Community Engagement in Placemaking: Examining Greater Boston’s Public Space Through the Lens of Public Artwork.
Calnan, Mary Elise.
- Throughout “Community Engagement in Placemaking: Examining Greater Boston’s Public Space Through the Lens of Public Artwork,” I interrogate the purpose of public artwork and advocate for more collective placemaking. Although placemaking refers to the collaborative process of developing urban environments that are more human and exemplify a sense of place, public artwork reveals the imbalances of p... read moreeople’s abilities to shape public spaces. Specifically, I expose the limitations and benefits of commissioned artwork and unsanctioned artwork through local case studies of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Red Line artwork and the stencil NOT ART. Rather than establishing artwork that is strictly commissioned or unsanctioned, I argue that a hybrid of these public artwork approaches, like legal graffiti sites and community art projects, has the most potential to bolster equitable placemaking. As I discuss The Wall in Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I argue that ongoing art projects that welcome anyone to participate elevate communities’ power to inhabit and alter public spaces. News articles and books about public space, public artwork, and art activism along with interviews with artists, an MBTA representative, and art experts inform my project. By investigating both the value and disadvantages of commissioned and unsanctioned public artwork, I urge more cities in Greater Boston to authorize sites that encourage all individuals to create art; these sites can serve as social spaces for community events, ultimately becoming continuous, inclusive placemaking projects.read less