ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.

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Quotations and viewpoints on the role of artists in the public domain.

Quotable quotes

  • Art isn't necessary anymore as a field, a profession; art is no longer a noun, it [has] become a verb. Art is nothing but a general attitude of thickening the plot.

    Vito Acconci
  • Art is language and public art is public speech.

    Jonathan Jones, The Guardian
  • Public art is always art.

    Patricia C Phillips

  • Artists bring meaning to forgotten elements.

    Jim Buckley, artist
  • Public art is...

    'accessible work of any kind that cares about, challenges, involves, and consults the audience for or with whom it was made, respecting community and environment'.

    Lucy Lippard
  • Making time for Design is the first rule of good design involving artists.

    Chris Smith, ex Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
  • If you want change you must be prepared to think differently

    The function of public art is to de-design.

    Vito Acconci
  • Artists are not miracle workers – they’re just another alternative.

    Mary Jane Jacobs
  • Artists, designers, planners and architects alike must face the challenge of defining public space, as an opportunity to create or improve the sense of community among those who will determine the use, or abandonment of a place.

    Ethan Kane, from Ars Poetica, 2004
  • Quality of work should always be an issue.

  • Public art is not an art form, it’s simply a way of improving the changing environment through the arts.

  • Public art is...

    'a form of street life, a means to articulate the implicit values of a city when its users occupy the place of determining what the city is'.

    Malcolm Miles
  • Prescriptive briefs and hesitant clients produce dull work.

  • Public art can be static, moving, part of the infrastructure or a projection of light and sound. It can last for a minute, a day, a year or a lifetime.

  • Modern society undoubtedly needs creativity and vision more than it needs works of art... It needs artists with their ways of doing things more than it needs the things they make. It needs them for what they ‘are’ rather than for what they ‘do’.

    Pavel Buchler
  • Public art revises the present of art and conjectures its future:...

    a time when art might be considered not as a separable category, in its own arena and with its own products, but as an atmosphere instilled, almost secretly, within other categories of life.

    Vito Acconci
  • There is no such thing as a ‘public artist’, just artists who work in a variety of contexts./

  • Art is an activating agent.

    Mel Gooding
  • Public art, in all its diversity, can mediate all spaces as Places.

    John Newling
  • The new public art demands and invites communication and the engagement of others.

    Mary Jane Jacob
  • Bring artists in as creative thinkers, not just as makers of objects.

  • Abstract space becomes particular place.

    Jeff Kelley
  • Public art is about the free field, the play of creative vision.

    Patricia Phillips
  • Just as an individual person dreams fantastic happenings to release the inner forces which cannot be encompassed by ordinary events, so too a city needs its dreams.

    Christopher Alexander
  • There can be no public art without collaboration.

Quotes in favour of the website

If public art is your destination, then publicartonline is your definitive guidebook to discover new routes, fellow travellers and unique artists, projects, resources and case studies.
Denna Jones - Artist

  • We frequently use the website which we think is very good
    Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, artist

  • The discipline of public art is in its adolescence.  Publicartonline.org, a well-researched and excellently written website contributes not only to those of us - artists - who need information and a better understanding of the context in which our work is being viewed and judged, but enhances the profession as a whole. It is wonderfully useful.
    Leni Schwendinger, artist
  • Public Art Online has been so helpful to us, especially with the updated commission notices and projects to watch. It's easy to use and full of everything you need as an artist to keep up with current news and thoughts.

    Rebecca Dix, Marketing coordinator, Cod Steaks Lt

  • Public Art Online is easily the best port of call for up to date public art information.

    Ian Banks, independent public art consultant and architect
  • Public Art Online is a really useful site full of relevant information which is very well presented and easy to find.

    Ruth Jacobs, Arts Co-ordinator, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Publicartonline is a remarkable resource and hands down the best public art site out there.

    Annie Hillis, arts consultant, Canada
  • I am a town planner in private practice, and have recently completed my MA Dissertation concerning community involvement in public art delivery for urban regeneration. May I congratulate you on the success of Public Art Online, which has been an extremely interesting and valuable resource for me over the past year.

    Becky Cocker
  • Publicartonline is an excellent source of information and inspiration...

    The case studies include examples of how art and artists can contribute to the development of a better built environment, promoting a higher quality of life. This is not simply through placing art in public spaces, but by involving artists as part of creative teams transforming places. CABE supports this new kind of approach, bringing creativity back into the design of new urban spaces, but also into regeneration and renewal schemes, helping to put excellence back into the ordinary and the everyday as well as the iconic.

    Chris Murray, Director of Learning and Development, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • When colleagues are searching for an excellent on-line resource for public art case studies and information, Publicartonline is always on the top of my list of recommendations.

    Renee Piechocki, Public Art Network Manager, Americans for the Arts
  • ‘I just wanted to acknowledge your website as a great resource for what’s happening in public art world wide. It keeps me in touch with projects that are happening internationally’
    Danella Bennett, Public Art, City of Sydney
  • ‘Public Art Online has been an invaluable source of information for many years. I have recommended it to colleagues without hesitation.’
    Cheryl York, Arts/Culture Co-ordinator, Kitchener City Council, Canada

  • ‘Public Art Online is an important resource in higher education teaching and research.’
    Dr Lara Perry, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton

  • ‘This is an invaluable source of information.’
    Kevin Wilson, Director, Artpoint

  • ‘This website has invaluable case studies, current information and best practice models. We find it to be an invaluable resource in helping us develop work.’
    Paul Leivers, Head of Cultural Services, Dorset County Council

  • ‘It is an incredible resource/archive, the only one of it’s kind.’
    Annie Lovejoy, Artist, UK

  • ‘The web site is excellent.’
    Ruairi O Cuiv, Public Art Manager, Dublin City Council

  • ‘I have found that this forum for the intellectual debate and dynamic library of evidence has proved extremely useful in supporting the elevation of the standards of dialogue and the development of greater ambitions for commissioning and policy development in the UK.’
    David Cotterrell, Professor of Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University

  • ‘There is no doubt that Public Art Online has been instrumental in public art which would not have happened otherwise.’
    Andrew Knight, Public Art Consultant, UK

  • ‘It is a vital source of information sharing and I strongly believe that the website has had a key role in raising the quality and potential of creativity in the public realm.’
    Kathryn Hodgkinson, Artist, UK

  • ‘If anything is useful as an on-line resource for all of us in the field of Art in the Public Realm, it’s Public Art Online.’
    Vivien Lovell, Director, Modus Operandi

  • ‘Your website is an invaluable information resource for the international public art community.’
    Liese Fenner, Manager of Public Art, Americans for the Arts, Washington, USA

  • ‘I consider Public Art Online to be one of my key resources for public art information.’
    Renee Piechocki, Artist and Public Art Consultant, US

  • ‘Public Art Online is the only national service providing easily accessible, clear and up to date information on the means by which high quality public art can be realised.’
    Isabel Vasseur, Director, ArtOffice

  • ‘The website is one of the most comprehensive sources of information, guidance and case studies in Europe and beyond. The site is one of the best sources on collaboration between artists and the built environment/regeneration context.’
    Bridget Sawyers, Chief Executive, Architecture Centre Network

  • ‘Your website provision alone is generally considered by artists, art managers, consultants, architects and other policy professionals to be the most comprehensive and trusted source of information and advice on matters relating to art in the public realm, not just in the UK but internationally. It is the international benchmark for a resource of this kind.’
    Stephen Beddoe, Programme Manager, Artquest

  • ‘In a profession where there is no regulatory body, no union, no real basis on how to conduct ourselves we turn to Public Art Online for certain advice.’
    Rob Colbourne, Artist, UK

  • ‘The case studies, planning law deatails, new initiatives, artists’ projects, international practice, and all the other components of the Public Art Online website are absolutely vital resources and are not available from any other place.’
    Geoff Wood, Director, Working pArts Ltd

  • ‘At some point, you always end up saying “it could be like this”, and then you explain what this is like. And that’s when you go to Public Art Online.’
    David Pattern, Artist, UK

Policy statements

  • The large number of new and redeveloped hospitals present a great opportunity for NHS to embrace the benefits of the arts....

    We need to ensure that art in all its formats is fully integrated into these buildings.

    Improving the Patient Experience - The Art of Good Health (Pub: NHS Estates)
  • Artists can best become involved at the start of the process, so that they can contribute conceptually to a project – if you use them to bolt-on art work at the end, opportunities are missed and results may be unsatisfactory. If your project has a percent for art policy, you could appoint a lead artist to formulate a creative direction, and advise on how to involve other artists and arts organisations. Using an artist can add considerably to the distinctiveness of your scheme – it may be a factor that makes one bid stand out from the rest in a tendering process.

    Creating Excellent Buildings – a guide for clients. CABE 2003
  • The RIBA is very keen to support the involvement of artists in the design of the built environment. More and more architects are discovering the advantages of working with artists at every stage of a project and we are seeing more and more wonderful results of these collaborations. The Artist is our ally in championing aesthetic values over those of time and cost in our constant battle against the philistines who make up the majority of the construction industry. 'Publicartonline' is a valuable resource in bringing architects and artists together.

    The Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Public Art can play an important role in providing an attractive, high quality environment and in helping to build a new community. Public Art can provide a focal point, enhanced sense of place and delight for local residents. To provide added value, the process associated with commissioning the artwork can involve local communities, help build local pride, and help foster social cohesion and community cohesion.

    Creativity in the Coalfields. English Partnerships 2005
  • Visual quality enhances life satisfaction - surveys support the idea that better places make us happier people.

    David Lammy, Culture Minister, in a lecture 'The cost of bad design’, 19 June 2006.
  • There (is) a bigger role for artists to work with design teams as their insights and interventions can greatly contribute to our understanding of the built environment, how places and spaces are used and should inform the way in which the built environment is seen in the future.

    Jonathan Davis, Acting Director of Learning and Development, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment
  • The Civic Trust seeks to improve the quality of the urban environment in cities, towns and villages across the UK through enterprising partnerships, excellence in design and engaging with the community and supports the involvement of artists as an integral part of achieving this quality....

    The Civic Trust
  • Public art is increasingly being recognised as a crucial element in the creation of successful public spaces in our towns and cities. It helps to increase investment values, provides a creative edge and adds that vital ingredient of fun.

    Chris Oldershaw, Chief Executive, Gloucester Heritage
  • Experience has demonstrated that design teams should include representatives from local communities, businesses and artists in order to enrich the process and the quality of the development.

    The Essex Design Initiative
  • Artists, therefore, can bring to the building procurement and delivery process an instinctive and extraordinary capacity to extend the concept of building function beyond its physical aspects.

    Art Built-in Policy, Queensland Government, Australia
  • The work of artists should be integrated into the design process at the earliest possible stage if it is to be used effectively.

    By Design - Urban Design in the Planning System (Pub: CABE/DETR)
  • Our policy will be to promote 100 per cent good design in our public buildings - through the design of the building itself and the green spaces around it or the involvement of artists in the project

    Culture and Creativity: The Next Ten Years (Pub: DCMS)
  • Public art can make a major contribution to giving a place character and identity, bringing people into and through places.

    Urban Design Compendium
  • Public art fosters civic pride, creates a sense of fun, makes a place more memorable, stimulates new ideas and contributes to environmental renewal and economic and social development. Through increased involvement in the design process, artists are making a vital difference to the quality of the built environment across the region, and helping to create a 'new' heritage'.

    Sue Kay, Executive Director, Culture South West
  • It is a great mistake to equate value for money with lowest costs, especially when we look at buildings and public space.  Innovative and creative design adds real value.

    James Strachan, Chairman, Audit Commission
  • Public art can make a major contribution to giving a place character and identity, bringing people into and through places, generating civic pride in a neighbourhood and improving its image.

    These factors, which can be vital in creating places where people want to live, work and visit, can often be achieved for a small percentage of the overall project cost.

    BURA (British Urban Regeneration Association) Steering Group & Development Forum
  • The South West of England Regional Development Agency recognises the important contribution of public art and artists to the creation of a high quality built environment, a vital ingredient of successful economic development.

    Ian Piper, Head of Regeneration, South West of England Regional Development Agency
  • Public art should be an integral part of the design process and not an afterthought. It should be considered at the design brief stage.

    South West of England Regional Development Agency

Descriptions of practice

  • Public art supplies another layer of sensitivity to the development process, complementing (and challenging) the work of architecture and landscape design. It works with issues of image and identity to create a distinctive sense of particular place. It reveals content, and connects this to context to provide a meaningful narrative that underpins the regeneration programme.

    David Patten, artist
  • He said that philosophically he believed in working with everyday things - in how you shifted the potential of the ordinary.

    Terry Farrell quoting Liam Gillick, on the Home Office project
  • ..we realised we needed an artist's voice working on this because we wanted to escape normal architectural solutions.

    Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins
  • It is essential that artists are supported and encouraged to have a creative input into the regeneration of our cities.  If you look at other successful cities across the world you recognise the ones that are proactively encouraging artist activity.  They are the cities that people want to visit and remember visiting.

    Charles Quick, artist
  • Perhaps rediscovering places is what artists and architects can do together.

    Jeff Kelley
  • Artists can be ‘visual engineers’ and become an integral part of the conceptualizing design team.

  • The public realm helps develop creativity because it allows people to go beyond their own circle of family, professional and social relations.

    Charles Landry
  • [public art] what a superb way of getting students involved in taking ownership of their future surroundings! Dave Schofield, Assistant Head, Brislington Enterprise College

  • Consultants working in niche areas such as public art, lighting or townscape may be seen a providing a limited specialist input, but in many cases actually provide the skills that help to drive the placemaking process.

    Paul Reynolds, 'Placemaking'
  • Where public art really fails is not where there is negative publicity but rather where there is indifference.

    Toby Dennett, Director, Sculptors' Society of Ireland