Introduction to Self-Guided Public Art Tour
We hope that you will enjoy this online tour of Columbia’s public art, and encourage you to take the tour in person so that you can view each work in its actual setting. As is always the case with the arts, a reproduction, like this guide, cannot truly substitute for the real thing. Whether on foot or in your car, you are sure to see something that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Art enriches our surroundings. It expands our everyday experiences. Publicly accessible art is special in that it is available for all to enjoy. When we park our cars, run errands or shop downtown, public art is part of our surroundings. Through abstract or historical representation, sculpture can tell a story, communicate a message, embody an ideal or convey a feeling. When grouped together, as in this guide, Columbia’s many sculptures become an outdoor museum accessible to everyone.
No special outing must be planned to enjoy this museum — it is open every day, has endless hours and charges no admission fee. Each work of art in this guide has its own connection to Columbia’s history and is a part of our cultural legacy. The works were initiated by a range of businesses, individuals, organizations and agencies, each with a different mission but all sharing the common view that art enriches our city. By highlighting these important cultural resources, we hope that citizens and visitors alike will learn about our city and our history, and that Columbia’s public art will enrich their experience here.
A great effort was made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this guide. Used as a reference, it can enhance anyone’s enjoyment of Columbia; however, it is not a comprehensive inventory. So, while taking the tour, watch for additional discoveries. A hard-copy brochure of this online guide can be obtained from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Copies are also available at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau and at Columbia City Hall.
Some information in the guide was provided by Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!), a program of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Heritage Preservation. To learn more about public sculpture, consult the public library or check out Heritage Preservation. You can also visit the Smithsonian’s Inventory of American Sculpture for more information.
Hard copies of the Public Art Guide are located at the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (300 S. Providence Road), and at City Hall.
Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.