Public Art Shares, 2014

© Balsall Heath Biennale


‘Imagine, making money and being cultured’      

Might the various cultural groups of Balsall Heath pool their resources to purchase a piece of public art for the collective good of their neighbourhood?

Public Art Shares are a new, and currently fictitious proposition for the acquisition of public art. They take the notion of the art market (a place, generally speaking, where rich people buy shiny beautiful things) and give the everyday person a point of access into this investment structure. But Public Art Shares are also a contradictory concept. The egalitarian concept of a community pooling it’s financial resources in order to purchase a piece of public art for the benefit of the greater good (i.e. their neighbourhood) hints at a utopian dimension to the project. They rely however, upon a capitalist mechanism − in order for the shares to be activated the piece of public art will need to be sold at some point in the future.

The in-built contradictions of the Public Art Shares idea captures some of the problematics of public art (i.e. who should pay for it? Who is it for?) and this is explored further in this talk event.