<body> Public Ad Campaign: Now That The Wildposting Has Stopped, What Will Take Its Place?
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Now That The Wildposting Has Stopped, What Will Take Its Place?

It is my belief that public art (or public communication for that matter) and commercial advertising cannot coexist in public space. This is mainly because they need to occupy the same real estate and due to commercial advertising's bloated budgets, public art finds itself pushed to the sidelines as the city is over run with content that promotes private concerns over community values. There are other reasons but for the sake of this post this is the most important concern.
With this in mind, NPA city outdoor made a business out of illegal sniping of construction sheds in New York, fully covering them with commercial advertising until recently. After attention was called to NPA's illegal use of New York's public space, sniping stopped leaving construction sheds a bare blue. Without advertising, these spaces are now free for other content, and other content they will get. The NYC DOB has inaugurated a new arts program to beautify these ubiquitous NYC structures now that advertising has relinquished control. They write...
"We are thrilled to launch the urbancanvas Design Competition, an innovative contest to develop creative artwork for construction fences, sidewalk sheds, supported scaffolds and cocoons in New York City.

Construction sites are signs of this City's growth and prosperity. But it's no secret that the accompanying temporary protective structures often detract from the beauty of New York City's architecture. Sidewalk sheds alone span more than 1 million linear feet and can remain in place for nearly a year. These temporary installations protect pedestrians from construction debris and support construction activity, but they also present opportunities to enhance the urban experience for millions of New Yorkers." [More Here]
The development of the Urban Canvas design competition proves to me that when advertising disappears along with its interest in control and manipulation of public thoughts, art is often called upon to takes its place and keep our public spaces visually interesting. To deny advertising access to public space is to provide opportunities for artistic projects and public communications to take their rightful place in our shared environment.

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