Public Art

Public art is any form of media which is created to be exhibited in a public domain where members of the general public are able to access it. This kind of work tends to be created with site specific links to the community around it and can even be created with the help of members of the public, created for specific members of the public or just for them to view in order to bring attention to issues.
            This kind of work is often the centre of debate, as some members of the public feel that the money spent on these pieces could be spent on other matters they feel are more important and worthwhile, others believe that some pieces are a waste of money purely because they are deemed ‘ugly’ and are not pieces which people feel are suitable for their hometown, for example Tilted Arc by Richard Serra was a large weathered metal wall which was placed directly in the middle of a large open space in New York City, but the fact people couldn’t walk straight through any more, and the look of the piece caused so much uproar that it had to be removed.
                Public art can be any type of medium, it could range from sculptures to graffiti and involve various different topics, themes, size and look. One of the best known examples of this is the Angel Of the North just beside the motorway in Sunderland, the huge piece was opposed to by people in the area around where it was proposed to be based, as they felt it could be an eyesore and may ruin the landscape, however once put up it was welcomed with open arms and is now something many people feel proud of as it is such an iconic sculpture. The piece is a 20 metre high sculpture with a 54 metre wingspan made out of steel which symbolises 3 things, the first being a tribute to the minors who had worked beneath where it stands for two centuries before, the second being a symbol of a move from industrial age to an information age and additionally the dreams and hopes of a new generation.
               There are installations of public art around Leeds, most of which is featured within millenium square itself, one of these pieces being the hands in Mandela Gardens, these are 16ft hands outstretched and were created by a Leeds Born sculptor Kenneth Armitage who also attended Leeds College of Art. Another piece is the Golden owls which are featured across Leeds in various sites, which allows people to explore various areas of the city through a golden owl walk.
           Pieces of public art can often add a small piece of beauty to industrial/work driven areas that otherwise may look incredibly bland and are given more of an interesting edge with the edition of art work, and the artist can only hope that it becomes a piece that people who live around it are proud of.


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