"Flying Saucer Grove" by Martha Schwartz at the BB&T Center — Photo courtesy of Sunny.org
The city of Fort Lauderdale, FL, is not only famous for its amazing beaches, endless sub-tropical temperatures and being the stellar vacation destination that it is. But it is also internationally recognized for its participation in funding and presenting local works of art through its world-class public art and design program.
Adding dramatically to the quality of life of its residents as well as making the city (and the county) a centerpiece for art-lovers, the Broward County Public Art & Design Program was created as a unique way to contribute to the enhancement of urban design.
By commissioning works of art that indeed create a true sense of place, improve the visual environment and advance the missions of the county departments where these many art projects reside, the city itself shines as a great example of how local government and the arts can work almost magically hand-in-hand. Local talent is on display at its finest because of this partnership.
Part of "Accordant Zones" by Barbara Neijna and Ned Smyth at Broward Judicial Complex — Photo courtesy of Dale Mack
This unique approach to encouraging and funding local artists and commissioning these works in public places has not gone unnoticed by the international art crowd. In their book Designing the World’s Best Public Art, Australia’s Images Publishing reports that this esteemed county-funded program is listed among an ensemble of the world’s finest public art.
Adding to the accolades, Liesel Fenner - manager of Public Art Network for Americans for the Arts - says, "Broward County Public Art & Design program is a national leader in developing model public art policies and best practices, producing exemplary public artworks synthesizing design excellence."
In 1995, it was decided that with each county construction project, the allocation of funds for these art projects increased to two percent. These are distributed as 70% to art, 15% to project support and 15% to long-term conservation.
Today, more than 249 pieces of these commissioned unique art pieces have been installed throughout Broward County at 88 different locations, including airports, seaports, roadways, libraries, parks and many county buildings. So why not pencil in some vacation time scouting out these amazing works? Visit Broward.org on your smart phone or tablet and even make a game of it with the kids.
Fort Lauderdale is certainly expert at welcoming its millions of visitors each year, as well as entertaining the many people that call the city home. Its public arts project is an amazing testament to its involvement with local artists and its unique understanding of the important role that art plays in the overall quality of life in any metropolitan area.