Belmonte (2022). By Ernesto Maranje. Fort Lee Mural Project. Courtesy: Ernesto Maranje.
At the Public Art Archive (PAA), we are driven by our mission of making public art more public. Our lofty goal to archive every public art project across communities — from urban centers to remote rural areas — motivates our efforts to build and distribute a centralized digital repository that enhances the accessibility of public art to everyone. Accessibility is not solely about being able to visit an artwork in public space (although every collection and individual artwork appears on an interactive map in the Public Art Archive), but offering digital pathways for the public to meaningfully experience the artwork in a way that establishes it as a dynamic, interconnected keeper of history, context, and meaning rather than a static object.
The implicit richness of public art is all too often lost in the stories we fail to tell or provide access to. Each work contains a multitude of narratives, growing and shifting from the stages of inception to its installation and eventual integration into public space. Whether intended to beautify a barren or industrial space, signify the meaning or history of a site, reflect the purpose of a building and its users, or celebrate community values and aspirations, each work shifts the visual landscape. Artist intention is just one of the factors that informs public perception; equally meaningful are the ways in which public artworks come into existence, the collaborative efforts tied to production, and the ways in which context can be derived from surroundings.
Elevate Your Public Art Collection with the Public Art Archive
The Public Art Archive offers the essential digital space to document the many narratives of public art and to connect artworks within and across communities, all from a unified repository that reflects the public experience of discovering public art. By utilizing the Public Art Archive platform, you are significantly increasing the accessibility of your collections and portfolios while simultaneously contributing to the shared history of public space. In order to best achieve our ultimate goal of making public art more public, we offer our services of artwork contributions and inclusion in our public engagement portal entirely free of charge. We encourage artists and administrators alike to leverage our platform and archival tools to make both the tangible and digital experiences of discovering and engaging with their artworks and collections interesting, fun, and immersive.
Images left to right: Image 1: ‘Ike aku, ‘ike mai. Kokua aku, kokua mai. Pela ka nohona ‘ohana (Watch. Observe. Help others + accept help. That is the family way) (2019). By Emmanuel Jarus. Maui Public Art Corps. Courtesy: Bryan Berkowitz for SMALL TOWN * BIG ART. Image 2: On a Journey with You (2023). By Oliverio Balcells. Valley Metro. Courtesy: Oliverio Balcells. Image 3: A Certain Slant of Light (2023). By Spencer Finch. Arlington County. Courtesy: Arlington County. Image 4: Julia Flippo Reno Wheelmen (2023). By Julia Flippo. Reno Public Art. Courtesy: Reno Public Art.
Digitize and Share Your Public Art Collection
If you’re looking for new ways to digitize and share your collection or archive your portfolios, you can do so without the burden of cost or experience. Even if you utilize your own websites, apps, or collection management software, integrating your artwork information with the Public Art Archive will improve the availability of your collection by providing alternate avenues for the public to discover your artwork. Your work will be discoverable by audiences across the world exploring public art, and a comprehensive listing of your individual collection or portfolio will be findable, filterable, and mappable, enhancing the visibility of your individual or organization’s work.
Make it your goal this year to immerse new audiences in rich and engaging self-guided experiences of public art by collaborating with us.
Need more resources? Use our [free] import templates to begin your documentation. Download the templates you need and let them guide you through the process.
Leveraging the Platform
Now that my collection data has been submitted to PAA, what can I do next?
- Link to your collection listing
- Filter and sort your collection
- View your collection on the map
- Share out records for every individual artwork in your collection