Public Art


Units: 6


This course will examine the conceptual framework for what public art is, how artists are engaged, and how public art projects are produced in the United States. In addition, students will gain practical experience and knowledge of the public art administration field. The course will begin with an introduction to public art practice, including a brief history of public art along with a walking tour to discuss public art in context. Topics to be covered include the evaluation of public art, case studies in public art controversy, the individual roles that stakeholders play in the public art process, how artist selection occurs, design review, public art collection management, educational programming, and the importance of public art planning. Readings, guest speakers, and site visits will be used to give students an overview of the field of public art and the role that public art plays in communities.

Learning Outcomes:

Skills and knowledge gained through this course will be assessed through readings, class participation, and assignments. Upon the successful conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Examine public art practice, history, and theory, and articulate key concepts used in public art administration
  2. Locate resources for best practices in public art policy and management
  3. Identify, describe, and evaluate public art using tools from the field
  4. Analyze controversial public art projects and discuss strategies to manage and mitigate controversy
  5. Examine site selection, design criteria, and community engagement measures to produce successful public art works
  6. Understand the significance of public art maintenance, conservation, and deaccessioning practices
  7. Experience the dynamics of an artist selection panel and develop a framework for selection
  8. Assess public art master planning including funding mechanisms, educational programming, failures and successes
  9. Formulate a public art strategy and welcome constructive feedback