Tuesday, July 28, 2009

public art and preservation sittin' in a tree...you know the rest.

I received a link to a story in the UK Daily Mail on Twitter (follow us! @LandmarkSociety) this morning from user @AmazingPics about an artist who paints 3-D murals. If these don't blow your mind then, well, I don't know what to tell you.

Here are a few photos from that article. (Yes, those are walls. Really.):

(images from John Pugh, Barcroft media from above-mentioned article).

Now while I haven't yet seen anything of this magnitude here in Rochester, I believe our city is fairly progressive when it comes to public art installations. More progressive in some ways than many places I've lived such as Baltimore and even San Francisco.

Examples? Parking meters ripped out left ugly poles...so now we have parking meter totems in the South Wedge like this... (image via baswa.org):

...and of course bus stops in the Neighborhood of the Arts can't be boring (image via ArtwalkRochester.org) :

These are merely two small examples, not quite doing justice to the magnitude of what we have. We have sculpture, painting, tile, murals and countless other wonders placed throughout the city, with more hopefully on the way (check out ArtWalk II for some cool stuff going on.) In fact, there is so much that Richard Margolis, a local photographer, started a website dedicated to cataloging it all: Rochester Public Art.

On his site, it is written: "PUBLIC ART is revolutionary. Art teaches people to see for themselves, to trust what they feel, and to imagine. It encourages people to step out of line, to think for themselves, challenge authority, be individuals, test the limits, and create new relationships between themselves and the world." Sounds like a perfect partner to the horn we toot here at The Landmark Society: encouraging people to embrace their built environment, and promoting preservation and planning practices that foster healthy, livable, and sustainable communities.

So this question I pose to you: What place does public art have in your built environment? Is art something preservationists and/or urban planners should consider as a viable segment of what we do every day, or is it an ancillary factor?

I can think of many instances the two have been married, the most prominent being the High Line in NYC. (Also, our subway...but I have alterior motives there *cough*EdNortonCallMe*cough*) Still, as we strive to revitalize our cities, this may very well be a subject we need to look at more closely. For an interesting read on this subject, I recommend this terrific study by a group of Genesee Community Charter School students daring us to imagine a Rochester with more public art.

So what's it like where you live?

(p.s. for more on Rochester living, please check out RochesterCityLiving.com)

Posted by Laura Keeney Zavala, Director of Marketing


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