Summer Spectacular: Outdoor Art

By Beth Dreher
The Gates, Central Park, NYC

Renowned urban planner (and one of my personal heroes) Jane Jacobs once wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everyone, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

I love the egalitarian spirit of Jacobs’ words and think she’d be a fan of the recent boom of public art. After all, what’s more unifying than trying to figure out what to do with some weird thing in the middle of a public space while everyone watches? And because of our interaction, don’t we actually become an active part of the art, and our community, ourselves?

Two of the most famous public artists, Christo and Jean-Claude, claimed that their work wasn’t intended for the public. But considering that their 2005 installation of 1,000 orange gates in New York’s Central Park attracted more than four million people, I’m not so sure I believe them.

Check out some of the cool works of public art that will be on view around the world this summer. Then, get out and enjoy art in your town–you’ll be a part of creating a stronger community.

* Philadelphia’s outstanding Mural Arts program will dedicate six new murals during June, July and August.

* British artist Walter Jack just completed installation of a 131-foot “crushed wall” sculpture in Cornwall, UK.

* The Columbus, Ohio Arts Commission will transform downtown Columbus into an open-air gallery with 14 temporary public art projects by more than 50 international, national and local artists.

Photo courtesy of Carly Ippolito

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