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Four reasons why we should support art in our public spaces

Updated: Jul 17, 2019


Tarsila Schubert's mural in Dubai Design District, Dubai, U.A.E.

Dubai has seen an astronomical growth in infrastructure over the past two decades. With

spectacular additions to the skyline, access to man-made islands, underwater hotel rooms, and restaurants in the sky, Dubai has evolved into a new modern and fashionable metropolis. Despite its rich heritage, the art culture in Dubai had stuggled to thrive against modernisation , but that is changing, with communities recognizing the importance of art in public spaces. Developments such as Dubai Design District are a testament to Dubai’s maturing art scene. Drawing in artists from all around the world, they have hosted festival such as Sole DXB, Art Dubai, and Dubai Design Week, bringing the dynamic art movement back to Dubai.


Here are a four reasons why we need to promote art in our public spaces:


1. Social Cohesion & Cultural Understanding: With so many different cultural backgrounds in the U.A.E., it is easy to feel disconnected and alienated from both each other, and our cultural identity. This disconnect causes societal cohesion to fall apart.

By promoting a multicultural social dynamic as a tangible element in public spaces, the art can inspire communities to feel a sense of belonging that can help them feel at home in a foreign country. This expression of cultural identity provides people with the opportunity to understand and interact with different people. Art is an expressive form of sharing knowledge from unique identities and provides a window to showcase the quintessential essences of different cultures.


2. Reciprocate (exchange) ideas: Public art is expressive, and passionate, and vulnerable. Its representations demand discourse, or spark meaningful contemplation on matters that have never been perceived before. Opinions may vary and clash, but it remains significant to spread more awareness about these sensitive social issues, allowing us to evolve and grow as a community. This contributes to a better global comprehension of the societal structure we’re all weaved into. Ideological exchanges can lead to greater levels of acceptance and a philosophically rich community that is able to engage and interact in all areas of discourse.


Accessibility to Art: Unlimited by confined spaces, bringing an artist’s work outside presents a wonderful opportunity for direct exchange between the artist and the public. Art often can be inaccessible to the general public when artists are restricted within a predetermined space; their art becomes exclusive property, and the connection between the public and the artist is lost. Although the avenue to galleries has expanded in convenience, it still doesn’t generate enough momentum to push the art scene to reach a larger audience. That being said, not only does public art have a more profound reach into communities, but it can also have a great impact on the living experience in that same space.


Aesthetics: By changing the aesthetical characteristics, one transforms the energy and vitality of public spaces. Redesigning public space to incorporate artistic flare will instinctively attract various people, and foster deeper attachments to the region.

Adding positive visual cues such as earthy tones or harmonious textures can significantly enhance the mental state of people receiving those visuals on a regular basis as they go about their daily routine. This subtly enriched visual experience can be quite helpful for those experiencing high anxiety or stress, thus contributing to an overall better mental health.


By encouraging public art in the region, we are building a new bridge for communication in our society and allowing expression of cultural identity to be more visible. Not everyone is going to appreciate or approve of other ideologies clashing with their own, but by becoming more aware about our differences we can take a step in the right direction towards growth. Public art was and always will be a symbol of advancement and civilization, it’s just a matter of how we support it and adapt to it.

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Dubai Design District