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Q: How to appreciate public art?

A:Usually, public art is created out of the necessity for public buildings, public engineering and public environments. Thus, its primary function is to beautify the environment where it is staged while bringing a sense of positive esthetic experience and attitudes toward life to viewers. While appreciating public art, the first thing you do is to observe it: is it connected closely to the environment? Does it exhibit an appropriate coordination and an elegant feature in beautifying the environment? What is the connotation and the value of the artwork? In addition, public art can sometimes trigger interesting interactions with its viewers (for example, viewers may sit, lay or do exercise on it), which adds more fun and uses while appreciating it and it is something that worth experiencing. Thus, good public art should qualify for the following conditions:

1. It has to be a unique art work that beautifies the space.

2. It has to be closely connected to the facilities in the environment and produced a co-existance relationship with the environment.

3. It brings positive sense of art appreciation to viewers as well as improving their esthetic experience.

4. It has to be made of firm, safe and durable material for easy maintenance.

5. It has to set a good example for carrying out the esthetic education.


Q: What does public art have to do with tourism? Is it crucial to tourism?

A:When people travel, visit and go on a business trip abroad, they usually pass through places like stations, airports, public and private organizations, hotels, parks, malls and plazas and there are usually public arts like memorial constructions, 3D sculptures and landscape designs in these places which usually become the background of many photos as well as the best memories of trips. These are the charms of public art. Artists appropriately display quality public art in the public areas where people come and go and attract whoever comes by to appreciate the work with its esthetics and creativity and make good impression on people. For cities desire to develop its tourism, public art is definitely a plus. There are lots of exquisite and interesting public arts in many cities and towns in Europe and they usually attract many tourists. That is why they always take installing a new public art seriously. The differences between cities and towns in Taiwan are not serious, and many places have already become tourist attractions. If the government would invite great artists to make creative artworks and stage them in the appropriate places, not only could these artworks beautify the space, they could also become a cultural symbol of the town/city. Public art will definitely be a great help to the development of the current tourism industry in Taiwan.

Thus, quality public art is one of the key elements to improve tourism quality throughout Taiwan and it is also a focal point of exhibiting the quality life in that area.


Q: Does public art have to be installed by the government?

A:The exiting law only stimulates that 1% of the construction costs of all-levels of governments must be contributed to public art. That is why people usually focus on public art and places governed by the government. Actually, if we would just pay a little bit more attention, we will notice that many private companies or enterprises more or less install quite some artworks for either beautifying the space or improving their company images out of their own pocket. Among these works, there are paintings, sculptures and landscape gardening and they are no-less interesting and beautiful than those owned by the government. Thus, public art is something that both public and private organizations can do. The only difference is that public organizations have to do it because of the regulations but private organizations or individuals can do it however they like it and not regulated by the laws.


Q: Sometimes, outdoor public art is huge, are there any limitations to the volume of public art?

A:The installation of public art is usually executed by an objective unit. They will decide on the volume of the artwork based on the exiting space ratios. If the public construction is big, expenses of public art is increased, then, the unit would request a bigger art work to match the space it will be staged in. Thus, the appropriate size of an artwork fit for the space needs to be carefully evaluated before making the final decision.


Q: If damages are done to the public art, how can citizens help?

A:Public art may be damaged due to natural causes or vandalism, causing its structure or appearance to be damaged to a certain level. Please report to the unit responsible immediately when the damage is spotted, and request to take care of it timely in order to maintain the quality of the space. If a vandalism is witnessed, the best way to do is to talk people out of it. If the situation is serious, please report to the police in order to maintain the safety of the community and the quality of life. Currently, some public artworks are buried in grass with no one reporting the damages. It is a problem that worth everyone's pondering.


Q: Public art can beautify a space and make the quality of life better. If we want public art to be installed in our neighbor or neighboring streets, how should we apply for it?

A:Normally, public art is installed in public buildings or major public constructions for it is regulated by the laws. If citizens feel that their community needs public art, they may give the reasons for installing the public art to the authority at an appropriate time. In addition, citizens may also raise funds from private organizations or individuals for installing public art. Many of the public art in Taiwan are installed with the donations from Rotary Club, Lions Club and other private enterprises. Some of the charity groups regularly install art works in traffic arteries and public plazas. Citizens may contact these groups through various channels for assistance and usually they would get good responses from these groups.


Q: How do we determine the quality of public art?

A:The installations of public art are usually for meeting the needs of the environment it is staged in. Thus, viewers should first understand the motives and the creativity for creating the artwork from the view of the environment and see if it blends in. The other point you need to pay attention to is whether it beautifies the environment. These are priorities for being good public arts.

In addition, viewers should get to know the style, colors and the materials of the artwork, then make the final decision - whether you like it or not? Whether it is beautiful or not? What are the advantages/drawbacks of the artwork? Whether it exhibits the spirit or the local culture it is meant to exhibit? If the answers to the above questions are yes, then, it should be a good artwork. If what you feel for the artwork is mostly negative, then, there must be room for improvement.

If citizens would like to further understand and appreciate public art, they should read some art related books or obtain related information to cultivate their sense of esthetics in order to further understand the rich and splendid modern public art.

Some long-abandoned public art is gradually getting discolored and damaged due to lack of effective management, thus, makes a bad impression on citizens. This is a problem awaits the solutions from the cooperation of the government and private organizations.