Since 2009, the Public Art Archive has grown to become one of the largest active searchable public art databases in the United States. The images, text, and mapping services in the Archive are provided to the public free of charge. The repository currently holds almost 13,000 public artworks records and 33,000 images. In addition, the site contains multimedia content, maps, field resources, and other information relevant to the public art field. The project's managers seek to support the public art field's continuing growth. They plan to do so through the deployment of a public art-specific collection management system which will be joined with public portals designed to increase access to public art information and to sustain public engagement related to public art.
The next major step in the development of the Archive is the planning and implementation of a collection-management tool specific to public art. The tool is projected to be adopted by public art administrators who currently do not have access to a tool that directly addresses the needs of their field. In addition, at this time, a surprising number of public art collections are administered using dated spreadsheet software. The new technology is slated for launch in early 2018.
The new collection-management tool is being developed in collaboration with CollectionSpace, an open-source collection-management system developed at the University of California at Berkeley. The Archive team will adapt the CollectionSpace software to reflect the administrative workflows particular to the management of public art collections. For an attainable annual subscription fee, the system will streamline efforts related to cataloguing, condition checks, conservation, commissioning and acquisition tracking. All of these processes will be customized to fit the needs of the public art field.
In addition, users of the new Public Art Archive software will easily be able to transmit data immediately into the Archive, thus more readily sharing additions to the growing national public art collection.
To expand awareness of and engagement with public art, "engagement portals" are being developed that will encourage exploration, mapping, tour curation, and curriculum building. These portals are designed to attract public art practitioners, allied professionals, and the general public. Alongside this development, the Archive managers are finalizing the development of a new feature, Locate Public Art, a tool for finding public art on the go with any smartphone or tablet device. This feature includes built in filters that organize search results by distance and worktype, and users can map directions to artwork directly from the application.
For more information, contact
, Public Art Archive Manager.