Public art serves people and communities. It enriches lives, even if it's unconsciously, says Simon Donovan, a Tucson public artist.
“A lot of people will never go to a museum or an art gallery, and thus are not exposed to art,“ Donovan says.
And, here is where the value of public art lies. lies
“People are always looking for something exciting and fresh, says Blessing Hancock, a Tucson artist. "Public art does not only inspire, (and) bring cultures together, but also gives people those new experiences."
One of the artists’ recent works includes public art on the Tucson streetcar project. The stop on Granada Avenue and Cushing Street has some of her interactive elements.
“Within hours, we had this series of triangles suspended in the air," Hancock says. "They all are electronically controlled, so when you touch them the colors change.
Donovan has been collaborating on the streetcar project with sculpture Ben Olmstead, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.
"We started off the line of poetry at Helen Street with a giant head of a poet made out of 8,000 laser cut steel letters, he says. "It will be blowing fresh poetry every week into the electronic reader boards.
Public art is a creative process of people of different professions.
Hancock has been collaborating on interactive exhibits and installations with Joe O’Connell, a public artist at the Creative Machines Inc., as well as 15 other artists and engineers.
She says being a public artist includes a minimum of creative process, and the rest is loads of hard work.
Although people sometimes complain of the cost of public art, it actually creates new jobs, Donovan says. "I employ a number of people in fabricating, often other artists; local steel and electronic companies also get involved," he says.
Anna Augustowska is a journalism student and an intern for Arizona Public Media.