Public art is a subject near and dear to my heart. So much so that I administer a Public Art Lovers group on Facebook. If you join the group, you’ll be treated to the murals, statues, sculptures, fountains, and creative works that refuse to be pigeonholed, from around the world.
Public Art adds beauty to urban sprawl. It reminds us to take a moment out of our hectic and stressful routine to stop and look and think and smile. Art touches us emotionally. In fact, this study, conducted in Norway, suggests that viewing art actually makes you healthier. (Not that I ever needed an excuse.)
Make no mistake: Public art can be controversial. It is the most creative way to send a message to the masses. It is egalitarian. Anyone who happens to pass by it can enjoy it and perhaps be influenced by it. That’s pretty powerful. People who wish to control the narrative tend to hate public art.
Others take exception to the expense of public art. They feel that it is an unnecessary drain on the public coffers. But I tend to agree with this article, which states that “investments in public art can improve street safety, provide tourism and new jobs, and combat social isolation and anxiety.” That sounds like a wise investment to me.
Public art can unite us in that it makes us want to cross boundaries to look closer. It enriches culture and exposes that culture to a wider world. It reminds us that people can have a variety of perspectives, and that’s okay. In a polarized world, it gets people talking, and it serves as a point of reference. It brings us together.
But perhaps the thing I enjoy most about public art is that it comforts me. We are living in an overcrowded, polluted, corrupt world. It’s nice to see, in the midst of all that, that there are people who take the time to make things more beautiful. If you listen closely to any mural, you can hear it whisper, “You are not alone. I’m here because someone wanted to make this world a better place, just as you wish to do. Here’s a gift of beauty for you. Spread the word.”
What follows are images of public art from all over the globe that I’ve enjoyed receiving via my Pokemon Go app. Seeing these images every day makes me want to travel more to experience these things firsthand. Enjoy!
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