Race and Public Art

Introduction

Public Art entails any media that made with the intention of setting it in an open strategic physical point. Public art is usually placed at publicly accessible sites, for instance, a building accessed by the general public. After conducting thorough research through reading from the university notes, and internet research on public art, it was clear that the minorities are not represented. The minorities instead get excluded from participation in the sector of public art. Public art industry faces quite a number of challenges both from the internal and external environments. The world of art is filled with racism, sexism, and ethnicity which limits the success of the minority as far art is concerned. The vices conducted in the art world have been uncovered, and change is being effected gradually. Public art is a creative sector and has got potential to grow if only the major problems are addressed.

There are many ways in which public art get applied by different people according to the objectives desired. Still in line with using art for different purposes, different arts have got different meaning to different people. Some people may attach so much significance to a particular sculpture yet on the extreme end there is someone who finds no meaning of the same sculpture. The difference in perspective concerning certain art determines how the acceptable the art is to the public. It is evident that when people attach some level of importance to the public arts, then they tend to take care of the art collectively. Many public arts have served as landmarks at one point in history, therefore, helping people have a strategic meeting point.

When two or more people have an arrangement to meet, the use of public art plays a key importance since the agreement on the meeting point is based on a certain public art. Giving direction is also to a large extent associated with public art since it is much easier to explain in reference to a particular public art. There are also those people who use public art to post signs and even advertise their commodities since most people are able to access the places where the public arts are located (Senie & Harriet, 189). An excellent example of application of public art is that of Abraham Lincoln’s statue which is used to direct taxi drivers to a specific location. However, some people find not meaning or relevance in art work and even end up to deface public art or altogether destroy it.

The major focus of this paper revolves around the problems associated with public art common one being the exclusion of the minority from public art and the reactions expressed. To begin with, are the problematic issues faced by the public art world. There are many challenges associated with the sector of public art. First problematic issue is the fact that public art to some extent is an object that is subject to controversy. The society involved in developing the art ought to get consulted in matters pertaining placement of the art in question. The community’s approval becomes a stepping stone towards the involvement of the community.

However, this is usually not the case which indeed signifies a significant problem to the public art. The community also lacks knowledge on the meaning of the art and what it represents. It would be of great assistance to keep the society informed about the arts at all time. Moreover, the broader community should be in a position to get information on the art from sources such as the internet, televisions, and newspapers or hear the information from the radios (Young, J. A. & Braziel, J. E, 70).

Acceptance, therefore, gets fostered when the community is involved with the activities associated with art. Keeping the society in the loop of the public art projects makes it much easier for them to be open-minded and more accepting to work. Adding on to the controversy is that people differ in perspective and thus what one considers as beauty in the art may be an offensive gesture to another person. This difference in views adds to the problems associated with public art. Most agencies used to promote artistic works display some degree of insensitivity to the communities by not consulting them on the types of art they prefer. The public ought to have the upper hand when it comes to art since with appropriate knowledge of the symbolic meaning of the art the community accepts the art willingly (Young, J. A. & Braziel, J. E, 70).

There has been a record of tremendous growth in recognizing the importance of art located in public spaces. Major cities around the world have allocated a budget to support art programs and thus facilitate growth in the artistic world. Private development, as well as the government initiated projects, plays an integral role in driving artistic growth. The projects aim at creating paintings, sculptures, murals, and other significant artworks. Artistic projects have also spread its focus to involve the community, including children, in the selection of the art. Environmental art depicts a very critical aspect of growth where the environment itself gets incorporated into art. Some public art administrators have argued in the definition of public art, architecture gets considered.

In the past, historical monuments were constructed in plazas to commemorate, celebrate and remember local and national heroes such as kings, generals, and other famous leaders. Public art is not static instead it varies from time to time and changes as technology develops. There is room for improvement as far as art is concerned since technology keeps on advancing every time. Bearing in mind the rapid technological advancement, it is possible for more creative art to be developed (Young, J. A & Braziel, J. E, 70).

The fact that public art sometimes gets considered as rubbish that no one finds the value for or rather appreciated is another problem associated with public art. As a result, some people use them as toilets or dumpsters, some people even to the extent of destroying the art. Disrespect to public art is evident when a homeless man refers to a sculpture an s public toilet he urinates near a wall supporting a statue (Senie & Harriet, 187). Inadequate funding of the projects related to arts is another major problem facing the art industry.

Inadequate funding results into a struggle where the sector strives so hard to achieve much yet with very few resources at their disposal. Consequently, due to the limited monetary resources, the quality of art produced becomes inconsistent with some arts being of inferior quality. Setting up of a low-quality art in a certain are leads to the feeling of uncomfortable it is better to come up with nothing than having art that is not supported by the public.

However, some of the public artworks are significant, and their value is evident. Examples of substantial arts that are valued include Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans and the Washington monument. The actual significance of these monumental sculptures becomes difficult to establish since their relevance is too enormous (Young, J. A. & Braziel, J. E, 70).

These four significant public art-works honor and idealize Americans who did great and remarkable things for their country. The artworks are classical and use a famous style in the times of establishment, a form that resembles the ancient government buildings and banks during the 19th century. The Lincoln Memorial is impressive and displays the former President like a Saint therefore becoming a statue associated with great significance in the leadership system. Likewise, the Washington Monument is remarkable, as it was the tallest building in the world, at the time it was created. The Jefferson Memorial is not quite as extraordinary, but it is a structure with unique features.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is quite memorial since it symbolizes the military in the United States. The experiences of the military soldiers in the army get best captured in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial art. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is unique, its beauty is not impressive, and you may not even see it until you are close to it. Nevertheless, it has become the most popular memorial, in Washington, D.C., and perhaps the United States of America. Exclusion of the minorities from propelling in the world of public art is a significant issue affecting the industry at large. Most art institutions are biased against minorities and prevent them from making it as artists. The established art-world functions as an institution, where white male colleagues share much of the same views about the understanding of art.

Overt racism may not be tolerated any longer, but institutional racism continues in the United States. The network of white art administrators, who are well settled in their positions and assumed to be professionals in the art-world, determine the competence and eligibility of minorities (Perez-Torres & R 120). They decide who to participate in competitions are very specific on the applicable rules when judging presented art. As a result, the art-world has limited their selection to exclude the minority art projects. Minorities understand the difficulty involved in getting into the world of art and thus feel so challenged when art institutions choose to view their works from a perspective of race, gender or even ethnicity.

Minorities have been excluded from the art-world because the minority artists do not get represented by any of the art magazines and do not appear in any of the art history books, except in rare and limited occasions. When the minorities get an opportunity to perform in public art, they get prevented from speaking about their art-work. They cannot describe the meaning of their art nor explain its purpose. The exclusion hinders potential talents and to this end kills the dream of those minorities who are interested in joining the sector of developing public art.

If only the minorities can get the chance to explain the meaning of art, many people would change the attitude directed towards the art. The art administrators take over the minorities art projects and impose their art rules upon them. Minority artists get blocked from accessing the institutions of the art-world. It would be wise for minorities to start their art administration network of institutions (Senie & Harriet, 191).

The minorities are starting to ignore the bureaucratic art-world and establishing their independence as far as art is concerned. Some minority artists are forming alliances and creating their art-world. No vocation in the United States that is more resistant to acknowledging minorities than the art-world. From the beginning until today, the art-world remains a stronghold of white supremacy, sanctioned by the wealthy and the United States government. Female minority public artists face a great deal of the resistance than their male colleagues. From the art history websites, it is evident that there was no female artist mentioned in the minority public arts. For the minority known artists, art history failed to explain what has truthfully been going on, and the challenges that minorities face.

Without guidance and support from the art world’s established institutions, minorities are left to their own devices, and they sometimes get caught up in power struggles between various art-world institutions (Perez-Torres & R 89). Since minorities are powerless, they get treated as if they were invisible and barred from representation or displaying their exhibits and receiving support from galleries, museums, book publishers, auction houses, art schools and art magazines.Conclusion This essay extends an understanding and support of minority public artists. The actions taken by the minority aim into the right path through experimentation on creating their own network public art administration. Although this approach will take considerable time, they will achieve much higher rewards by having their art administration network of institutions.

In doing so, they will create competition between themselves and the established biased mainstream in the art-world although no much consideration is given to public reactions about the public artwork in open spaces. There is apparently no single person, representing the public and can make decisions for them (Young, J. A. & Braziel, J. E, 82). There are only competing public interest and different agencies with different criterion and agendas. Everyone wants to further their conflicting interest, so the public art project administrators have to ignore this noise and make the decisions on their own. The assumption that the public can have input or make decisions is a native assumption. Given these issues, the public is fortunate to find all these public art-works in public areas that are wonderful, meaningful and enjoyable.

Everyone should feel contented that they are there. It would also be of great significance if more young people get encouraged to venture into artistic world. On the part of the government, it should be able to set up policies that are in favor of artistic work. The policies should also strive to eliminate the racism and ethnicity in the sector by ensuring all qualified persons are allowed to freely participate in art. It is also important that the government consider setting aside and channeling more resources to help solve the problem of inadequate funding that the sector of public art continues to face. Through taking the right channels, then a major boost in public art can be attained.

Works Cited

Senie, Harriet F. Reframing Public Art: Audience Use, Interpretation, and Appreciation Art and its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium. Ed. Andrew M. Blackwell, 2003. 185-191.

Perez-Torres, R. (2006). Mestizaje: Critical uses of race in Chicano culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Young, J. A., & Braziel, J. E. (2007). Erasing public memory: Race, aesthetics, and cultural amnesia in the Americas. Macon, Ga: Mercer University Press.

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