Indiana group expands definition of ‘public art’

EVANSVILLE — Walking the streets of Haynie’s Corner, you might find a colorful mural displayed across a building or fence, a painted mini-public library or a sculpture popping up among the mix of homes, businesses and art installations.

When you visit the Evansville Public Art Commission’s approved public artwork page, the dominant record of public artwork in Evansville, seven projects spanning two decades appear. But the murals and installations that dotted the city’s arts district are missing.

A group based in Marion County, Indiana, is taking a different approach.

The Census of Public Art in Marion County, called Public Art for All, cast a wider net in defining and cataloging public artwork. Led by author and lead researcher Danisha Monet Malone, the team completed a street-by-street inventory of the county that includes Indianapolis and identified 3,090 works of art that fit their broad definition of public art.

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Unlike most public art in cities and counties, Malone has included roadside monuments, graffiti and even shafts in his collection of artwork. She defined artworks as “public” if they can be seen from a public space, such as a road.

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