Rethinking Public Art

Keating’s Friday Short Blog – Rethinking Public Art:

With tightening public budgets there is greater pressure for public art investments to accomplish more than one goal and to use public space as productively as possible.  Dual purpose (such as seating and art or bike rack sculptures or even the Luminous Crossings on the 7th Avenue Corridor) is gaining popularity while green space for stand-alone art is becoming more scarce. Similar to multi-functional space, the idea is to integrate different functions in time and space, and to appeal to diverse community members through practicality.

I recently came across an example from a frequented square in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.  ‘Warming stones’ shown below are ‘egg-shaped’ structures that provide 20-30 degree Celsius heat using technology that resembles floor heating systems. Inside the stones, a tube system heats the object all the way through.  During the winter months people can lean against the stones to warm up, and as a result, these objects have made this square a popular meeting point for the public. Public art like this is strategic in that it can act as a significant economic driver while promoting social engagement.

Warming Stones1