Art in Public Spaces: The Conversation Continues…


As the building boom continues in Boca Raton there is hope that our city and the developers are encouraged to think outside the box.  We are hoping to start the discussion of why Urban Green Space and Public Art is important to the atmosphere and the economy of a growing, vibrant community.

Since it appears that the current  building binge has been more about adding concrete to our Downtown and less about enhancing the environment, BocaWatch is committed to the conversation of diversifying our effort into projects that work toward the common good of all, residents and visitors alike.

There is a terrific  example right here in neighboring West Palm Beach, as you will read in the attached news article. It is about a creative project that was successful financially, as well as adding an exuberance to their city.  This type of interactive art and open public space installation lends to creating a ‘sense of place’ that builds cherished memories for all.

Musical Swings brought life Clematis Street

From the Palm Beach Post, By Tony Doris – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, posted: 11:47 a.m. Friday, April 29, 2016

Musical Swings artistic installation brought thousands of people and millions of dollars to West Palm Beach

  Slap together a swing set. Attach computers so it makes music when you swing. Stick it in a vacant lot for a month. Wait.

And here’s what happens, according to Sybille Welter, coordinator of the city’s Art in Public Places program:

  • 34,000 people show up.
  • As many as 156 swing in a single hour.
  • Foot traffic on the block increases by 56 percent.
  • It generates $768,900 in direct economic impact downtown.
  • Indirect economic impact: $1 million to $1.4 million.

Those numbers came from a survey done of Musical Swings, the installation placed in a vacant lot at 534 Clematis Street in February. “People generally said they felt happier, calmer, less stressed out” after using the swings, Welter said.

Raphael Clemente, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said he’s on the lookout for more attractions like this one, which was relatively simple but had a big social and economic impact. “It was the most fun project I’ve been involved with since I’ve been at the DDA,” he said. “People just came out to be part of this really cool experiment.”

I look forward to a future where art and creativity are part of our landscape. It would be wonderful to see some of these opportunities come to Boca Raton.

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  1. I could not agree more. These spaces are an urban dweller’s “back yard” and they go a long way towards making a densely populated area livable. I hope we see some creativity in this area soon!

  2. The City has $7 million in the Downtown Land Dedication account. It should use those funds to create pocket parks in our downtown.


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