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Electronic Networks and Public Art

Perhaps it’s because my connection to public art, while decades long, has been on the edges as an observer, but when a colleague recently suggested I check out Americans for the Arts’ listserv for public art types, I was amazed. There was a dearth of the usual band-width-wasting electronic banter, and the level of civility among participants, even when disagreeing with one another, was high. I was struck by the exceptionally high quality of the information provided by participants in response to colleagues’ questions. Some of the questioners even collected all received comments into a summary document that they then sent out again to the entire listserv. And the sorts of questions being asked pointed to the impact public art has on civic dialogue on arts and culture. Particularly engaging were messages about public art works in playgrounds (and how to meet safety standards), developing art projects in skate parks in partnership with skaters and shop owners, and developing murals that engage the community so that tagging is minimal or nonexistent. These are interesting conversations – and there’s a range of other listservs at AFTA’s web site.

 

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