Public art is a defining component of any community’s character. Art can elevate key concepts of a region’s beauty, act as a cultural time-capsule, and offer fresh perspectives on social issues. Here in Happy Valley we are so fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring art, much of it created by local artists.
Broadly, public art in our communities can include anything, from the dedicated sculptures and murals displayed on many buildings throughout State College, to the ornate architecture that adorns much of historic Bellefonte, to temporary sidewalk chalk displays and even the small painted rocks some of you may have found around town.
Art first graced our public spaces almost as quickly as people began to live here. The creatively constructed homes that adorn more than a few streets of Bellefonte are nearly as old as the town itself. One of the earliest publicly dedicated pieces of art was the Centennial Fountain on Fraser Street, set to commemorate State College officially becoming a borough in 1907. From here, our region is decorated with many fine and fun pieces of publicly viewable artistic endeavors.
Many of the murals in State College represent the actively engaged community we are a part of. The murals ‘Color of Music,’ ‘Dreams Take Flight,’ and ‘Wild Geese’ were all assembled, painted, and otherwise contributed to by over 1,000 individuals collectively. In this way the art is not only a statement on the cultural aspects of our communities but also an example of an experience that strengthened community ties and culture.
There are also a few examples of functional art in the area. One example includes the piece on College Avenue, titled ‘Colonnade,’ which appear as oversized tubes of lipstick but also serves as a seat for the passing pedestrian. A more obvious example includes the book benches that were introduced to the county in 2014 with support from Centre Foundation and have become a part of the region's identity. The benches were based on a similar series of benches in London and the 25 here are believed to be the only ones in existence outside of their original city. Other pedestrian focused pieces like the bridge in Talleyrand Park are anything but pedestrian in their construction and intricacy.
What's your favorite piece of public art near you? Take a selfie and send it to us via email to Centred Outdoors firstname.lastname@example.org or post to social and tag @centredoutdoors #findyourcentre #HappyValleyPA!
Here’s a couple of the locations to check out:
During these challenging times, when our communities are faced with unprecedented tragedies and challenges, art and nature offer spaces to reflect, find peace, and find inspiration and strength. Whether you are creating art, observing art, or enjoying the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world, we hope you are able to take some time this week to pause and connect with the beauty all around us.
Please explore the outdoors safely this summer. Governor Wolf recently announced that masks must be worn whenever you leave home in order to stop the spread of increasing COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. Details of this order can be reviewed here. As part of the order, a mask must be worn when you are outdoors and are unable to keep a distance of six feet from people who are not members of your own household.
-- Dan Trew, Adventure Coordinator, ClearWater Conservancy