Public art can help create shared experiences

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A recent bold, but fitting addition to Front Street is a fantastic example of how investing in public art benefits our community, Tiago García writes in this article for Bermuda’s Sun

Hind & Crisson’s African sculpture gallery on 71 Front Street now greets you through thoughtfully designed zebra-print columns, complementing their 15 year-old business. Questioned by the traditionalist yet welcomed by the reformist, this public artwork should entice building owners to engage local and foreign artists to visually enhance their property’s exterior.

“We have noticed more potential customers coming into the gallery since we painted the columns” says owner Mr Dusty 
Hind.

Just a ten second walk west from Hind & Crisson’s is an optical illusion of a hot air balloon carrying the latest piece of luxury merchandise.

This particular window display alternates every few months and has been the setting for numerous pictures taken by interested locals and guests.

In addition to companies incorporating art to support their brand, other contemporary projects such as the ‘yarn-bombing’ of trees in the City of St George’s, the murals on Court Street  and the Royal Naval Dockyard have complemented public walkways.

Surrounding businesses may benefit from being located near these projects despite not financially sponsoring them.

Public art, for sake of clarity, refers to works of art in any medium that has been planned with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain. Typically outside and available to everyone, public art does not discriminate against its audience and helps to create new shared experiences, can represent cultural identity, and potentially improve the surrounding environment.

Currently most public art works in Hamilton are sculptures that were either commissioned by Government, donated by a private collector, or a requirement under Policy 3.23 of the City of Hamilton Plan 2001. Many of these sculptures embody strong historical significance and appear to be quite popular, however may not be the injection of visual enthusiasm Bermuda needs to improve its pedestrian environment.

Private building owners and businesses are currently best suited to facilitate enhancements to our physical environment amidst on-going discussions regarding Hamilton’s long term urban design. Artists may also begin to envision buildings as potential canvases, and propose a public art concept to the building owner. Regardless of the approach, it’s an investment worth considering. n

Do you notice current public art works around Bermuda? If so, which one is your favourite?  Email slagan@bermudasun.bm

Tiago Garcia is a Bermudian lobbyist hoping to increase the amount of public art on the island.

For the original report go to http://www.bermudasun.bm/Content/LIFESTYLE/Lifestyle/Article/Public-art-can-help-create-shared-experiences/9/230/68833

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