Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

50 States of Public Art: Public Art in Fayetteville, Arkansas

storm drain mural painted on the sidewalk and on the street in front of the drain shows two festive fish playing in the water. The mural reads Let's keep it clean: Drains to Creek

Storm drain mural by Jeffi O’Kane. Fayetteville is using sidewalk murals to raise public awareness about the importance of conserving water. Photo by Stephen Ironside.

Public art is everywhere, and this is the season for getting out and viewing it. Which is why I’ve started using Wednesdays on Caterpickles to highlight public art projects happening now in various parts of the country. With that, let’s take a quick (virtual) trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Public Art of Fayetteville, Arkansas

Title: Let’s Keep It Clean, 2014

Artist: Jeffi O’Kane

Location: Spring Street and Church Ave

Photo Source: Stephen Ironside, via the Fayetteville Interactive Public Art Map

Associated Public Art Project:

Created in 2007, the Fayetteville Arts Council has spent the past 11 years spearheading a number of arts projects to both enrich Fayetteville’s public spaces and increase community engagement. Last summer’s Green Candy Art Auction, which the Arts Council developed in cooperation with Just Kids, prompted a community-wide conversation about waste and sustainability issues. Similarly, Upstream Art, Fayetteville’s storm drain mural project sponsored by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, both beautifies Fayetteville’s public spaces and raises awareness about the importance of conserving the town’s water resources.

Of course, like many other towns across the U.S., Fayetteville also uses public art to brighten its buildings, public parks, bike racks, and utility boxes.

Want to see it yourself?

Fayetteville makes it really easy for local residents and visitors to find its public art. They’ve created a wonderful interactive map to the various art works around town.

Next time you’re in Fayetteville, take a few minutes and look around. I bet you’ll spot something surprising. When you do, we’d love to hear about it here on Caterpickles or Twitter (@shalahowell).

Want to go, but need help selling it to your kids?  

The fact that public art is installed in public spaces creates all sorts of opportunities for family fun. Pack a picnic lunch, and pair the outing with a trip to a nearby park or playground. If you have one, consider bringing your dog.

Don’t have time for a full-fledged outing? Challenge your kids to keep their eyes open while you are out and about doing something else. I bet they (or you) will spot something interesting on your next walk, bike ride, or errand run.

My book, What’s That, Mom?: How to use public art to engage your children with the world around them… without being an artist yourself, is full of tips like these for making public art sightings fun for your entire family.

What’s That, Mom? provides 15 accessible, practical strategies for using public art to spark conversations with children between the ages of 3 and 10 — no artistic talent or insight required. What’s That, Mom? is available at Bookshop.org and Amazon. There’s even a journal to go with it so that your kids can sketch their favorite works of art and you can record your favorite moments from your outing.

NOTE: The above paragraphs contain affiliate links to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore that provides financial support to local, independent bookstores. At the time I wrote this post, Bookshop.org had already raised $12.8m for local bookstores. If you use the link in the previous paragraph to purchase my book on Bookshop.org, I’ll earn a commission on your book purchase, as will your preferred independent bookshop. You can also find my book in the new Caterpickles BookstoreRegardless of whether you use my links or visit the Caterpickles Bookstore, thank you for spending part of your day reading Caterpickles. Learn more about Affiliate Links, the Caterpickles Bookstore, and why I decided to become a Bookshop.org Affiliate.

Happy public art hunting!

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