Researchers agree: Studies show that public art has a host of benefits for communities. Its community-building powers can combat feelings of anxiety and social isolation. When locals participate in creating public art, these effects are amplified. A 2018 London-based survey found that 84% of respondents believed participating in public art projects benefited their well-being.

Public art also provides economic benefits, including new jobs and increased tourism. Murals, in particular, are great for artistic placemaking and city marketing. It’s no surprise that art-focused bus and walking tours have grown popular in dozens of cities in recent years, from London, England, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Austin, Texas, where the city-led Art in Public Places program has been funding public art for more than 30 years.

Elsewhere, public art is used to address practical problems like safety. For example, last year in Cincinnati, Ohio, nonprofit organization ArtWorks created a permanent, illuminated art installation to light a popular walking trail in the Avondale neighborhood. The installation has aesthetic benefits, but it has also improved the neighborhood’s walkability and residents’ safety after dark.

ArtWorks also provides economic benefits to Cincinnati residents. It creates jobs and fosters youth development through an apprenticeship program. Since its founding in 1996, the organization has employed more than 4,000 young people, ages 14–21, and 3,000 professional artists and creatives in art projects throughout the city.

Read the full article about public art by Marianne Dhenin at YES! Magazine.