Giving Compass' Take:

• Barbara Schaffer Bacon, writing for ARTS Blog, describes how grantmakers who fund artists in the public realm are also funding social justice and collaborative impact work.

• How can individual donors help expand opportunities for artists in the public realm?

• Read about some lessons in disrupting arts philanthropy.

As definitions of public art broaden to include social and civic practice, art in the public realm continues to recur as a central idea and practice. The concept of the “public realm” recognizes public space as more than physical places for locating art. They are connectors that support or facilitate public life and social interaction. The Office of Public Art, Pittsburgh, addresses this in Artist Residencies in the Public Realm: A resource guide for creating residencies and fostering successful collaborations.

Consistent with most artist grants, public realm programs center support for artists and artist-led projects. Some are responding to artists who are increasingly pursuing social and civic practice. Others are proactive in building capacity for artists to work effectively and at a scale that can engage people and activate and enhance public space. Most programs offer project funding rather than fellowships or commissions. Several support projects as part of artist residencies. A majority prioritize aesthetic experimentation, risk, and innovation.

Both funder and artist contribute on a continuum of change or impact that leans toward social justice—structural change that increases opportunity for those who are least well off politically, economically, and socially.

But grantmakers can go beyond funding to accelerate change by putting other assets to work that reinforce and amplify the work and value of artists in the public realm. Funders have significant spheres of influence—across sectors, with municipal and community leaders, with other funders and donors, and the media. These platforms are opportunities to project fresh narratives about the power of art for change.

Read the full article about funders in the public realm by Ms. Barbara Schaffer Bacon at ARTS Blog.