Broward County's Public Art & Design Program is a Work of Art
“The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.”
- Hendrik Willem Van Loon
The Broward Cultural Division manages the Public Art & Design Program, which originated in 1976 as the Art in Public Places Program. The program’s mission is to commission works of art that create a sense of place, improve the visual environment for the citizens, and advance the missions of the County departments within which they are located. With much success and growth in the first 19 years, the program took a dramatic shift in 1995, when the allocation from County construction projects was increased to two percent. The program was renamed Public Art & Design to reflect a renewed dedication to enhancing architecture and urban spaces, through the ideas and creations of visual artists. Today, the money is distributed to art (70 percent), project support (15 percent) and long-term conservation (15 percent). Major projects occur at airports, ports, roadways, libraries, parks and other County buildings.
Apart from the dynamic results and multi-dimensional impact to any community of public art – the entire process, from needs assessment, to artwork commission, to artist selection, artwork design and installation – is an interesting one. Each journey, beginning with the dream, continues through the collaboration of artists, community groups, planners and architects, all coming together to deliver a work of art. Unlike private artists, who respond to themselves and their inner workings, public artists are commissioned at the early stages of a project so that they may effectively collaborate with the construction architect as a member of the project design team. Artists are continually encouraged to reach out to the community in the early phases of the design process, to ensure that the resulting artworks and aesthetic amenities respond to community needs and perceptions.
The Public Art & Design program is presently in the process of creating a fully-comprehensive public art guide that will list and showcase most of the artworks in the Broward County collection. Until then, the artworks can be viewed online in the Public Art Tour, located on the Cultural Division website (www.broward.org/arts). The collection is a 263-piece collection, installed at 90 locations. It is an internationally-recognized, world-class program, listed among an ensemble of some of the finest public art globally, according to a 2002 publication in Australia’s Images Publishing, Designing the World’s Best Public Art.
For more information about the Broward Cultural Division and its Public Art & Design Program, call 954-357-7457.