Last week we paid a visit to Barcelona’s whimsical and remarkable Parque Guell. Now a world-class travel destination, but once, a downright total failure of a project. Gaudi was always a little ahead of his time, and Parque Guell proved that. The concept was a little extreme for some who could afford it, and it was too far off the beaten path to be accessible to any average Joe with flair.
This incredible project could have gone down in history as a failure, left to deteriorate and fall by the wayside, but it didn’t. Instead, it went on to become one of the most exciting public parks in the world. Outsider art, before it was even a thing. He really was ahead of his time.
No matter where you live, chances are pretty good that public art is a part of your daily existence. Seemingly no public space is constructed anymore without an art budget, and what they come up with is sometimes quite a conversation starter! (Even when… sometimes particularly when… we don’t really love what they’ve come up with.)
Art can hit us on a primal level, make us feel something different, offer a new conclusion. Public art, in particular, has a way of allowing us to look at things in a fresh way.
Like a piece that appears to be a random, almost chaotic arrangement of objects… but when light is cast the right way, the shadow on the wall is a perfect, softly detailed, human face. Or a 50-foot mural, the entire face of a grey downtown building, with every shade of green imaginable, foliage painted lush and leafy like a jungle, right in the midst of a concrete one. And over there is… yes… that’s definitely a 20-foot tall brass ice cream cone.
Why? Why not, is public art’s sassy retort.
The “why” part isn’t your concern. Your job is only to feel whatever you’re going to feel.
Public art commands attention in different ways than museum art. For one, often public art invites you to interact with it in some way. You can touch it, lean on it, even sit on it. It is unapologetically present, and on some level that is an invitation to us as well, to do the same. To be here, right now as we are, with this piece of art, just as it is too. And we can do it for no other reason than just to have an experience.
Community-funded public art installations take that experience to new heights. With joy, play, and a strong sense of community, Puerto Vallarta’s very own Tile Park continues taking shape piece by piece. Every day we bring the intention not just of creating a fun and beautiful place for folks to hang out, but a place that holds real meaning… a place in people’s hearts. Individual pieces of real lives, arranged to fit together harmoniously, telling the story of an entire town.
Art offers us a new perspective on communicating, another avenue through which to process information and express it. This is a method of communication irrespective of language, and that’s just one reason it is so important. Another is that it is a gift, offered equally to everyone. It’s meant just for you, for your consideration. Hopefully, you feel something. But whether you appreciate it, is of little consequence. The love of public art is there for the taking, the rest is up to you.