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*This is the fourth of five writings sharing how art can unite community.  It is essential to the well-being of our citizens by providing platforms of free expression and hope.  These attributes are worth organizing and fighting for public art programs in Richmond and beyond.  Art provides a renewed faith in humanity.

Patterns public art.
Public art.

% for Art Programs exist in many San Francisco Bay Area cities.  Check.  Public art is proven to make money for developers and communities.  Check.  So beyond just profit public art provides just so much more.  It educates, enhances community, and ranks just as highly as nature.  The list to support just keeps on getting longer…

Hey Richmond, did you know that public art could make you smarter?  According to the Americans for the Arts: “Arts improve academic performance.  Students with an education rich in the arts have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates—benefits reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status.  Students with 4 years of arts or music in high school average 100 points higher on the verbal and math portions of their SATs than students with just one-half year of arts or music.  89 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.”

Public art has the power to inspire children and encourage critical thinking skills.

Figolu, side view.

Quality of life is very important to our daily existence and public art delivers.  From the Americans for the Arts: “University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and LOWER CRIME AND POVERTY RATES.  The arts are used by the U.S. military to promote troop force and family readiness, resilience, retention and for the successful reintegration of veterans into family and community life.”

Public art fosters dialogue and community cohesiveness by providing alternative modes of communication over force and violence.

Aesthetic Ascension Child by Malik Seneferu.
Aesthetic Ascension Child by Malik Seneferu.

Richmond is fortunate to have beautiful shorelines, parks, and views.  Some say that this natural beauty doesn’t warrant public art and the wealthiest neighborhoods benefit the most.  They why does San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and Emeryville with their natural views have public art?  Because it is free and requires no membership or fee.  The parks that abut the Bay in Richmond are full with visitors and residents picnicking, celebrating, hiking, and enjoying its beauty.  Art can’t replace nature and nature can’t replace art.  Richmond is fortunate for the opportunity to celebrate both.


Eager developers have been proposing projects on Richmond’s shoreline.  These new constructions should have public art that can be enjoyed by all especially with close proximity next to parks and the Richmond Bay Trail.  A % for Art Program promotes art for all while the sales price for new properties are unobtainable for many…


The importance of the arts and parks are overwhelming supported by diverse communities.  In 2010, the Knight Foundation’s of Soul of the Community initiative surveyed 43,000 citizens in 43 cities.  The findings concluded that the arts and parks ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a “driver of attachment” to communities.

Art truly connects communities.  Isn’t that what truly matters?  Public art is positive for business, local economies, and commonplace throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  Most importantly a % for Art Program doesn’t discriminate and is good for us all.  The time is now to make Richmond the best it can be today and for future generations.  Let’s do this!

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