Public art is at its best when it involves the entire community. And the southern California city of Riverside’s recent Art Float exhibition is a great example of an entire community embracing public art, down to its youngest residents. Our blogger, who’s from the area, had the chance to visit the exhibition, and was impressed by the giant floats…which just so happened to be painted by students in the city’s public schools.
Inspired by Portraits of Hope in Los Angeles, the “community art event” was a collaboration between the Riverside Art Museum, the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, and the Riverside Unified School District in which hundreds of gigantic hand-painted floating spheres were displayed in a local park. According to the event’s website, volunteers from the Art Alliance of the Riverside Art Museum helped raise funds for the event and secured sponsors from local businesses.
What’s unique about the project is that children and teens from the city’s public schools hand-painted the floating orbs. After completing the floats, which were painted during school hours at various schools, the 350 floats were taken to a large lake in a local park. The pieces were displayed there for three weeks in which they were open to the community free of charge.
Events like these open up wide possibilities for future community-wide art events everywhere. Imagine the impact if cities around the country had the ability to let their youngest residents create art that would ultimately benefit their local community at large!
It’s not the first time a public art event has been created by kids. Portraits of Hope, the organization whose events inspired the Riverside project, hosts projects specially designed for public spaces created by K-12 students, as well as hospitalized children. Their projects around the country have included everything from buildings to the New York City taxi fleet to NASCAR racecars, according to their website. Inspired by these projects, Riverside’s Art Float is just another example of how art can not only benefit cities, schools, and youth, but can bring an entire community together. Exhibitions like these really do champion art for all.
What sort of community art events would function best in your community? Have there been similar events in your city? Think about it, and share in the comments below!
Read more about the Art Float event at the Riverside Art Museum’s website.
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