special cases – change the world.

Its size can be huge or small. Its shape can be abstract or realistic (or both), and it may be cast, carved, built, assembled, or painted. It can be site-specific or stand in contrast to its surroundings. It can tower 30-feet high (Like the colossal “A Monumental Journey” by Kerry James Marshall) or call attention to the paving beneath your feet (“Art Route” follow those green dots guiding us to public art throughout downtown Des Moines).

The public art project “A Monumental Journey” honors the courage of 12 African-American lawyers who founded the National Bar Association in Des Moines in 1925. These pioneering attorneys were fully dedicated to civil rights, justice and equality in the legal system.

Artistically, public art can provide residents and visitors with unique and dramatic experiences while redefining public spaces, reducing crime, re-energizing our neighborhoods, educating and fostering greater pride of place.

Learn more about public art as you stroll outdoors! To make it easy,  download the free DSM Public Art App.  It is also available as an Android App.

If you cannot venture outdoors, you can easily discover ambitious public art projects by exploring the Public Art Foundation website

As you spot for a new public art project for the first time, or rediscover your one of your favorite public artworks, take delight in the moment — it could make a world of difference.

In this time of crisis, it is important that Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation thinks about how we interact with the public and that generosity needs to be the medium that can reach out to our community. We want everyone to be safe and enjoy public art responsibly!

Please make sure to practice social distancing and other healthy habits, too.