Don’t be afraid of public artwork that strongly demonstrates its origination in ethnic visual traditions. Murals can be show people from different backgrounds or painted in the art traditions of non-western cultures. Why can’t public sculptures be bronze castings of African masks. Why can’t ceramic murals clearly originate in the traditions of Spanish or Moroccan wall and floor tiles?
In the 19th and 20th century, the dominant art establishment and intellectuals believed that progress and newness in art came exclusively from the artistic inventions in Europe and then the Americas. Still today, despite the great respect in museums and universities for all traditions in art, the vast majority of public art is dominated by euro-american art.
One major flaw of public art thinking is that works from other cultural traditions should only be seen in the neighborhoods of those ethnic communities. It is sometimes known as “race matching”. Art about or by African Americans should be seen in African American neighborhoods, not in the center of downtown.
Given the 150 years of public art in the USA and Florida, some catching up may be required in African American, Caribbean, Mexican and South American neighborhoods. Pride in community through public art is still a valuable service.
In the 21st century, many mature and talented artists exist from any cultural or ethnic backgrounds. Many ethnic traditions have been continued by contemporary artists and craftspersons. Perhaps ethnic and cultural diversity in a public art collection is the true new future.
Since the beginning of architecture, front door or entrance has been a primary location for symbolic, religious or decorative elements. When mansions, hotels and office buildings were invented, the entrance sequence from plaza, staircase, doorway and lobby became the first experience and taste of the building. This sequence is always complete with art, gardens, lighting and decor of all types. With the invention of plate glass, the outdoor plaza to indoor lobby merged together especially at night.
At least two public artworks in West Palm Beach are very easy to see on satellite setting of google maps – the mangrove island by Michael Singer and team and the brick plaza by Adrian Fisher at the Norton Museum.
Visiting Fire Rescue Station #3 in Northwood for a discussion of the Parks Master Plan, we discovered the public art: architectural establishments of the station. Mosaics, tile murals and relief carving are types of public art that have been a part of Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years. These great traditions from the Babylonians to the Romans to the Spanish Moors influenced the architecture in Palm Beach County since the early 20th century.
On the ground before the community room, a latin phrase is written that means: FROM MANY PEOPLES STRENGTH.
If you want to learn the history of the WPB Fire Rescue Service, visit the website.
Here is the public art.
If you know the artist, please send us an email at ibiARTwestpalm@gmail.com.