Touro Univ. Mural Program
conversations on Public Art
After viewing slides
provided by Harold Beaulieu, Vallejo Muralist
Author: Masomi Mrema
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2011 3:02:18 AM EDT
Subject: What is the point of public art?
Public art can heighten
economic value. Data strongly suggests that cities with an active and dynamic
cultural scene are more attractive to individuals and businesses. This is
evident in some cities in the bay area such as Oakland and San Francisco.
These cities have more people and business than others in the bay
area because of the aesthetic value of public art. Some of these
pieces of art reflect lives, cultures, and beliefs of people in the
communities. As the result, more and more people are relocating
to such cities because they feel a sense of belonging.
Public art engages people in
social interaction. Strangers would engage in conversation; children would
ask questions. It becomes a place that we can educate each other, and enhance
our knowledge, learning new things and passing on to the next generation.
art offers peace in community. there are some cities that have past history
of violence. By embedding a piece of art, that delineate piece, can
help to reduce violence and make people feel calmer and more relaxed.
Masomi’s perspective on what is
the point of public art is interesting and true. Cities that embrace art
as a part of their image are viewed by surrounding cities as progressive,
liberal and urbane. A city with this type of brand image typically
attracts people who are culturally diverse and engenders pride in the
residents. I agree with Masomi, public art can bring to a city a sense
of belonging and community.
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011 5:22:49 PM EDT
Subject: Slideshow discussion essay
is public art? Is it art or is it creativity? What is the point of public
art to me is the community’s creative expressions. I found this quote and I
agree with the point of view. "If done
right, public art creates a sense of commonality for a community; pride and
ownership of the neighborhood, cohesion of purpose and a starting point to
join together to address larger issues. (Art) creates shared public
I looked through Harold Beaulieu’s slide show, I saw a theme of shared
community and experience. There were numerous murals shown and I imagined
many people contributing to them. The stories he related of how a town
painted a mural in a day reminded me of that. I loved seeing the school
murals with the kids modeling their silhouettes.
laughed at seeing the monasteries built on a mountain. I had never thought of
these as public pieces of art. My parents visited these
medieval monasteries in Europe and brought back books and pictures
of them. They were beautiful and fascinating places. In order to enter some
of these monasteries, one had to be transported in a pulley system. It’s
function was to protect the inhabitants from invaders. The
functionality of the place made for a beautiful form. It got me to thinking
of buildings, bridges and architecture as art pieces. They are not only
beautiful but each serve a purpose, to shelter, connect, and structurally
hold a place up.
is creativity. It makes us think beyond the physical and gives meaning and
depth to our imagination. There was a mural of a man with a bandanna who
seemed to be throwing a Molotov cocktail to start a fire in a building or
store. The cocktail was replaced with a bouquet of flowers. This affected me
so much. Imagine if the spread of violence was exchanged with the spread of
peace and love. It sounds corny but, that image expanded my mind in that
direction. It was both quiet and disturbing. The image expressed this deep
meaning to me better than any person’s words.
Karen Gong 10/19/11
I can definitely relate to what
you said about the image being both "quiet and disturbing". I think
that often, art has a pulse that words cannot find. As in the work you described, art
can have the effect of spurring us to action and bettering us in many ways,
without speaking a single word. Art shows us wrong and right at
once and confronts us with a choice. No matter what we choose, art
remains and remind us that there are greater implications of the things
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 10:07:57 PM EDT
Subject: What is the point of public art?
Throughout the body of work
presented in Harold's cd, the common thread uniting all public art seemed
invariably to be its purpose. Public art is fundamentally by the people and
for the people. Its concept is unique in that it is put forth according to
the needs of expression felt by a particular community at a particular time.
Public art marks social progress, but individual progress as well. Present in
many of the works presented by Harold was an overwhelming sentiment that one
individual's decisions can impact an entire community. Public art magnifies
the responsibility that communities have to one another, and to themselves.
Public art is a report on the health of any given community at any given
time. In our communities, the voice that is spoken by many yet heard by few
is prominently displayed in public art.
Public art is the proverbial
watchdog that reminds us our acts are not unnoticed. Public art is the
community guardian silently sanctioning poor behavior and holdig up those who
do right. In many ways public art may be a public ideal; what we hope to be
and what we strive to perpetuate seem omnipresent in public art. Public art
is what we know our communities are capable of. Sometimes they're capable of
good, other times they're capable of bad.
It is my impression that public
art is a way to forever publish and encapsulate a given period in time. It is
a fingerprint of all that we took pride in, all that we accomplished, and all
that we hoped for. Public art in the present gives us something to reach for,
public art in the future gives us something to remember by.
Importantly, public art is a way
to bring communities together. Communities may initially unite in an evaluative
spirit; determining the myriad ways that they are. This initial
evaluation, this exercise, is the powerful spirit behind public art. Public
art moves us because it is not from a single artist; it is many voices
speaking as one. Therefore public art seems to compel us to greater social
One of my favorite works from this
collection was a wonderful mural, the text of which read: "Fix
our eyes, not on what is seen but what is unseen, for what is seen is
temporary... but what is unseen, eternal."
message here is empowering, compelling. It is evident to me that
this art is a guardian for the community in which it is displayed. Those
who do wrong can take meaning from it. Those who do right can take meaning
from it. Those who are silent victims can certainly take meaning from it, and
indeed, refuge. Public art is at once a celebration of a community's good and
a commitment to eradicating a community's bad. It is a policing power as much
as it is a statement of worth and purpose. And that is the point, or purpose.
I agree with what you
have said about public art : " public art is the way to
bring people together". Since people are coming from different
backgrounds, public art can be used to educate communities about other
cultures, food, language, and more. If people, from different
background, learn from each from each other, they would feel
comfortable amid each other.
I agree that art marks a space in time and records our
accomplishments and hopes. I like the image you mentioned about many voices
speaking as one.
The text you mentioned what is unseen being eternal is part
of my favorite bible verse.
The last message you mentioned that art is very
subjective and has different meaning to different people is very true. The
same piece can inspire, console, and disturb. Art is very powerful that
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 8:19:50 PM EDT
Subject: art and creativity
around the country, I have encountered a huge range of public art. There
are the famous Alexander Calder and Marc Chagall creations in Chicago, wild
graffiti on trains and subway cars, passionately painted murals along
alleyways, whimsical knitwear for bike racks and stop signs,
and mythic and patriotic beings cast in bronze.
believe art and creativity have the same roots. One can look into the
etymology and find root associations of the making of something by skill
and craft. We use “creative” in a funny way: He is so creative. Create-ive,
to mean something like “uniquely expressive.”
We create things all the
time without being mindful of it, so art may be “skillful expression done
with self-awareness” and the intention of communicating something to
others. These days, arts seems to refer to increasingly conceptual creative
work, whereas in earlier eras art was more skill-based and, in classical
European fine arts, representative of the events of the time.
Another change from
earlier eras to contemporary art has been the concept of individuality in
expression. Perhaps people feel strong urges to declare their unique
identity as a contrast to a growing and broadening social group wherein
individual relationships are easily overwhelmed by representative and group
dynamics. It is striking to go to an exhibition of ancient art and see so
many works from an ethnic group or a nation, and though the works were
individually made by different people, the style can be exactly the same.
First it is “Japanese watercolor from the 17th century” or
a “traditional Navajo rug;” later we know the artists to be Yojo and
This movement of
individuality has parallels with public murals, as those often mark the
presence of a community that is not well represented in dominant public
spheres or policy values. Municipally sponsored public art often goes
through a long process of collaboration, design, and approval by all
community stakeholders. While this is done with good intentions, this can
lead to the illusion that we should always seek consensus, which is
increasingly difficult as the community grows in number. I believe art
should be a non-verbal dialog, each creation as a statement or
rebuttal, and we should not expect one piece to summarize the whole.
I like public art
that tells a story of its place and provides an opportunity for people to
feel part of that story. One of my favorite childhood memories is of a
large mural under a freeway overpass that had the images of dozens of
Oakland’s citizen heroes. My parents took care to know each person
represented in this mural, and each time we walked past it, they would tell
my sister and me about one of the people there
Wow Katharine, I'm impressed
with your thorough description of art and creativity. Interesting
point about illusion of consensus. I like that you said it's
important for us to remember that one piece cannot represent or summarize
Subject: RE: art and creativity
do also like a public art that tells a story of its place! I grew up
in a place surrounded with arts. You could not pass a mile without
seeing a piece of art. I remember we used to travel periodically to my mother's
and my father's village. There was a piece of public art in every town
of each village. Each village had at least ten tribes. And each tribe
spoke different dialect. The only way you could learn about each
tribe was through a piece of public art. These pieces public
arts were very informative. They depict the history of the place, the
culture, religion and, dialect. Consequently, people who visits villages
can learn a lot about the villagers via their public art.
Author: Daisy Wiener
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:41:23 PM EDT
Subject: What is the point of public art?
Public art can take numerous forms and can be truly any size from something on
the top of a pin to a piece of work that spans for miles. I remember when
I was young and living in rural Sonoma County that there was this white fence
made out of material that an artist had done and it went on and on. I think it spanned
across many counties but it was a long time ago so I can't remember exactly . I
do remember this white flowing fence going across fields and up and over the
hills and valleys, it was really cool looking. I think that same artist
did many huge pieces of art including wrapping some islands in the tropics with
pink material, making them look like enormous lily pads. I'm a big fan of
public art because it gives people something to think about. I especially
love street art like graffiti and pieces placed in random places. I live
in Petaluma and a couple years ago there were little old fashioned cars that
were auctioned off for a fundraiser that people painted anyway they wanted and
then they were placed in different places in town, very cute. I love the
hearts in San Francisco. They were also used as a fund raiser and they are
these big ceramic hearts that are placed throughout the city that people
painted in all kinds of ways. I love that public art is just that, art out in
public made for all to see. It's a beautiful thing and we are all lucky
to get ideas and be inspired by others work.
My imagination is activated by the image Daisy paints with
her first sentence “public art can take numerous forms and can be truly any
size from something on the top of a pin to a piece of work that spans for
miles.” Daisy’s reflection illustrates the point of public art. The
point of public art is to challenge and stretch the imagination of the
public. Like Daisy states, public art gives us something to think
Author: Brenda Mitchell
Posted date: Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:20:19 AM EDT
Last modified date: Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:20:19 AM EDT
Total views: 33 Your views: 8
What is Public Art?
is public art? Public art is many things to the observer;
however a common thread that exists among observers of public art. The
common thread is the observers’ uncanny inability to re-frame from being
emotionally affected by some facet of the artwork. Public art is a
source of peace for some people and intrusive to others. The
moment people emerge from the privacy of their home, they are greeted with
some type of public art. As a child I considered the Twin Towers in
New York City to be a public monument to twins everywhere. When I
looked at the Twin Towers I saw art which represented the unique
relationship only twins can experience. Some people viewed the Twin
Towers as major contributors to Manhattan’s skyline. Others may have
viewed the Twin Towers as two buildings blocking the view they had prior to
their construction in 1971. Some people failed to realize the
gift of art these buildings gave to the public every day of the year, rain
or shine, until they ceased to exist. Public art is the constant
companion that can be relied upon to greet the public in any
season. Public art is reliable, it’s in the same place, at the right
time with a unique message for every observer.
art is Mount Rushmore, it’s the Status of Liberty, and it’s murals in
cities throughout America. Public art is the gravestones lined with
precision in Arlington National Cemetery and children shoes hanging from
electrical wires in urban cities informing the public that a young life was
tragically taken in gang warfare. Public art exudes power that causes
people to think and at times causes people to react. Public art has
been a companion of humankind since the beginning of humankind.
is public art? Public art reflects the society of humankind.
Mitchell – 10.13.2011
like your perspective about the Twin Towers. I never thought of them in such a
simplistic way that makes them almost personal. Nice. I also like how you spoke
on public art and that it in itself a constant that can be relied on. I
feel like a lot of public art is NOT a permanent thing that will be there for a
long time. I grew up in San Francisco and I love graffiti so I would always
keep my out for cool pieces of writing or pictures. For a long time there
was this blue dog that was painted around downtown and I remember being
disappointed when it was no longer there.
Brenda,At the risk of
appearing ignorant I must admit that I was unaware of the significance of
children's shoes hanging from electrical wires. It saddens me to learn that it
is a pronouncement that a young life has been taken by gang warfare. However,
I'm glad you offered it as an example because, despite its terrible message, it
can still be considered public art. Public art is not always celebratory; in
fact, it is often somber or cautionary. As you said, public art reflects human
society. There is good and bad.
I loved your comments on the twin towers. I think the fact
that you interpreted them so uniquely as not just buildings but entities that
bore a special relationship to one another speaks to a certain level of
thoughtfulness. Urban structures became art in your mind, while others may have
had no such awareness. Public art, like all art, is open to interpretation and
may sometimes go unnoticed. Or, that which was not necessarily put forth as
public art may be interpreted as public art.