Public art enriches the places and spaces where we live, work, and play. It visually enhances our landscapes. Public art stirs interactions between community members and their environment. It adds artistic and creative dimensions to civic spaces.
In Chattanooga, public art contributes to a vibrant quality of life and a strong creative economy. It generates value by supporting artists and related businesses. It encourages outdoor activity and supports tourism. Also important, public art often promotes dialogue between strangers, prompts children to pose thoughtful questions, and provides moments for one to simply stop and contemplate.
Planning for Chattanooga's public art program began in 2001 through a series of public forums in which over 500 citizens participated. The forums led to the adoption of Chattanooga's Public Art Plan, a plan that reflects a community vision for public art.
Public Art Chattanooga is housed in Chattanooga's Parks and Recreation Department and is overseen by a citizen committee appointed by the Mayor. Public Art Chattanooga manages a collection of over 100 permanent and 42 temporary works of art that are placed throughout the city. Along with these growing collections, programs include a Biennial Sculpture Exhibition, Art on Main, On the Fence and Art in the Neighborhoods, which provides grants to neighborhoods to place art into their communities. These collections and programs are supported by city funds and significant funds from private sources.