Mercer Island

Fall 2019 / Winter 2020

Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Guide

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Page 37 of 47

38 Fall 2019/Winter 2020 ARTS & CULTURE Five Reasons Public Art is Great for Mercer Island B Y S A R A H B L U V A S P A R K S & R E C R E A T I O N S T A F F The public art collection is an important avenue for engaging Islanders with arts, culture, and creativity. It features more than 60 2D and 3D works found in one of our many parks, throughout Town Center, and in public buildings and other locations around the Island. The Mercer Island Arts Council works with Parks & R ecreation staff to steward the collection and periodically add new works of art through the City's public art acquisition process. But why do we have so much public art in the first place? Aside from beautification, these artworks bring many benefits to the City. Here are five reasons public art is great for Islanders. . Public art cultivates community identity and attachment to places. Public art influences how you connect with your community by making it visually distinct. Projects also often highlight local cultures and histories, allowing you to "see" yourself in the art on display. From recognizable sculptures like Primavera II to the Milk Bottles that reflect Mercer Island's dairy farm heritage, public art helps create and preserve community connection to the Island. Have you been out for a walk in Aubrey Davis Park and stumbled upon a bronze deer nestled in the trees? Or run circles around the maze-like landscape in Luther Burbank Park? Have you ever wondered what those space-worthy objects sitting outside the Community Center are? These are all works from Mercer Island's public art collection! 1 2 Public art creates a sense of place. Art can foster a sense of place by physically orienting you and by providing focal points for community gathering. The Gateway Figures let you know you've returned to Mercer Island by greeting you at the I-90 off-ramp. You might invite your neighbors for a picnic near Playful Pup, and they'll know to meet you in Aubrey Davis Park. Sculptures aren't the only way arts and culture make it easier to navigate a place, though. Many communities integrate arts into their wayfinding; artistic signage, patterned sidewalks, landscaping, and more can not only create interest but also encourage foot traffic and help you find your way around. 3 Public art inspires you to explore and reflect. The collection serves as a source of surprise and discovery in parks and other locations. Wander upon a piece like Handsome Bollards on your morning walk, and wonder what you might find tomorrow. Other artwork encourages contemplation. Gateway of Service, an installation crafted from a World Trade Center artifact, intends to evoke thoughtful conversation. Whet her you seek tranquility, a new discovery, or something else, Mercer Island's public art collection provides many opportunities for exploring.

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