The Importance of Art in Public Spaces

The presence of art in public spaces serves a much higher purpose than mere decoration. These are some of the invaluable ways that public art contributes to communities.


Public art allows diverse populations to experience art when they might not otherwise have access to museums or other cultural institutions. National organizations like Americans for the Arts advocate for the arts as a means to enrich the lives of all members of a community. A notable state-wide initiative, The Art City Project, enables custom art California to reach a mass audience by taking over spaces that advertisements traditionally occupy. Many other programs support widespread access to art.

Tells a Story

Public art frequently tells visitors about a community’s history or its values. It can commemorate or provide a new perspective about past events or circumstances and serve as a tool to educate current and future generations. By bookmarking a significant idea or moment in history, public art ensures that the past, present and future are perpetually linked.

Heightens Awareness

Promoting diversity and cultural awareness is one of the most significant ways that public art serves communities. This role is particularly valuable in urban areas where diverse populations co-exist without other means of relating to one another. Public art allows for continual interaction and promotes a better understanding of different cultures on a visceral level. For instance, bridges are a perfect example of functional art in public forums. They are social equalizers that everyone uses.

Validates Creativity

An acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the creative process is one of the most significant benefits of public art. In an increasingly homogenous world, artistic expression inspires a response from the observer as well as a message from the artist, bringing them together in a shared dialogue. Regardless of the tone of the conversation, its very existence validates the creative process.

As society continues to explore the importance of art to its well-being, the inclusion of art in public spaces will increase as cities expand.

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