Public Art Archive launches new website to make public art available for all

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, September 22, 2023


Public Art Archive launches new website to make public art available for all
A Resurrection in Four Stanzas (2021). By April Banks. City of Santa Monica, CA. Photo by Leroy Hamilton.



DENVER, CO.- The Public Art Archive™ announces the launch of an expansive new website designed by Bilberrry, a full service digital agency and product studio. A project of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a US Regional Arts Organization, the PAA is a singular platform for connecting with public art in any community across the country and beyond. Available at publicartarchive.org, the new site is composed of a public art documentation database and mapping data, bringing thousands of public artworks to visitors anywhere. The newly redesigned PAA website increases accessibility and user-friendliness within the resource built to discover the history, context, and meaning behind each work.

As general interest in public art has expanded over the years, the experience of using the Public Art Archive needed to evolve from solely a platform designed as a visual library database - where users often know what they are looking for prior to visiting the site – to a site that feels welcoming to the general public, while maintaining authoritative data standards appropriate for research. The new platform is entirely device-responsive, allowing users to explore location-based collections from their desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Through features like intuitive search filters, grid-view map results, and premium exhibition spotlights, users can now navigate the site with an optimized visual experience. Artwork record pages have also been revamped to enhance the way media, video, audio, and PDFs are displayed, including exclusive access to artworks not on view.

“Understanding that art, accurate data, and public engagement are central to the project, we wanted users to be immersed in curated art from the moment they land on the home screen — from the dynamic rotating images to the featured collections, ‘Art Near Me’ and ‘Popular Art’ sections, and a surprise ‘Art Roulette’ that surfaces random pieces for endless discovery," said Arthur Shwab, Bilberrry Head of Product and Digital Strategy, about the redesigned site.

Created in 2010 with the mission to make public art more public, the Public Art Archive has seen expansive growth over the last 13 years. As one of the largest active databases of public art, the PAA houses over 50,000 images and multimedia elements and nearly 20,000 artwork records representing the work of over 6,000 artists. Records spanning lived experience, geographic boundary, subject matter, and worktype are united into a centralized resource where street artists are presented alongside prolific sculptors and ephemeral experiences alongside traditional monuments.

“With the Public Art Archive, our mission is to capture, index, and inventory every piece of public art in the United States, and eventually the world, and make its discovery a delightful experience as well as free and universally accessible — sort of the ‘IMDb for public art’,” said WESTAF Executive Director Christian Gaines. “This dramatic redesign brings us closer than ever to realizing that dream.”

The PAA aims to be the essential, authoritative resource for discovering and learning about public art, engaging and simple to use with something for everyone, from art curators, historians, researchers, and urban planners to casual users like public art enthusiasts and cultural tourists.










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