Notes towards Thinking: Public Art

Eyes down. Nose to the grindstone.

The Stove is everything. Studio practise has been on hold the past couple of months, though this is not necessarily a bad thing – an elongated pause.

That bit of needed focus which I found up at SSW has been applied to collective Stove work since my return.

Our trip to Bordeaux allowed for (amongst other things) a collective focusing, and with it a discovery of the true potential of this heightened, extended, collective focus.

Knowing public art is one of my big obsessions currently as I try to understand and focus my excitement and interests.

‘Have some art and everything will be better.’

Perhaps rather than ‘have some’ this should be a more active ‘make some’.

Back2Back Dumfries - last year at the Stove on Guid Nychburris Day

Back2Back Dumfries – last year at the Stove on Guid Nychburris Day. Stencils designed by youth group YES

The nature of involving communities, engaging communities in a collective and collaborative public art process, in a way that is meaningful and inspiring.

Public art projects that could become a call to action, a means for equipping local residents with new creative ways of engaging with their surroundings.

Lisa Gallacher's flags form part of the Creetown Ferry Bell alongside the A75 on the edge of the village

Way marking/signposting sculpture/art. Lisa Gallacher’s flags form part of the Creetown Ferry Bell alongside the A75 on the edge of the village

Meaningful decision making

Voicing opinions

Encouraging a positive, but driven mentality towards a sense of collective contribution, ownership and a shared sense of potential.

Approach.

“So perhaps, instead of asking what state the local economy is in, we should ask what people want their local economy to become!” (NEF, Plugging the Leaks. Page 6)¬†

Can public art be the means for asking these right questions?

Opening perspectives, encouraging involvement, collectivity, a sense of shared-ness.

Three words for Dumfries. Part of the Nithraid 2013

Asking the right questions. Three words for Dumfries. Part of the Nithraid 2013. Photo: Colin Tennant

How do we create the best mechanisms for discussion?

Familiarity.

Becoming embedded within the local psyche.

Who constitutes ‘local’?

Breaking down barriers.

The physical presence of the artist/arts group/centre/HQ/brain feels somewhat integral to reaching these goals. From projects taking over empty shops or taking to the streets, hands on engagement.

What is discussion?

What are the goals of discussion?

What are the next steps after discussion, and how are these best reached?

I realise my exposure to public art is too limited. And that I am all questions, and half gibbered notes written late at night.

The Stove’s next project is taking to the streets on Guid Nychburris Day.