When you think of your favorite neighborhood, what is it that makes it specifically stand out as a great place? Most likely, that neighborhood has something unique about it that makes it stand out in your mind. A lot of the places that I think of have something in common – unique public art.
McMinnville’s downtown area has some great examples. We have all probably sat down at least once by Ben Franklin or Abraham Lincoln, but there are many other installations around town (in case you haven’t found them all, this Oregon Art Beat segment from OPB shows a few more popular ones around town: https://www.pbs.org/video/oregon-art-beat-mcminnville-public-art/).
Another one of my favorite public art examples comes from my hometown. In Minneapolis, all of the sewer manhole covers on Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian-oriented street, are decorated with engravings of iconic things from Minnesota nature. One has a walleye (the state fish) and another has a loon (the state bird). These public art pieces are small in scale, but standout as you walk down the sidewalk. This form of public art comes from an idea of taking your normal infrastructure pieces that are required in any urban area (think utility boxes, streetlights, manhole covers, etc.) and turning them into an opportunity for public art. These small public art pieces, while somewhat minor, can spark a conversation, provide a good photo-opp, and overall help to contribute to the character of a place.
Do you think that opportunities for public art is an important characteristic of a great neighborhood?
"Great Neighborhood Principles" will help us explore what makes a neighborhood in