Public art – be it an interactive arts community like the Gramsci Monument, or the works of a local graffiti legend like Lady Pink – has the power to enrich communities and change lives. All at once provocative, engaging, and aesthetically profound, we think that public artworks of all kinds are truly remarkable. Here are some of the most significant arts organizations, artists, and collectives striving to cultivate culture right now:
Candy Chang, renowned globally for her “Before I die…” project, combines public art with civic engagement to create works with great impact. Chang is an artist who is “passionate about the way we shape our places and our places shape us,” and has allowed this philosophy to guide her in the creation of large-scale, interactive public pieces. With a background in urban planning and architecture, and an eye for visually inspiring things, Chang is equipped with the skills to help spark conversations about art and life worldwide.
Creative Time is a New York-based nonprofit organization that is dedicated to sparking conversations about social issues through public art. Since 1973, Creative Time has commissioned ambitious public art projects locally, as well as throughout the country and internationally. The organization hopes to inspire artists to explore the realm of possibilities in site-specific art installations, while encouraging audiences to engage in the art that surrounds them.
Tyree Guyton is a local artist from Detroit, Michigan, who has endured his fair share of hardships. After losing multiple family members to street-level violence, Guyton decided to turn those tragedies into something empowering and beautiful, and in 1986, the Heidelberg Project was born. One of the most expansive and beloved public art displays of all time, the Heidelberg Project exists as a funky art community, seeking to inspire education, hope, and creativity for Detroit residents.
The New Crafts Artists in Action (NCAA) is a “craftivist” collective that addresses public space, diversity, collaboration and feminism through its “Net Works” project. “Net Works” is an initiative that creates colorful, handcrafted basketball nets for abandoned hoops in an effort to build inclusive relationships between artists, athletes, and neighbors. It’s the NCAA’s hope that these hoops will strengthen communities and inspire creativity with just a little pop of color and something made with care and passion.
Who are some of your favorite public arts organizations and artists?