Public art is art work located in public spaces and buildings other than galleries and museums. It is created by practitioners for outdoor spaces such as parks, foreshores, beaches, city squares, streets, courtyards and forecourts, or indoor spaces in publicly or privately-owned buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, shopping centres, recreation centres, local government administration centres, office buildings, hotels, etc.
Public art can take many forms in many different materials. It can be free-standing work or integrated into the fabric of buildings or outdoor spaces, such as a sculpture or mural. Practitioners may also work individually or with other practitioners and manufacturers to create mosaic and ceramic floor or wall insets, stained glass windows, ornamental metal gates or grates, water fountains, light fittings or door handles, street furniture, topiary and landscaping, neon works, and multimedia installations. Performance works can also be executed in public space.
Public art can be permanent, lasting many years, or temporary, lasting a couple of hours, a few days or several months. It can be site-specific, drawing its meaning from and adding to the meaning of a particular site or place, or non site-specific, located in a public place primarily for display purposes.
Arts and culture can be intrinsically linked to a community’s identity, enhancing the environment while expressing a community’s culture and heritage.
Most local councils feel committed to making art an everyday experience for residents and visitors.
While the growing interest in public art presents new and different opportunities for artists, planners and commissioners, the types of issues relating to the commissioning of public art have remained constant over the past few decades.