I wish I had nice things to say about public art but....
My few experiences with public art have been tragic and very disturbing and I have decided that they are not worth the time it takes to get nervous, get your own bids, write up the proposal and submit in the hopes that you will be picked.
About two months ago I received an email from a woman handling the prospects of rounding up bids for a project acknowledging therapy dogs....she contacted me due to the referral of a friend and business associate. This journey began on a Wednesday, she did not give many details except that it would entail a donation that had been given for that purpose. I informed her that I would love to hear the details.
Friday she emailed me that it concerned therapy dogs and wanted to show the relationship and interaction with patients or humans. Said she would get back to me as soon as she had more information due to the fact that they just started.
Monday I noticed that four different artist were receiving the same email and inquiry rather than me personally so I knew there would be competition. The lady sent pictures involving the site located and how it should relate to the existing sculpture of two children playing.
Tuesday I inquired as to where the proposal should be sent and whether there was a budget of any kind or cap on the project....no response.
Wednesday morning I received an address and told to just send my proposal as long as they had it by March 31, which is when they would present it to the board........two hours later I received an email saying thanks for participating that the artist had been chosen and that they could move forward. I was blown away by the nerve, rudeness and assault on my being. They should at least give other artist an opportunity to open their minds with new ideas, fresh, exciting thoughts. Even though it is legal it is still soooooo awful.
Later I read on sculpture.net that that is the case quite often where they have already picked the piece and artist but legally have to make it public and offer it to other artist.
Another case in point, I heard on the news that they were attempting to pass the city legal red tape to build a new stadium where my children went to school and I thought "ah, another chance" so since they had not made it public yet for 1% and the budget was 220,000,000 that I could sure get my bid in and began again to come up with the paper work involved and bids. This time would be a little different because I had a maquette that would fit the plan.....a week later I find the layout of the budget online for the stadium and the piece of sculpture is already allotted for and described as half football player and half Ram.
So I admire anyone that has been able to break into that realm of business because unless you finance a piece yourself (which I am talking 50,000 or more depending on how large you are talking) to have on hand or donate a piece (which believe it or not artist do) just to be able to break into that side of the business and say they have one out there it is a tough road. I have met artist that have said they have tried for 20 years and never made it, yet I have other friends that do nothing but outdoor monuments or outdoor installations and it is like asking the "great big secret" to find out how they began. I do not need that kind of frustration, art is difficult to get correct enough as it is.
So I guess I will forever do just desk top pieces and be proud of those and love my patrons as I do..