‘Public art’ is defined as any work of art which is designed for and sited in a space accessible to the general public. According to Americans for the Arts, “Public art instills meaning—a greater sense of identity and understandings of where we live, work, and visit—creating memorable experiences for all. It humanizes the built environment, provides an intersection between past, present, and future, and can help communities thrive.
Public art has been found to provide a positive impact on communities by supporting economic growth and sustainability, attachment and cultural identity, artists as contributors, social cohesion and cultural understanding, and public health and belonging.”
Meggan Kerber, Executive Director of Berks Arts said, “Berks Arts seeks to provide opportunities for our community to become inspired and engaged in the arts. The Arts are a great tool for communication, sharing stories and building community. This initiative provides an opportunity for local residents and visitors to travel throughout the City of Reading and Berks County, either virtually or in person, to explore the varying forms of sculpture, murals, outdoor galleries and architecture featured.
“The City of Reading and Berks County is rich in arts, culture and history and this is one way our organizations can work together to continue to support our local artists and art organizations.”
The project offers a mapping tool that identifies public art locations including murals, temporary public exhibits, statues, and features images for identifying each piece. Citizens are invited to visit and view the creations in person or online as guided by the curated information. Taking pictures of public art in the community? Consider using #PublicArtRDG across social media platforms.
“Public art plays a critical role in economic and community development through beautification and connectivity – connectivity to people and to places. Art is for everyone and accessibility is vital,” said Aaron Gantz, Executive Director of Downtown Development for Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.
Knowing that the list is not exhaustive, and that more installations may be created regularly or updated, individuals and groups are invited to add to the listings by submitting information and images or video to grow the catalog.
“BCTV is happy to assist it giving this project new life. The art mapping tour/tool was very well received when it was launched in 2013, and we are pleased to see that the public art offerings have grown so tremendously that we can revive and reinvigorate this project in 2020,” added Heather Adams, Executive Director of BCTV.
New installations included in the expanded mapping project include the Fast Lane Art project that displays student artworks in street-front window space throughout downtown Reading, and also the ‘Hope Healing and Unity’ pieces that now adorn the Reading Parking Authority’s garages and BARTA’s bus shelters in center city.
Video by Bree Zele