August 29, 2006 > Public art
Public art serves multiple important functions. It gives a city a strong and positive identity. It tells the world that we care about our city, that we want it to be an interesting and beautiful place. It lends prestige and creates harmony. In 1987 the city of Fremont instituted a policy stating that one percent of construction costs of each public building and park constructed by the city must be dedicated to commissioning a unique piece of public art.
As the artist who created the artwork in the Fremont animal shelter in 1989, I was told by several employees that not only did the art make it a more pleasant place to work, but that it changed the attitudes of many people who came in to the shelter. On seeing the art, people realized the city cared about the shelter and that by extension also cared about the animals it housed. The art made their jobs easier.
The city of Fremont Strategic Plan Vision (adopted February 2002) states "Fremont, in the year 2020, will be a globally connected economic center with community pride, strong neighborhoods, engaged citizens from all cultures, and a superb quality of life."
A strong public art policy is an integral part of that quality of life.
Fremont is an integral part of the Bay Area, its fourth largest city. This is an area which is not only a geographic place, but a state of mind. The Bay Area is a national leader in thinking and vision. Both producing and viewing art are exercises in critical and creative thinking, the very aspects that have given this area its prominence. As a part of this wonderful place, it is incumbent upon us to realize that our best hope for the future of Fremont is investing in our long term vision. Our art in public places is an intrinsic part of that vision.
Susan J. Longini