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To the uninitiated, defining the legacy of a project can be confusing and act as a distraction from the development of the actual art work. Ensure that issues are discussed and formalised in the management plan at the start of the process, and the impact of certain preferences on the actual artwork are clearly assessed. This final part of the project can be summarised in the following five elements.
Project connectivity with site and community
Throughout the development of the project various methods of animation and dialogue will have been explored with the community.At the end of the project, the 'artwork' completion event will have focused the community.Ensure that the evaluation and communication with all members of the local community is carried out with clear and inclusive procedures.Be aware that specific evaluation methodologies will need to be adopted for different elements of the community.This information may best be gathered through workshops, talks, seminars or on site tours. Ensure that this information directly feeds into the evaluation documentation and gives a genuine 'picture' of how the project 'touched' the site and community.
Ensure that post project, elements of this information and future projects are fed back to the community through blogs, leaflets, postcards, publications or public events.Try to maintain a dialogue with a community and encourage groups to continue to meet and interact.
Creating any piece of artwork in the public realm can develop educational opportunities, either directly through participation in the process, or indirectly as a connected community.Any work that has been carried out with schools or the community should be formally evaluated and documented (see 4.1). This process can be continued after the work is completed on many different levels, either for an isolated work or as part of a growing public art programme in the city.Consider:
Linking with schools creative curriculums to develop workshops with local artists.
Create interpretation literature that can be accessed in paper and digital format, and where appropriate on sign boards near to the work.
Create presentations to communities, council, partners and business about the project/s, as well as the processes and professional practices that support them.
Develop a public art programme or link into an established city programme.
Create a dedicated website that promotes the project and future activities.
Initiate public forums on the public art possibilities of an area.
Consider mentoring of emerging artists or art students by established local or visiting artists.
Network with artists, arts organisations, universities, curators and consultants.
Develop blogs to animate and encourage dialogue locally and nationally.
Some sort of documentation process should be built into the commissioning brief and a budget included.This creates a detailed record of the commission for future reference, it enables you to promote the project to a wider audience, use it as evidence to source funding and support for future art works and generally demonstrate the success of the project
The documentation can be carried out in visual and written formats - it may be appropriate to film as well as photograph stages of the project.This should be linked to the collecting of evaluation information (see 4.2).
All public art works should be credited to the artist and acknowledge funders, sponsors and partners.This may take the form of a simple sign in the proximity of the work or be part of the work itself. The documentation records should include:
The title of the work
The name of the artist
The materials and measurements (size or duration)
Date of completion
Artist's biographical details
An artist statement about the work and a photographic record.
Maintenance and conservation information and schedule (see 4.2.5)
All management documents, artist' contract and brief
Contact information for the artist and all partners and contractors
All publications, reviews and links to associated information
In addition book publications, leaflets or exhibition information boards can be produced to give more detailed background information about the project. This is an opportunity to extend the dialogue surrounding the art work and market the project to a more diverse public.Consider commissioning writers to respond to the art work.
Creating a website or digital 'database' of information can also be a useful tool that provides easy public access.In this way searchable local maps can be created that link city artworks for use by residents, schools, visitors and arts organisations.It can link the artist who has completed your commission to other works by them or similar works in other parts of the country, acting as a resource for curators and other cultural professionals.
Depending on the type of project and it's management support system, the successful creation of an artwork may initiate the desire to create further works.This may manifest itself as the initiation of a localised public art programme, a small 'art trail', a regular 'festival' / event, a collaboration with another group, or simply a method to maintain an ongoing creative community dialogue.The effective evaluation, documentation and publicity of the project is vital to start this process - allow community activity, site connectivity and creative professional feedback to guide future formats.
Management and maintenance plans
The management and maintenance of public art can be a difficult issue, one which is often overlooked or under-considered.
Following the unveiling of a permanent piece of art work or the completion of a performance or temporary installation, the immediate burst of excitement can easily dim if post management is not considered.
Permanent exterior and interior art works are often exposed to weather conditions and human forces of vandalism, pollution or accidents. Permanent pieces rarely have a considered plan for cleaning and repairing resulting in a real risk of depreciation, sometimes, over a relatively short period of time.
The limited time frame of a temporary commission lends itself to a mindset of casual enjoyment, one where the public and other professionals can quickly enjoy and quickly forget. For the community who are engaged in the final results of the commission, this may be forgivable alongside the media competition of other events, however for those involved in the process, every effort should be made to maintain the presence of the artwork within the history of the site and city (see 4.2.3 Formal Documentation).
This lack of management and maintenance is perhaps symbolic of the low value placed on some public art once sited and why a clear commissioning vision needs to be realised before the work is created by all the city partners. The exclusion of a maintenance plan reminds us that often permanent public art works may not be considered to have the same integral value as architecture, lighting, seating and signage within the public realm. There are of course, many cities, towns and regions which have fully comprehensive plans, however there are many who do not. It is vital that we maintain and respect sited art works, and maintain good documentation of temporary works, to encourage future support in the development of our contemporary city environment in a positive and diverse manner.