A Closer Look at Public Art
Have you been wondering about the art scattered around Lancaster? Are you interested in learning about some of it in a little more details? If so, consider the option of a guided public art tour, which can be arranged by contacting the office of public art. I recently accompanied public art manager, Tracy Beyl and a group of seniors from Garden Spot Village as they took a bus trip through the city to see some of the city’s murals and sculptures, many of which were commissioned and installed on city property through the efforts of the public art office, with input from residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the installations.
In the course of the tour, Tracy shares information about artists and artwork, as well as about the process behind bringing public art to the city. Things I learned included the fact that the number of spokes on the gears in Changing Gears — located in Crystal Park — reference the number of original American colonies and Pennsylvania’s place in them, and that the arches in Dancing Arches — located in Rodney Park — were shaped and positioned to echo the shape of a Conestoga Wagon, which was often used by settlers heading west, and originated in Lancaster County. Many of the works highlighted on the tour were located in small neighborhood parks, and the combination of public art and public parks is entirely intentional; as the city renovates neighborhood parks in need of attention, a work of public art is commissioned as part of the new overall design.
Over the course of the tour, which lasted just under hour, since the group opted not to leave to bus and not to have lunch at Lancaster Brewing Company, which has a cistern-turned-public-art-project on the outside of its building, several people, including the bus driver, commented that they were seeing parts of the city they had never seen before, which, according to Tracy, is not unusual.