Public spaces and public art go hand, but spending public money on light art, light sculptures and other types of public art can sometimes a controversial decision.
With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to explore why public art is important for cities and public spaces, and why adding light can have “electrifying” results.
Why public art matters
Here are 6 great reasons why public art matters:
Public art is… public!
It’s not hidden away in a gallery or museum, requires no entry free and is accessible to everyone, regardless of their wealth, status in society, age or physical abilities.
Public art is an investment in place-making.
It enriches a city, helps to bring spaces and structures to life, and enlivens the place where people live, work and visit.
Public art connects residents to one another, as well as to the history of a city and to its future.
It supports the identity of a space and the identity of a community, which makes residents feel appreciated, valued and connected.
Public art can help to public awareness about important community issues, such as environmental stewardship, poverty and respect for diversity.
This also means that public art is a powerful tool for civic engagement, building social capital, encouraging civil discourse, and learning.
Public art gives the local economy a boost.
By choosing to work with local artists and artisans, public art can support a thriving creative economy, and thanks to its place-making effects, local businesses benefit from increased visits from locals and tourists alike.
Public art can be a key factor in regeneration.
Not only can it make a public space unique and culturally interesting and therefore attractive to residents, businesses and visitors, but it can also help to transform playgrounds, train stations, traffic circles, parks and town squares into vibrant expressions of human imagination.
How light enhances public art
Public art is an essential part of a community, but without light, most public art becomes invisible at night or over the winter months, when weather and visibility make public art less engaging or accessible.
Light art and light sculptures are a unique way for cities and public spaces to integrate public art into their spaces, designed by local artists, that reflect cultural and community issues, and that are engaging all year round, whatever the weather, season or time of day.
By using light to bring a work of art to life, it instantly becomes more memorable, visible and interesting. Light art often tends to appear over the winter months:
And light sculptures are popular additions to festive displays:
But light art is particularly powerful when the idea behind it comes from a local artist, who understands community issues and is able to use their artistic expression to start a dialogue:
Is light art something that you could use to transform your public space?
With a doubt, although light art comes in different flavors, ranging from simple seasonal motifs, to custom-created & artist-drive light sculptures, to temporary light installations and shows.
Here at MK Illumination, we have a selection of custom-designed light sculptures that can bring just about any space to life, but we also regularly work with cities and local artists to help them realize artistic ideas using light as a medium.
If you’d like to explore the potential of light and public art in your city, we’d love to talk.