Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate. Located in Millennium Park in Chicago. (Photo: anishkapoor.com)
Many arguments for art ground themselves on extrinsic impacts, economic growth for example, but for communities like individuals, the greatest impact is intrinsic. Just as we as individuals employ art to reflect on questions of substance and explore issues of curiosity and controversy, so too do entire communities find meaning, happiness, and collective identity through art. Yet not often enough do we value art in this way, and it is time that we should. Andrew Swensen writes, “Yes, art makes communities more fulfilled. And yes, a fortunate byproduct of that sensibility is improved economic prosperity. So let’s talk about making artful communities because of the intrinsic impact, and then be pleasantly grateful for the secondary extrinsic consequences that follow.” Fortunately, thanks to the shifting discourse of the 21st century, evident in integrated thinking of TED talks and with a little help from at least one neuroscientist, we may already be heading in the direction of a more unified view of artistic thinking as part of a healthy society.
Join us for our latest reflection on arts and society, “The Intrinsic Impact of Art on Community” (click here to read full article).
Katz Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh, with sculpture by Louise Bourgeois (Photo: The Muse Dialogue)
The worlds of public art and street art are complicated, enmeshed in social mores of the age and political debate, and all this discussion before we even get to the question of aesthetic judgment. Street art has aroused controversy, and that seems part of its purpose. Public art differs at least in that it has the permission of those who place it in the public view, but it too has awakened its share of contentiousness. Then we must consider the history of art that has been preserved for the benefit of the public. The collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. is “public art” in its own way for it belongs to all of us. No small matter, these questions, and good ones for our contemplation. TMD takes this opportunity to look at some of the art in our public places in Vol. 1, No. 4 Street Art and Public Art.
Anna Pavlova as The Dying Swan (Photo: Public Domain)
Michelle Van Doeren, a teaching artist at Pittsburgh’s School for Creative and Performing Arts, makes an argument for why our public education system needs to support arts education. This piece comes as an update to our issue, Vol. 1, No. 1: Arts, Families and Children.