Ardmore’s public art will get an outside perspective at the end of the month.
Bryon Chambers, the Oklahoma Museum of Art’s education director and chair of the Oklahoma City Arts Commission, will speak about public art and its importance to a city at the Goddard Center. Julie Maher, executive director of Ardmore Beautification Council, said artists, teachers, city employees and anyone who’s interested in the topic is invited to the presentation.
“Oklahoma City has done some really good things for financing public art, so he’s going to come down and talk to us about what that looks like,” Maher said.
Ardmore has its fair share of public art, statues in downtown, murals throughout the city and displays in libraries.
“We’re really excited,” Maher said. “He’s enthusiastic about public art and what it can do for a community.”
Maher said art shouldn’t only be a priority in large cities. She said other communities in Oklahoma, like Enid and Stillwater, have prioritized public art installations in recent years.
“It’s not just Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” Maher said. “Other cities are taking a look at public art and quality of life issues and bringing that to their citizens.”
Maher said public art isn’t just good for the soul. It can impact everything from tourism to quality of life in a city.
“Public art brings tourists,” Maher said. “It helps with bringing people into the community, not just tourists, but people who want to live here. Art has always been a part of creating a great community.”
Maher said public art can only work if cities fully support the idea and commit to maintaining the work once it’s in place.
“As a city, we’d have to go out on a limb and say ‘this is important to our citizens, and we’re willing to try something.’” Maher said. “With anything, that’s always the issue: How are we going to maintain it? You want it to look nice for longevity’s sake.”
The presentation will start at 5 p.m. on January 31 at the Goddard Center. Refreshments will be available.