Discussions about city infrastructure and amenities often include the topics of good streets, a green-scaped downtown or an entertainment district. Public art is sometimes an afterthought.
But not in Mankato and North Mankato. We should be proud of that.
The fourth annual CityArt walking tour debuted in early May with 32 new sculptures by artists from Florence, Italy, to Florida, and from West Virginia to Washington. The variety has something for even the casual art fan. Every artist has something to say and a different point of view on things we may find ordinary. Some are simply extraordinary pieces of work from gifted people.
The CityArt program that solicits artists from around the world to present their art to the public has been a real plus for Mankato and North Mankato city centers. One would have to travel far to see this kind of art were it not for the innovative program that benefits cities, the public and the artists.
That we have a regular menu of public art and that visitors see people enjoying it lends a certain air of worldliness to our community’s narrative.
Public art is patriotic. It can be considered an outward expression of our First Amendment rights. Artists have a point of view — one we may not agree with — yet, we display it without fear. We allow openness of public thought and public expression with public art.
So if you haven’t taken the tour yet, put it on your list. Couple it with an evening at your favorite eating and drinking establishment. You can vote on your favorite piece, and when the votes are tallied, the winning sculpture will be purchased by the public bodies involved.
Let’s recognize public art as a great community amenity.
You can review all pieces and find out about their creators at http://www.cityartmankato.com/