Public Utility was founded to share the stories of artists and makers in Kent, Ohio. As part of our ongoing work with the City of Kent to promote public arts in the city, we found early on that the arts community was already thriving. To promote the scene, we created Public Utility as an online space to share stories of artists and their work, build connections between artists, and promote the arts in Kent.
The philosophy behind the project is that access to art is an important part of a thriving community, not because it is “useful” by standard definition, but because it provides necessary pathways to education, empathy, and understanding. In this way, art can be viewed as a public utility.
Our driving strategy became to grow a creative platform that artists, designers, and community members would look to for inspiration—that through forming organic connections and features, the project would grow and lead to a stronger arts community, artist calls, and increased opportunities for public arts in Kent. Our goal became to create a space where artist’s stories could be shared and their work supported. We wanted to share not only their work, but their personality, ideas, and processes as well.
The Public Utility website features interviews and photography of local artists, designers, and makers, providing an in-depth look at the arts in Kent. As the project grows, the website will host more information about the project, as well as a space for public art suggestions, contact information, and ways to get involved.