Public art and the lack of it

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public art in Spruce Grove

When you travel to other cities, often the attractions you check out are public pieces of art. Whether it’s a statues of someone who founded the city or did great things for the region, or some really interesting art installation, art can be a draw and an economic boost to a city.

So, where is the public art in Spruce Grove? The city has invested in public pieces of art but they’re all tucked away inside our city buildings like City Hall, the Library and the art gallery. Where are the outdoor pieces of art that you’d find downtown, in parks and in public gathering places?

Check out my video on public art and the the lack of it on my Facebook page.

Outdoor public art

Why haven’t we invested in outdoor public art, then? We have a talented arts community that we could partner with and tap ideas for on how we could make initiatives like this happen.

Stony Plain and Edmonton have beautiful murals and I’ve found myself walking around Stony Plain checking out the murals. It also exposes me to the local business community as I’m walking by. I’ve stopped in and checked out local businesses too and purchased goods. The art and economic development can work hand in hand.

We have a beautiful city and it’s a clean city. But it lacks attraction. It’s a bit sterile and we could do so much more to make it an interesting city to walk around, especially when out-of-towners come to visit.

What are some creative ideas then?

We need to think outside the box so to speak. I see the utility boxes around the city and think “can we not do better than generic images of Alberta” wrapped around these boxes? Could we investigate whether we could have local artists paint the utility boxes and make them more unique to our city? And we’d pay those artists of course. I don’t expect artists to do this for free. But it need not cost us millions of dollars to do, either.

Local arts community

Our local arts community has ideas I’m sure that we should explore further.

Speaking with the Allied Arts Council, I’ve recently learned that 1% of costs for new development projects in Spruce Grove are to be set aside for public works. There is a committee to review the art proposals. I don’t have enough information yet to know how this is working on if we even have our first public piece of art from this program, but it’s a great start!