Venture Niagara - Community Futures Development Corporation

Art In the Open

Facebook--Cover-EN“Public art is a part of our public history, part of our evolving culture and our collective memory. It reflects and reveals our society and adds meaning to our cities. As artists respond to our times, they reflect their inner vision to the outside world, and they create a chronicle of our public experience.” [1]

Venture Niagara is working on a new project that will enhance community engagement on the various outdoor art work pieces found across the Niagara region. These art pieces are being collected to create an online presence through a user friendly interactive application and is also complimentary to Venture Niagara’s ongoing work in promoting cycling in the Niagara region. Art in the Open will serve in part, to be a new tourism feature that capitalizes on the investment that has been made in existing and future outdoor art initiatives in the Niagara region.

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Art in the Open connects Niagara through Public Art to add significance to civic spaces, as well as engage with audiences to promote an appreciation for the artworks themselves, but also the public spaces they inhabit. These artworks all tell stories that have helped shape not just local communities, but also how we understand and appreciate Niagara and its history. The pieces chosen highlight this both in a wider manner, but will also feature local figures and stories that are all very relevant to this region.

Art in the Open is focused on furthering community engagement with public art work across the region, promoting not just education and appreciation of the very diverse works and important artists in this area, but to illustrate how these works act as landmarks for the history of these 12 municipalities. The connections between the many works (encompassing murals, memorials and sculptures) and the neighbourhoods and people living around them is a defining element of this project. The anecdotes, the living history of these works (what the art is saying and to whom) is just as important and essential to its physical location..”[2]

Picture1This is an ongoing process, and like the public art works themselves, this project is at its core about the “quality and impact of its exchange with audiences … at its most public, art extends opportunities for community engagement…it introduces social ideas but leaves room for the public to come to their own conclusions.”[3]

As information and images of the myriad works goes online, we’re eager for those who’ve interacted with these works to expand the conversation around them, with their own insights and memories. This will help further stimulate appreciation of these artworks, and especially who and what they represent for many in this region.

To follow the developments of Art in the Open follow Venture Niagara through social media or connect with:

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[1] Penny Balkin Bach, Public Art in Philadelphia (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992)

[2] C. Krause Knight, Public Art: theory, practice and populism, 2008.

[3] C. Krause Knight, Public Art: theory, practice and populism, 2008.