Public Art

The Frederick Arts Council is currently in the process of developing a Public Art Master Plan for Frederick County, with the support of the Ausherman Family Foundation. You can read our official press release about the launch of this initiative here

Survey Results Are In! Check out what we learned when we asked Frederick County residents about public art:

We Asked, You Answered!

Last fall the Frederick Arts Council circulated a survey that asked people for their ideas about how public art could make Frederick an even better place. We received nearly 300 responses, and these are some of the key lessons we learned … along with a sampling from the many interesting comments that were made.

What’s Unique About Frederick, that an Artist Might Want to Know?

We asked you to tell us something unique that an artist should know about Frederick, because it’s important for artists to create work that is connected to the place they are working.

We counted the answers by general topic, with arts and creativity is the topic people most associate with Frederick, followed closely by history. The topics of farms and agriculture, cultural diversity and architecture/design follow close behind.

Frederick has a large amount of very talented artists, painters, sculptures , photographers

We have wonderful history from the American Revolution onward!

The heart of Frederick is a small community rooted in agriculture, farming and family. An important tradition that has lasted over the years is the Great Frederick Fair.

We have a small town, local entrepreneurial spirit.

The hoppin tattoo scene, and the sister city in Germany.

Theophilus Thompson, who lived on South Market Street across from the School for the Deaf, was the first African American chessmaster.

Our interdenominational church culture, which is a model for diversity of ideas that can serve as an examples to the new challenges of diversity in the 21st century.

Why is Public Art Important to Frederick?

We asked you to tell us why public art is important to Frederick by choosing from a list that was provided. People think public art is important because of how it connects with people, conveys an image of Frederick to the broader world, and makes places stand out above the ordinary.

Frederick has history, arts, agriculture which should be promoted. Potential new businesses as well as tourists who come here for day trips from cities would be impressed even more by a commitment to public art.

As some people forget, Frederick city has a very diverse culture and it would be great to tie that in the more rural/agricultural areas. Marry the two communities.

Public art … becomes part of every day life, serves a functional as well as emotional/mental purpose, becomes a part of the fabric of the community.

Sculptures … are important as a tactile stimulant and often become iconic to a city and an important tourist destination.

All public art makes a city great.

What Public Art in Frederick do You Like the Most, and What Would You Like to See?

In regard to artworks in Frederick, people have most appreciation for murals and for the variety of artworks along the Carroll Creek greenway. In discussing murals, people mentioned many of them throughout the City as well as a few elsewhere in the County (Brunswick and Thurmont), with Community Bridge mentioned most often.

Love it all. It gives our city beautiful diversity and artistic expression. It makes us a destination city for visitors/art lovers.

Jeff Larramore, The Wave, Virginia Beach

When asked what artworks in other places could serve as an inspiration for Frederick, people referred most frequently to sculpture, followed by references to murals. In describing the sculpture they’d like to see, people most frequently mentioned whimsical, environmental, dynamic, memorials and themed series of artworks.

Sculpture gardens, and large-scale modern items like the Cloud Gate in Chicago, or the LOVE in Philadelphia. Something that reflects Frederick’s history in a modern way.

The Wave at Virginia Beach

The Richmond Mural festival

Creative Crosswalks, because they create a vibrant, urban feel for the downtown core and can serve as traffic calming measures.

Any light features or lantern festivals that bring people into the streets in the evening. Look at the Fireflies project starting soon in Philadelphia.

Faces of Hagerstown- nicely displayed, told a story of the city

Lancaster PA – they’re have a similar vibe to Frederick and I think we could identify with their public art mission, “…focuses on equity, livability and excellence to promote neighborhood connectivity, create meaningful collaborations and magnify [a] distinct sense of place.”

I love the enormous bear sculpture in Denver

When asked to chose images of artworks from elsewhere that could be good examples for Frederick, the most popular selections (more than half the respondents) were sculptures that were functional (gates, fences) or integrated into facilities like parking garages, and murals with representational designs in contemporary styles.

Mike Pennypacker, Butterfly Gate, Clayton, Mo.

— Mike Pennypacker, Butterfly Gate, 57%. A functional artwork, integrated into the fence surrounding a schoolyard in St. Louis.

–Kim Beck, Room for Growth, 57%. A mural in Philadelphia, painted to illustrate the idea of native plantings for reclaimed open spaces.

–Lisa Scheer, Naga, 55%. A functional artwork, commissioned by a developer, integrated into a wall designating the public and private areas of a plaza in Arlington, Va.

–Ben Volta, Micro to Macro, 52%. A mural painted with children on a school in Philadelphia.

–Baile Oakes, Legacy, 51%. A functional artwork, a play sculpture, integrated in the design of a park in Escondido, Calif.

–Rolando Briseno, Celestial Bodies, 50%. A functional artwork, commissioned by the City of Frisco, Tx., integrated into a parking garage.

Where Would You Like to See Public Art?

People are most interested in seeing artworks located in Frederick County’s towns, villages and parks; and in the city’s downtown parks, downtown alleys and downtown gateways.

Thinking of the County overall, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

The top rated responses were:

–Towns and village centers, 68%
–County parks, 58%
–Unique historic and industrial sites, 56%
–County facilities, such as libraries, 56%
–Gateways into Frederick from U.S. 15 and Interstate 70, 44%

Thinking of the City overall, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

–Downtown core, 53%
–Carroll Creek linear park, 51%
–Areas south of Carroll Creek, 46%
–Every other choice, 34% or less.

Thinking of downtown specifically, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

–Murals in general, 63%
–Carroll Creek linear park, temporary or permanent sculpture, 62%
–Sculptures or other artworks at downtown gateways, 59%
–Mid-block alleys and connections, 55%
–Festivals, 43%
–Parking garages, 42%

 

 Why is Public Art Important to Frederick County?

The survey asked respondents to rank several responses to this question on a scale of one to five (highest). The results were analyzed by converting each response into a point score, than totaling the points for each response, and average the score across the number of responses.

The most highly ranked response was “enhance the appearance of Frederick,” with an average score of 4.59.

The second most highly ranked response was “Give pride to residents,” with an average score of 4.43.

Three responses were grouped as third most highly ranked:

–Expand people’s interest in art (4.36)
–Create a wow factor (4.33)
–Make a statement about who are (4.29).

 

 What Are the Unique Aspects of Frederick that Would Be Interesting for an Artist to Explore?

The survey asked respondents to rank several responses to this question on a scale of one to five (highest). The results were analyzed by converting each response into a point score, than totaling the points for each response, and average the score across the number of responses.

The most highly ranked response was “mountains, valleys, waterways,” with an average score of 4.11

Three responses were grouped as second most highly ranked:

–Agriculture and countryside (4.01)
–Artists, artisans and designers (4.00)
–Diverse cultures (4.0)

Two other categories were grouped closely behind as fifth most highly ranked:

–Historic towns and villages (3.97)
–History and heritage (3.95)

An important economic development topic ranked lower:

–Research, technology and business (2.91)

 

What Public Art in Frederick do People Like the Most?

The Frederick public art survey asked respondents what public art they liked the best in Frederick City or County, in an open-ended format. The answers were analyzed by identifying keywords and extracting them. The keywords were then sorted to identify groupings and themes. From the 246 surveys received, we identified 376 key words. Some survey respondents gave more than one answer to the question, and others did not answer it at all.

Asked what public art they liked the best in Frederick, survey respondents kept coming back to three main ideas, all of which overlap in how they are experienced in Frederick: Murals, Carroll Creek itself and bridges.

Referring to specific projects, two rose to the top: Community Bridge (53 responses, 14% percent) and Sky Stage (26 responses, 7%).

Altogether, 171 responses (45%) were related to murals. In discussing murals, respondents mentioned many of them throughout the City as well as a few elsewhere in the County (Brunswick and Thurmont). The Community Bridge was mentioned most often, with 53 responses (14%). Carroll Creek murals in general, the dinosaur on the Church Street garage, Angels in the Architecture, and unspecified trompe l’oeil’s each received between 7 and 9 responses (2%). A large number or responses (83, or 22%) mentioned murals but did not specify further.

Carroll Creek, though not an art project per se, was mentioned 95 times (25%). Again, Community Bridge was mentioned most often, but other sculptures and murals (Becky the calf, for example) were also mentioned, as well as design features such as bridges, fountains and landscaping. Art and music events were mentioned in general, but did not refer to Carroll Creek specifically, though it is likely some respondents had events along the creek in mind.

Bridges are also prominent in people’s minds, with 71 responses (19%). Again, Community Bridge was mentioned prominently, but respondents remarked on other specific bridges, such as the “Iron Bridge,” as well as on the design features of Carroll Creek bridges in general.

Sculpture was mentioned 31 times (8%), with The Readers, Becky, Oh Say Can You See, John Hanson, the owl inside the library, the sculpture outside the Delaplaine and the sculpture at Carroll Creek and Bentz Street referred to specifically.

What public artwork have you seen elsewhere that is a great example of what Frederick should aspire to?

The survey asked respondents what public art they had seen elsewhere that could be an inspiration for Frederick, in an open-ended format. The answers were analyzed by identifying keywords, which were then sorted to identify groupings and themes. From the 246 surveys received, 195 respondents answered the question, and we identified 420 key words.

Places

Of the 420 key words, 143 referred to specific places, and an additional [xx] referred to specific artworks in specific places. This analysis includes all the times a specific place, or an artwork in that place, was mentioned.

Places in the U.S. were mentioned 79 times. More than half of those places (55) were in the vicinity of Frederick, and the others were farther away.

Foreign cities or countries were mentioned far fewer times (18 times) than U.S. places. Cities in Canada were mentioned most frequently (7 times) and cities in Belgium were mention second most frequently (4 times).

Places Near Frederick

–11 Baltimore
–11 D.C.
–11 Philadelphia
–5 Hagerstown
–2 Pittsburgh
–1 ea: Bethesda, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Reston, York

 

Common Places Further Away

–19 Chicago (including 11 mentions of Cloud Gate)
–11 New York City (including 4 mentions of the High Line)
–4 Austin

 

Art Types

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, Chicago

The type of art that was most frequently mentioned was sculpture (72 times). Another 32 key words, such as “interactive,” “memorial” and “wind” implied sculptural work.

The most frequent response was related to the topic of animal or other themed statues (20 times) and the most frequent reference to a specific sculpture was Cloud Gate (11 times).

Murals were mentioned 37 times; with a generic response (31 times) and references to specific projects (such as Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C.) and types (such as murals with youth).

Other types of art or words associated with art identified by respondents included painted infrastructure (16 times), street art including chalk art and performance (13 times), whimsical (11 times), temporary or rotating art (8 times), art in a park or garden (7 times), and art related to history or historic districts or “history in a modern way” (7 times). Altogether, environmental themes (environmental education, light, water, wind) were mentioned 8 times. Graffiti walls were mentioned 3 times.

Tell us about something unique about Frederick (city or county) that an artist might want to know. It could be:-

–a person – someone who’s famous or someone who’s interesting,
–a special place, perhaps known only to locals,
–a part of the story about how Frederick came to be the way it is now,
–an important tradition, or
–an unusual business.

This was an open-ended question. Some respondents provided more than one answer and other respondents skipped the question, so there were 290 responses overall.

The answers were analyzed by identifying key words and phrases in four broad categories: Themes, places, people and events. The number of responses for each keyword was tallied. Then, the keywords were grouped according to broad topics that occurred most frequently.

The topic most frequently referenced in keywords was arts and creativity (61 responses). The most commonly used keywords were artist and artisans (20), festivals in general (6), music (5) and amazing/creative people (3). Features like the Delaplaine Center, Sky Stage and the Weinberg Center each received a mention. Numerous artists, living and from Frederick’s history, were also mentioned. Artistic media such as plein air painting, clay, ceramics, murals, tattoos and theatre each received a mention.

The topic referenced second most frequently was various historical aspects of Frederick, including events, places, themes and people (51 responses). Civil War references were mentioned most often (10), followed by African American history, including slavery (5), transportation features (5), antebellum plantations (3), Native Americans (2) and general history references (11). The most frequently mentioned individuals were Barbara Fritchie (3) and Clare McCardell (3).

The third most frequently referenced topic was nature and open space (24). Natural beauty (7) and various hills and mountains (5) were mentioned most frequently. Baker Park was mentioned 7 times.

Other frequently referenced topics were:

–Food (restaurants, breweries, distilleries), 19.
–Agriculture (agriculture, farms), 15.
–Diversity (diversity of people; black, Hispanic and Asian leaders), 17
–Architecture and design (walkability, spires, architecture, villages), 14

 

Thinking of the County overall, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

The top rated responses were:

–Towns and village centers, 68%
–County parks, 58%
–Unique historic and industrial sites, 56%
–County facilities, such as libraries, 56%
–Gateways into Frederick from U.S. 15 and Interstate 70, 44%

 

Thinking of the City overall, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

–Downtown core, 53%
–Carroll Creek linear park, 51%
–Areas south of Carroll Creek, 46%
–Every other choice, 34% or less.

 

Thinking of downtown specifically, what areas are the best opportunities for public art?

Respondents were given a list and asked to pick their top choices, or enter their own recommendation.

–Murals in general, 63%
–Carroll Creek linear park, temporary or permanent sculpture, 62%
–Sculptures or other artworks at downtown gateways, 59%
–Mid-block alleys and connections, 55%
–Festivals, 43%
–Parking garages, 42%

 

Below are examples of public art that have been created in other places.
Which of these suggest the kind of public art you’d like to see?

Respondents were shown 41 images and allowed to check each image that they liked.

Six images were “liked” by more than half the respondents. Four were sculptural works, two were murals. Of the sculptural works all were integrated into a larger design, and several were functional.

Mike Pennypacker, Butterfly Gate, 57%. A functional artwork, integrated into the fence surrounding a schoolyard in St. Louis.

Kim Beck, Room for Growth, 57%. A mural in Philadelphia, painted to illustrate the idea of native plantings for reclaimed open spaces.

Lisa Scheer, Naga, 55%. A functional artwork, commissioned by a developer, integrated into a wall designating the public and private areas of a plaza in Arlington, Va.

Ben Volta, Micro to Macro, 52%. A mural painted with children on a school in Philadelphia.

Baile Oakes, Legacy, 51%. A functional artwork, a play sculpture, integrated in the design of a park in Escondido, Calif.

Rolando Briseno, Celestial Bodies, 50%. A functional artwork, commissioned by the City of Frisco, Tx., integrated into a parking garage.

 

Notes

Summary of Reponses, Public Art in Frederick that People Like

Bridges 71

Community Bridge 53

Carroll Creek bridges in general 8

Other bridges (“Iron Bridge”)

 

Carroll Creek 95

Community Bridge 53

Bridges 8

General 11

Water and natural features 7

Murals 8

Becky the Calf 5

General Sculpture on Creek 3

 

Murals 171

Community Bridge 53

Carroll Creek Murals 8

Murals not specified 52

Murals, partly specified but not categorized 31

Trompe L’Oeil, not otherwise identified 9

Angels in the Architecture 8

Dinosaur 7

Brunswick 3

 

Events, Festivals, Temporary 8

Events 8

 

Sculpture 31 / 41

Oh Say Can You See 3

Reader 4

Becky 5

Sculpture on Creek 3

Sculpture other 16

Keys 8

Ribbons 2

 

Sky Stage 26


FAQ’s about public art and the planning process:

What is public art?

You can find public art all over Frederick. Murals, statues, glass and metalwork, and other types of installations have become part what you see every day as you go about the city and the county.

“Public art” is usually defined as original, site-specific works of art created by an artist (or a design elements created by an artist collaborating with a design team) that are visually accessible to the public.

Public art comes in a variety of art forms — including visual arts, environmental art, literary arts, dance, music and performance. Public art can also functional as well as aesthetic qualities, such as artist-designed metalwork.

Public art is located in places where public life occurs, such as streets, plazas, parks, open spaces and similar places that are openly accessible and visible to anybody who is interested.

Why is public art important to Frederick?

Frederick has already demonstrated how visionary public art projects can enliven public places and strengthen community life — the Community Bridge and Sky Stage are leading examples.

Communities across the country are finding that public art can help them fulfill their visions for the future, stimulate creatively, strengthen community and support the local economy. A key goal of this planning process will be to find out which approaches to public art can help Frederick best achieve its goals.

Who will use plan and how?

The plan will set new aspirations for public art in Frederick, and highlight opportunities and priorities for new projects. It will provide guidance to the City, the County and the towns throughout the County, to business and civic organizations, to artists and the rest of Fredrick’s growing creative community.

Who is paying for it?

The planning process is being paid for by the Ausherman Family Foundation. “It’s time to be purposeful and strategic about public art in Frederick,” said Marvin Ausherman, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Ausherman Family Foundation. “With the right procedures in place, we will be able to collaborate to use public art as a way to express our community’s identity, making Frederick even more of a special and unique place.”

How is the government a part of this?

So far, the City and County have been helpful in providing guidance to the plan. We hope that one outcome will be public art policies that the City and County can adopt.

What is the public art commission’s involvement?

The Arts Council will be working closely with the City’s Public Arts Commission. Several of its members are on the steering committee for the project.

How do we approach the balance between enabling local artists versus working with national artists?

A good public art strategy will include room for the contributions of artists in the community who are interested in public art. This can be accomplished by creating opportunities for artists at a variety of levels of experience and by providing support for local artists who want to develop a public art practice.

However, a good public art strategy will also include room for artists outside the community to participate. Every community can benefit from the creative collaborations and exchange of ideas that occur in the public art world, and Frederick’s artists will benefit from opportunities they will have access to as part of a broader public art network.

When do we declare a theme? When does that normally happen in this process?

Sometimes a public art plan identifies a theme, but not always. It’s not clear what the right approach will be for Frederick.

Frederick’s public art plan will answer three basic questions: How can new public art projects help the community advance its visions and goals? What are the best opportunities for doing that, in terms of projects or locations? And what tools are necessary to support new public art projects?


Past Public Art Projects of the Frederick Arts Council:

RIBBON PATH

The spirit of creativity and ingenuity has been at the heart of Frederick from its earliest beginnings until today. A new public art project in the Fall of 2012 captured the important role arts play in the community through the placement of Pink Ribbons sculptures with an array of artistic interpretations by local artists.

Eighteen artists were chosen and finished sculptures were displayed  throughout the heart of Downtown Frederick during the month of October 2012, with special emphasis on locations within the Arts and Entertainment District. The Ribbon sculptures were auctioned in November 2012, with proceeds going to benefit the Frederick Arts Council and the FMH Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund in Frederick County.

Thank you to all of the artists who donated their time and talent to this important project.

PILLARS OF FREDERICK MURAL

The Pillars of Frederick mural project, which was dedicated in September 2011, celebrates Francis Scott Key and visionary leaders from Frederick’s past.  The unprecedented public art project conceived by artist Yemi has received support from business leaders and residents who were motivated to preserve the area’s rich history and bring local attention and tourism to Frederick.

The Pillars of Frederick mural, located on the building exterior of the McCutcheon’s manufacturing facility in downtown Frederick, features 40 colorful portraits of individuals from Frederick’s past that have made significant contributions in business, education, the arts, health, and other sectors.

“I’m very pleased to see this project come to life after working closely with prominent business leaders in the Frederick area and Frederick Arts Council to marry the history of the past with the present and to make the Pillars of Frederick an art history centerpiece for the town,” said artist Yemi.  He continued, “The contributions made by people like Francis Scott Key, William McCutcheon, William Delaplaine, Dr. Ulysses Bourne, Claire McCardell and others will continue to inspire the community.”

BECKY THE CALF

In June 2009, a new piece of public art was installed along Carroll Creek Linear Park, near the intersection of Patrick and Bentz Streets in downtown Frederick.  Becky the Calf is a bronzie calf sculpture by Frederick artist Adam Lubkin and pays tribute to Frederick’s past and current agricultural contributions.  Frederick County is the number one dairy producing county in the State of Maryland.  This permanent public art installation was made possible by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and supported by the Frederick Arts Council.

KEYS TO FREDERICK PROJECT

In celebration of the organization’s 30th anniversary, the Frederick Arts Council launched a public art project that featured thirty fiberglass keys on the streets of downtown Frederick. The six-foot tall pieces of artwork were placed throughout the city’s Arts and Entertainment District from August through October 2007.

Keys were selected in recognition of the city’s ties to Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star Spangled Banner. Over thirty artists had their hands in creating the artwork, which ranged in themes from whimsical and abstract to historical and participative. Artists were primarily from Frederick County, but also drew participation from Washington, Allegany, and Howard Counties in Maryland as well as Pennsylvania.

Throughout the two-month public display period, several special events and activities encouraged participation by local residents, including walking tours, scavenger hunts, photography contests, and other unique activities. At the end of the project, the keys were auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting the Frederick Arts Council. Over $50,000 was raised in support of the arts.