The Importance of Public Art

by Tricia Follert

The sculptural tree public art is a Town of Morristown project with assistance from River Arts and MACC and has been supported in part, by the Vermont Arts Council. This public art starts a “creative industry” that will create jobs, attract investments, generate additional tax revenues, and stimulate the local economy through tourism, consumer purchases and drawing and keeping a talented work force. An active cultural scene fosters social connectedness across cultures, ages, and other divides and promotes well-being, fosters cooperation and builds social and civic connections. Public art creates a common experience and helps to build community. It starts a conversation, good or bad, but public art is always engaging. The very first discussion of bringing in public art creates a positive influence as residents begin to think about how what they want their community to be.

Investing in our community and especially in public art shows a commitment to our citizens and our future. Art and culture supports community engagement, increases the potential for people to understand themselves and each other and changes how they see the world. Public art is an economic driver, but why sculptural trees? The community has asked for more trees and green spaces throughout the town, surveys going back over the course of 20 years all include the people wanting more trees, these sculptures will add trees and so much more.

These stainless steel sculptural trees will stimulate the imagination of local voters and will serve the community through public placement in the downtown, as well as through continued engagement with artists and local organizations. The placement of the sculptures will be at Morristown Centennial Library, Morristown Police Department and the interactive piece has been installed on the north side green area as you enter the post office. Everyone who walks, drives, or passes through the downtown will see these sculptures … and be impacted by them.  

Public art has the power to energize our public spaces, arouse our thinking, and transform the places where we live, work, and play into more welcoming and beautiful environments that invite interaction. This is what Gordon Auchincloss’ work will do for Morristown; it will create a sense of place.  

Creativity doesn’t end with a sculpture, simply observing a piece of art has the ability to make us more creative. We begin to see new ways to think, work and respond. The sculptures will provide an aesthetic community asset which will draw a “creative class” of professional workers and innovators who want to live in a creative environment; be around other creative people–which leads to the development of a “creative economy” –Creative enterprises and individuals contribute to local and regional economies, and fuel other sectors of the economy

Morrisville is on a path to develop a strong, creative economy with its diversity, innovative, local restaurants and microbreweries, and innovative industries (e.g. Concept II, Wheel House Designs etc.). These sculptures will be a big step in moving Morrisville further in that direction.