What is Public Art?
The term public art properly refers to works of art in any media that has been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the public domain, usually outside and accessible to all.
The experience of public art makes a public space seem more welcoming; it creates a deeper interaction with the place one is visiting, working or living; it helps one remember the past; it helps one honor an ideal; it helps express shared values and concerns to future generations. Public art makes cities more livable and more beautiful. It strengthens civic identity.
Creating positive, memorable images that enhance and define a city’s identity, public art boosts civic pride and burnishes the city’s image to the outside world. Walnut Creek is one of the over 350 towns and civic organizations that sponsor public art programs in the United States.
Walnut Creek Embraces Public Art
Walnut Creek has officially encouraged public art projects in the community since 1982, when the City Council approved the first public art requirements and guidelines. In 1999, in order to formalize public art acquisition and placement throughout the City, the Walnut Creek Arts Commission produced the Public Art Master Plan (PDF). This comprehensive public art policy for the City of Walnut Creek standardized guidelines, enabling citizens and City staff members to better visualize, organize, and implement public art projects.
Walnut Creek officially adopted its Public Art Program in 2000 when the City Council approved two key ordinances mandating funding and the inclusion of public art in new development and renovation projects. Since the Program’s inception, artwork has been installed at Olympia Plaza, Ygnacio Center, the Corners, City Hall Plaza, the new Downtown Library, and more.
The Public Art Program is administered by the Arts + Recreation Department and overseen by the Bedford Gallery Advisory Council and the Arts Commission.