PUBLIC ART SURVEY - Stephen Sharp

Does Public Art regenerate local economy? Is the question being posed to people in the Wulfrun Centre in Wolverhampton as part of the ‘Public Art Survey’. In the form of a vinyl banner display in an empty shop unit window in the city centre’s Wulfrun Centre, people are asked the above question with 5 possible answers; the people are then invited to text the answer that they believe is correct to a mobile phone number.

The work is ongoing, questioning the functionality of public art and is one in a series of questions exploring the complex relationships between the artist, audience/collaborator and participant. As well as this the work also questions the role of an artist and art within society and the public sphere.

The question was devised in response to the realisation of many public art projects being used as a tool to regenerate public space, therefore making areas more desirable and attractive to live. The effect of this is an increase in local economy and business. This work sets out to challenge those ideas of using public art for political agendas and to create a discourse around the social function of art.

Many public art works have no public only passers by; this work actively involves the public to participate and for them to have their say, making public art that truly engages with its public.   

After a period of 5 weeks the banner will be taken down, results compiled and presented in another text work in the same space.