Building community through public art

Public art, no matter its form, brings a community to life. The arts are for everyone. They don’t discriminate. They build community and improve our quality of life. When art is public, it is accessible to people who might never have crossed its path. Through art we share our ideas; we share our values. Art unifies. If we want art FOR everyone, we need art created BY everyone.

Last winter, I visited Austin, TX and was pleasantly surprised to see murals at every turn. I discovered self-guided mural tours and people queueing up to take photos with, and of them. Murals were funny, sad, abstract, retro, meaningful. You’d see them from the highway or from your seat at a restaurant. You pull into a parking lot and there is one in front of you and another across the street. They were diverse and thought-provoking. 

Public art revitalizes communities. Visitors travel to see it. They will linger and watch, look or listen. Naturally, they’ll get hungry, so they’ll stay awhile, and visit our restaurants. Maybe they’ll shop, or visit Bedford’s historical sites. Providing public art creates jobs and promotes community engagement. These bring strong communities, and strong communities are resilient. 
Bobbi M. Bittker
Bedford Hills, NY
(pronouns she, her, hers)

Oct. 2, 2020

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