For IBI Group, consulting art researcher Surale Phillips completed the public art survey for the master plan in February. 689 people completed the online public art survey for the City of West Palm Beach. Phillips used the result from the 406 people who self-declared themselves residents of West Palm Beach, but the results are nearly the same with employees and visitors included.
Pleas view the slideshow that was presented at the March, 2015, Art in Public Places Committee meeting. Please remember that the survey is not “scientific” as people volunteered for the survey and in this case, 90% really enjoy art.
From the survey, we constructed a draft mission statement and goals related to expressed priorities.
The Art in Public Places program should beautify the city through timeless, beautiful and meaningful sculptures, gardens and murals in parks, downtown, waterfront and entrances to the city.
The future artworks should inspire creativity, bring delight to everyday spaces, support local artists, promote pride, attract and entertain tourists to our city, and reflect the city’s many cultures and lifestyles.
When appropriate, the art should be fun and colorful and artists should improve blank walls, vacant lots and plazas
The survey both reflects and deviates from national opinions. Parks, downtowns and entrances are frequently preferred locations and beauty the goal. The lack of interest for artworks in neighborhoods or that reinforce neighborhood identity is unusual. Vacant lots, blank walls and supporting local artists are higher than normal.
Generally, people understand public art as sculptures, murals and functional artworks, but gardens are higher than normal. Street art, changing art and interactive artwork are newer ideas that have support.
The public art surveys produces some challenges to the program.
1. Work that is beautiful and meaningful, but not traditional modern art nor representational art.
2. Work that is excellent, innovative and attracts tourists, but not necessarily made by artists of international renown.
3. Work made by local artists from a range cultural backgrounds, but without a priority to benefit local neighborhoods.