Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sustainability and Public Art?

Our last entry was about James Kuntler's take on the importance of public spaces in defining our community. Following this line of thought, today's entry offers the importance of sustainability in creating a public space. With Art in Odd places' "Call For Artists" announcement just around the corner, it is important to begin a discourse on how we use public art in sending a strong message.

A touchy (and perhaps, trendy) issue nowadays is the Green Movement. Words such as "carbon footprint" and "recycling"are thrown around to stress the impact of our actions to the environment. The movement has made great strides in putting the message across with the "green" label. However, it does raise the question whether words are enough to make a difference?

Luckily, a group based in Canada STEPS, or Sustainable Thinking and Expression and Public Space, understands the need to address issues surrounding sustainability. Their mission is to "engage public space enthusiasts in a collaborative effort to promote sustainable and community-centered public spaces by using art as a medium for dialogue on liberating the urban commons."

The beauty of this group lies not only in its principles, but the understanding the power of collaboration . From community health organization to urban health research centers, STEPS work with different groups to encourage people to use their space as hubs in addressing issues about the environment. It is a form of activism that is more than just a "writing on the wall". Now we can see how art expression can be a strong form of action, that can turn into legislation.

For more information about this group and on how to get involved, visit their website.

With this year's AiOP theme "Chance", we hope to see projects taking chances in sending messages that create dialogue for change. Remember our mission: public space is an "epicenter for diverse social interaction and the unfettered exchange of idea".

The STEPS initiative is just one of the group making this world (or public space) a better a place, and the world (or public space) needs to see more them.


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