Monday, May 4, 2009

Public Art in Maine

Maine’s Public Art program shall promote civic stewardship, cultural vibrancy, creativity, aesthetic excellence, and appreciation-of-place through the enhancement of public spaces using the arts. The program will champion federal, state, and private support, and encourage relationships that advance the quality of physical environments in Maine.

Public art refers to artwork that has been planned and executed with the specific intention of being exhibited in the public environment. The implication of this is that it will accessible to all members of society. Public artwork possesses characteristics that make it distinct from other artistic disciplines. Public art has particular relevance related to site specificity, physical and historic context, community involvement, and civic collaboration.

The term public art can also include private art which is exhibited in a public space or publicly accessible buildings. Civic statuary such as monuments and memorials are perhaps the most recognized forms of public art. Music in the park, parades, street theatre, public poetry, and other cultural events in shared spaces also can qualify as Public Art. The broad understanding for Public Art is that it is openly accessible and impacts public space.

Maine’s Percent for Art program sponsors public art for state buildings. The artwork commissioned through this program has taken many forms. Traditional representative sculpture, abstract wall-mounted works, projects that integrate artwork throughout the building in a holistic manner, mobiles, earthwork and electronic art are just a few of the categories that have been commissioned. An archive of the collection can be viewed through the Percent for Art Directory, current calls to artists can be accessed through the Opportunities Directory. The Maine Arts Commission also manages the Arts in the Capitol program, which brings exhibits from some of Maine’s finest galleries to the State Capitol. The Maine Arts Commission is dedicated to providing leadership, being an information resource, and developing process models to successfully place art in the public sphere.

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