03 Sep

Art in Public

While we were on our road trip, we saw art in all kinds of public places. I often wonder, as a non-career artist, why I am spending my time making art. It seems such a selfish endeavor when I could/should be spending my time doing something that contributes more to society.

Hotel 21C in Louisville, KY

But then we experience something like this interactive video installation at Hotel 21c in Louisville, KY and I realize that art does contribute to society.

Louisville, KY

Meeting art in a city helped us to learn more about a place (like this bronze statue of a beloved mayor of Louisville), to slow down and enjoy the beauty, to smile and have fun!

Hoover Dam, NV side

This winged figure of the republic by Oskar Hansen presides over a star map at the Hoover Dam which is designed to show future visitors (perhaps from another planet) when this amazing feat of engineering was completed. Other art reflects the colors and patterns of the local indigenous tribes.

Hotel 21C in Louisville, KY

Back at 21c, the bathrooms had two-way mirrors (so those in the loo could look out) and videos of eyes watching (except that the eyes were those of blind people). It was thought-provoking and clever and prompted discussions we would not have had without the art.

Louisville Slugger Museum, KY

Speaking of clever, I thought these bats handing from the ceiling of the Louisville Slugger Museum were pretty punny.

In St Louis, MO, the downtown is experiencing a resurgence and smack in the middle of this urban area is a wonderful City Garden created to conceptually reflect the greater St Louis geography, and filled with artistic beauty to be enjoyed on a lunch break or weekend outing.

City Park, St Louis, MO

The more interactive an installation was it seemed, the more popular with the public. Who can resist tranquil pools or a forest of water fountains on a hot summer day?

City Park, St Louis, MO

The biggest and best surprise a city held for us was the City Museum in St Louis. It’s a building-sized sculptural fantasy that you can climb over and into, slide down, wonder at and swing from. I blogged about it here with lots of photos, but it begs to be revisited.

City Museum, St Louis, MO

City Museum, St Louis, MO

City Museum, St Louis, MO

Las Vegas was surprisingly art-filled as well. Crystals City Center has lovely areas to stop and enjoy the view.

Crystals at City Center, Las Vegas, NV

Crystals at City Center, Las Vegas, NV

Even gaudy can be beautiful, like this ceiling of Dale Chihuly glass at The Bellagio.

Dale Chihuly at the Bellagio Las Vegas, NV

A little art adds beauty anywhere (kelp sculpture at Aquarium of the Pacific).

Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA

As a result of seeing how much my family enjoyed art in public places everywhere we went (and there’s plenty here in our new hometown of Charlottesville, VA as well) I will put some thought into how I can make my art more accessible to the public, be it scale, material, venues, or something else.

3 thoughts on “Art in Public

  1. Love that winged statue and whee those fabulous stairs. I was all excited about bats hanging from the ceiling until I looked again and booo baseball bats… Chihuly’s ceilings just don’t do it for me either.

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