I am a man, by Marcellous Lovelace, 2014, Memphis, TN (Photo Marika Snider 2020)

Have you ever wondered about art you see in your city such as sculptures or murals? Have you wondered why it’s there? Or how to describe it? This week’s lesson is an adaptation of the Association for Public Art’s lesson plans for public art in Philadelphia.

Annabelle the Praying Mantis, by Pat Belisle and Chris Saylor, Chadwick Arboretum, Columbus, Ohio (Photo Marika Snider 2019)
  1. Read and follow the lesson plan:

Lamp Post Bears, 1902 (foreground) and Soldiers and Sailors Monument by Bruno Schmitz, 1888-1901 (background), Indianapolis, IN (Photo Marika Snider 2018)


You can adapt the activity from the first lesson for your city by applying the same principles to your area.

2. Watch this PBS video about the elements of art:


3. Find public art in your city (either by visiting in person or use Google Maps and Google Street View). Use these websites to help you find public art in your area. Or search your for public art in your city.



4. Select one piece of public art.

5. Take a photograph or screen shot of the piece of art.

6. Find as many Elements of Art in your chosen piece of art. The elements are: Line, Shape, Form, Color, Space, Texture, Value, Light, Shadow

7. Create a diagram to show the elements of art. Use your photograph or screenshot. Draw lines or shade areas on the image and label as many Elements of Art as you can find.

Sellsville and the Blackberry Patch, 2015 by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Columbus Carnegie (Main) Library, Columbus Ohio (Photo Marika Snider 2018)


8. Next, learn about the Principles of Design through this PBS video:


9. Here’s a great reference sheet about the Principles of Design from the Getty Museum:


10. Select a difference piece of public art.

11. Take photograph of screen shot of the piece of art.

12. Find as many Principles of Design as you can in this work of art. The principles are: Balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, unity

13. Label the image of the piece of art with as many Principles of Design as you can find.

3D Brick Mural, 2017, by Eric Rausch and Jenn Kiko, 2017 (Photo Marika Snider 2018)

For more information

Public art in your area: https://www.americansforthearts.org/by-topic/public-art

Public art in rural areas https://www.rural-design.org/webinars

Noteworthy public art in the US https://mymodernmet.com/public-art-in-the-us/

Ashville, NC Urban Art Trail https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?msa=0&mid=1LYYFBQxT1rndrlyJvBn21ukm4r0&ll=35.596144532487465%2C-82.55237050000001&z=17

San Jose, CA Public Art Collection https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments/office-of-cultural-affairs/public-art

Lancaster, PA Public Art https://www.lancasterpublicart.com/public-art-in-lanc

Nebraska Public Art (Omaha, Lincoln, Interstate 80) https://www.artscouncil.nebraska.gov/opportunities/for-the-community/public-art.html

Denver, CO https://www.denver.org/things-to-do/denver-arts-culture/public-art/

Albuquerque, NM https://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/public-art/public-art-in-albuquerque

Lubbock, TX https://ci.lubbock.tx.us/PublicArt

Columbus, Ohio https://citypulsecolumbus.com/columbus-public-art-top-10/

Memphis, TN https://wearememphis.com/culture/arts/best-places-see-public-art-memphis/

Yellow Springs, OH https://ysnews.com/news/2018/12/a-tour-of-yellow-springs-murals

Chicago, IL https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/provdrs/public_art_program.html