What is public art? A simple definition is "art in public spaces." Public art can include sculptures, memorials, murals, integrated landscape or architectural work, light displays, digital media, community art, interactive, performances, festivals, and more! Public art is often site-specific, meaning the artwork was created specifically for the space or community. Public art creates a destination, invites critique, inspires photographs, and initiates a memorable experience.
Check out this February 2018 video from Fayetteville's Convention and Visitors Bureau - Experience Fayetteville. It features Matt Miller - the artist who painted the mural on N. College Avenue.
Economic Development Focus: Arts and Culture
Fayetteville First is a strategic plan created in 2016 to guide the economic
development efforts of the City over the next five years. The strategic focuses provides Fayetteville with an actionable guide to strengthen the area’s impact on the Northwest Arkansas economy and to solidify Fayetteville’s reputation as a place to collaborate, innovate, and create. The arts and culture strategic priorities are:
Continue to support existing programs that enhance arts and culture locally
Action Item: Pursue grant funding to support programs for the arts
Action Item: Encourage public art installations
Expand the arts focus in Fayetteville
Action Item: Support Cultural Arts District development
Action Item: Create additional live/work space for artists
Action Item: Develop a Downtown Art Program
Develop and support arts programs in public schools
Action Item: Create an in-school residency program for artists
Action Item: Pursue grants to support these programs
Continue to support the craft beer industry
Action Item: Partner to support existing breweries
Action Item: Assess need for educational programs
Fayetteville Arts Council
The Fayetteville Arts Council was created by Resolution 60-07 on April 3, 2007 and amended by Ordinance 5332 on July 6, 2010. Arts Council meetings are recorded and can be viewed in the City's online meeting archive (search for year and date under Fayetteville Arts Council).
The inaugural Arts Council members worked with City staff to create the Arts Council Action Plan 2009-2012 (PDF) with the following five goals. Previous and current Arts Councils continue to pursue these goals:
1. Incorporate functional art into municipal infrastructure;
2. Leverage the Cultural Arts District;
3. Clarify policies and procedures related to art review;
4. Advocate for public recognition and patronage of the arts; and
5. Identify alternatives and the associated costs and benefits for a permanent public arts funding stream.
Recent Commissions and Acquisitions
N. College Avenue Mural
Rendering of College Avenue Mural
Artist: Matt Miller (photos coming soon)
Engaging a moment of calm for the onlooker is priority one - prompting the driver enough to slow them down, but not distract. Something to look forward to while beginning your commute. It’s a functional aesthetic signaling that you’re entering a walk-able community, reflecting the City of Fayetteville’s goal of a safe passageway for pedestrians (and their animal friends).
Each circle represents the human layers that connect us all. The meditating figure inspires us to reflect and reveals how her positive energy balances the hurried movement of the street, with the fox as her protector.
The theme of the mural is “Nature doesn’t hurry yet everything still gets done.”
How do you touch millions of hearts 7 seconds at a time? The colors of nature and simple shapes create a calming, therapeutic effect. Vibrant colors represent a thriving ecosystem with imagery that represents a reflective culture. This mural will become a part of our history, our folk, our expression of who we are as a community, yet it doesn’t impose on its natural surroundings. It enhances without adding to the chaos of high traffic. -Matt Miller, artist
Details about why the mural was painted, how the artist was selected, and additional information about the the artist, Matt Miller and his concept, can be found in Legister File ID 2017-0725 (Staff Memo & Review Form).
Tsa La Gi Trail Mural
Holding On and Letting Go: The Struggles and Strength of the Tsa La Gi, 2017 - Mural by Stacy Bates
This mural focuses on the culture, traditions, and strength of the Cherokee people. Bates painted Cherokee hands near the ground to show the need to grasp tightly to their lands while being forced out. The hands are holding onto the feather wand because she feels that it represents the Cherokee, desperately holding onto their important traditions, as well as trying to hold onto their strength (the golden eagle feathers). The wand is used during many Cherokee events, including the eagle dance, when the eagle spirit is welcomed after an eagle is killed. Seven golden eagle tail feathers are used when making making the feather wand. Of the seven feathers, four are painted whole and the others are partial - representing those Cherokee that passed on during the journey. In the background, there will be a detailed pattern, using inspiration from the Cherokee rivercane baskets. Baskets were used for gathering, storing, transporting and food preparation. The women were said to create these baskets with no preparation or pattern; they wove them so tightly that some baskets could hold water - representing the strength of the Cherokee during this terrible time while walking the Trail of Tears.
Details about why the mural was painted, how the artist was selected, and additional information about the the artist, Stacy Bates and her concept, can be found in Resolution No. 119-17.
Utility Box Beautification - Artists have been beautifing our community by turning utility boxes into works of art. This graffiti abatement project is managed by the Keep Fayetteville Beautiful Committee and the Community Policing Division of the Fayetteville Police Department.
Topo Map for School Avenue
Topo Map for School Avenue (2018) is a site-specific public artwork commissioned by the City of Fayetteville and Walton Arts Center with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Artist Stacy Levy; with installation assistance from Custom Pavement Maintenance and Safety of Van Buren, volunteers, and Fenix Fayetteville artists; completed the four-block-long installation in May 2018 for the Walton Arts Center's Artosphere Festival.
The artwork meets two goals of the Fayetteville Arts Council Action Plan. One is to incorporate functional art into municipal infrastructure. Levy’s Topo Map for School Avenue is a visual education tool, reminding viewers of stormwater issues in Fayetteville’s hilly landscape. Levy uses thermoplastic materials to create a life-size topographic map on School Avenue between Dickson and Mountain Streets. Markings of multiple colors represent micro gradients, indicating steepness and where stormwater, from rain or ice/snow, travels and collects on the impervious asphalt street. The public artwork also meets the second goal, to leverage the Cultural Arts District, by adding to the existing cultural amenities in the area and attracting tourists.
In 2013, the City of Fayetteville, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, and the Walton Arts Center, applied for and received a $100,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Our Town Grants fund creative placemaking projects. A proof of concept for a streetscape project was created with the grant funds. Information in the Walkscapes Froms Sidewalks to Rooms: A Complete Street for School Avenue report shows how the City and stakeholders successfully meet the NEA grant program goals to “lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for strengthening communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes.”
Upstream Art: Storm Drain Murals for Water Quality
This unique and engaging educational program utilizes art to communicate the function and importance of storm drains. UpStream Art gives artists the opportunity to express themselves with semi-permanent public art in the form of a small-scale outdoor storm drain mural. The purpose of UpStream Art is to draw attention to the usually discreet concrete and iron infrastructure with the hope that observers stop and think about where the water flows after it enters a storm drain. If residents understand that stormwater flows untreated to creeks, streams, rivers and lakes, then they will be more conscious of potential pollutants that can enter those waterways. The project was lead by water quality experts from NWArkansas Stormwater Education and the University of Arkansas's Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. As a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permittee, the City of Fayetteville is required by the Federal Clean Water Act to educate the public about community stewardship of water resources with emphasis on long-term solutions to stormwater pollution.