In this second blog about embracing the quirky on Main Street, let’s take a look at public art. As discussed in the previous post, whimsical and offbeat installations (art, signage, alleys, seating, etc.) can fit well in historic surroundings, creating a unique sense of place, as long as they do not detract from or destroy the overall historic character. Public art is a great way to inject a bit of quirkiness into these areas.
Murals are one popular type of public art. Increasingly, communities are coming up with ways to make them interactive or create backgrounds for photo opportunities. This mural in the Ferndale district of Detroit encourages people to become part of it.
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the advocacy group “The Butterfly Effect” sponsored this butterfly mural that invites interaction, and they use it for public awareness of their cause.
Photos courtesy of The Butterfly Effect
In Beloit, Wisconsin, they pay homage to the city’s industrial history with industrial-themed murals on factory walls.
Murals don’t always have to be on walls. This alley in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, draws people in.
Murals can even make undesirable places more appealing, like this underpass along the Beltline trail in Atlanta, Georgia.
Traditional logos can make for whimsical art, like this post office mural in Princeton, Wisconsin.
Mother Fools coffee shop in Madison, Wisconsin, allows local graffiti artists to use their side wall as a canvas. Their artwork is left up for a week or two, and then another artist gets a turn, creating a steady stream of creativity all year.
Photos courtesy of Mother Fools Coffeehouse
Sculpture is another popular art form in downtowns. The streetscape provides a perfect backdrop for sculptures of all materials and sizes. This series of rusted metal artwork in Fort Myers, Florida, is dispersed throughout downtown, encouraging people to walk the entire district to see them all.
A gap between buildings in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, is a perfect place for this larger-than-life catfish.
Public art is not limited to urban areas. Reedsburg, in the rural Driftless area of Wisconsin, has created a program called Artslink, which is as cutting-edge as any similar effort in larger cities.
Photos courtesy of Reedsburg Artslink