For the past several months I’ve been a member of the Art in Public Places Committee. It’s a group of people interested in promoting public art in State College. We’re a varied group— there’s an artist, a retired public relations person, a real estate lawyer, a neighborhood activist, the director of the Downtown State College Improvement District, the Mayor of State College and me. We meet about once a month—sometimes more frequently, sometimes less so. Our chair, Christy Rambeau—the retired PR person—is a woman of great, but gentle, persuasive powers.
Over a period of months (or longer, now that I think of it) we’ve developed a catalog of the public art in State College’s downtown. When we decided to share this information with the public, our artist member, Will Snyder created a web site, with photos, and descriptive information of the works.
At that point we decided that our not very good cell phone photos of most of the works looked like not very good cell phone photos, so a bunch of us chipped in and asked Steve Tressler of Mountain View Studios to shoot the work. He did an excellent job.
Now our web site has morphed into a printed brochure designed by State College graphic designer David Lembeck. The brochure, Downtown State College Art Walk covers the full range of public art in downtown including sculpture, outdoor murals, fresco, and even stained glass windows.
Christy Rambeau, our chair has noted “Our public art is one of State College’s unappreciated assets. We’re taking the first steps to change that.”
Works covered in the project range in age really old (1907) to practically brand new (2014). They cover a wide variety of media too—from mosaics to outdoor murals and freestanding sculpture—even stained glass windows. We’ve identified 25 pieces and will be adding others to our web site. StateCollegePublicArt.com is mobile-friendly and offers visitors an expanded version of the brochure and includes the backstories of many of the works.
It’s been a fun project and now we’re looking ahead to the possibility of including the public art that’s on the Penn State campus in our guide as well.
Downtown State College Art Walk, is available at the following locations in State College:
- Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800 East Park Avenue
- Schlow Centre Region Library, 211 South Allen Street
- Borough of State College Tax and Planning Offices, 243 South Allen Street
- Downtown State College Improvement District, 127 South Fraser Street