Portland Celebrates Art in Our Front Yard
Portland Celebrates Art in Our Front Yard
Public Arts Committee to feature city’s public art collection during First Friday Art Walk
Portland, Maine - Today, the Portland Public Arts Committee (PPAC) announced the launch of Art in Our Front Yard: Portland’s Public Art Collection, a series highlighting the city’s public art collection. In conjunction with First Friday Art Walk, PPAC will feature one of Portland’s public art pieces every month for the next year. A committee member will present a brief talk about the piece, discussing the history of the art work, how it came to be a part of the city’s collection and its place in Portland’s art filled front yard. The discussion series will begin with May’s First Friday Art Walk, May 4th, at 5:30 PM with the Lillian M.N. Stevens Memorial Fountain or Temperance (The Little Water Girl) located in the Portland Public Library.
“Art can have a transformative effect in a community,” remarked City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “It can connect us to the environment, to each other, to a sense of greater purpose. Portland’s public art collection brings this connection into our daily lives as we walk to work, drop our kids off at school or wait for the bus. Art in Our Front Yard gives us an opportunity to access the city’s art collection and develop a new appreciation and understanding of the important role art plays in our lives.”
“Portland is a city well known for its creative and artistic culture of which a thriving and diverse public art collection plays an important role,” noted Alice Spencer, Co-Chair of the Portland Public Arts Committee. “PPAC is excited to help bring to the city’s art collection to life. Thousands of residents pass by these pieces every day, but in our haste to reach our destination, we often miss the art right before our eyes. Art in Our Front Yard gives the public a chance to see, discuss, and engage in the city’s arts culture.”
In April 2000, the City Council established the Portland Public Art Program to preserve, restore and enhance the City’s public art collection. The Portland Public Art Program commissions art that engages with the surrounding environment to create, enrich, or reveal a sense of place, and to express the spirit, values, visions and poetry of place that collectively define Portland.
Currently, the public art collection contains twenty-eight works of art that are permanently installed throughout the city, including works of historical significance dating from the nineteenth century, as well as contemporary pieces that reflect the diversity and the spirit of the city. Recent efforts of the PPAC include redesigning the Pullen Fountain to improve access and protect it from vehicular traffic, accepting the gift of seven steel animal sculptures, Glimpse, for the Portland International Jetport, and restoring and re-plumbing The Little Water Girl for her move to the new foyer at the renovated Portland Public Library. The City Council is also expected to consider two new art initiatives in May, the PPAC recommended design proposal for the Bayside Trail Seating and the gift of a new piece for the public art collection, Tidal Moon by Maine sculptor Jesse Salisbury.
Of the twenty-eight pieces, twelve located within walking distance of the Arts District will be a part of the Art in Our Front Yard: Portland’s Public Art Collection series. Other pieces located outside of the downtown include a number of functional artworks including the Common Ground Gazebo in Payson Park and The Ravine water space in Deering Oaks: The Circle of Life.
The Portland Public Art Committee develops and presents to the City Council an Annual Art Plan that recommends expenditures from the municipal percent-for-art allocation, reviews potential gifts of art to the City’s collection according the Guidelines for the Public Art Ordinance, seeks private donations to care for the public art collection, and recommends appropriate locations for the installation of permanent public art. The Public Art Fund is supported by a .5% annual appropriation of the total city’s Capital Improvement Program. For more information about the Portland Public Art Committee, visit online.