Public art isn’t just about the art — it’s about the chance it gives government to engage neighborhoods, argues Lucas O’Connor, a self-described “progressive campaign consultant” who works for several local Democrats, in a blog post this morning.

O’Connor wrote the post (the first of two parts, he says) in response to this conversation we’ve been having about public art in the wake of the mayor’s revelation that he wants to cut public art funding.

Here’s a bit from his post:

Plus, when communities join together to create shared spaces with public art, it also gives a community a vested interest in the maintenance of that space. It gives the community members a reason to stand up against negative graffiti. It gives them a reason to defend those shared spaces as family-friendly, safe areas. And it connects neighbors and local business owners in a collaborative effort to build a cooperative community that seeks out solutions that are mutually beneficial. It’s the difference between an actual community and just a bunch of people who are near each other.

O’Connor’s perspective reminded me of the story we heard from Eva Vargas, who lives in southeastern San Diego and fears the cuts to public art could have a larger impact on her neighborhood. Do you agree with O’Connor’s perspective? Leave a comment or send me an email.

Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

    This article relates to: Arts/Culture

    Written by Kelly Bennett

    Kelly Bennett is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can reach her directly at