Local Arts

Aesthetic of a Community

My family returned a couple weeks ago from vacation. Whenever I travel, I spend time quietly watching everything around me. The aesthetic of any community tells visitors several things about its people: what they value, how they perceive beauty, and how much they are willing to invest in their legacy. When I come home to Vancouver, I always flip these questions back at my hometown. What do we tell visitors about ourselves with what we create?

The first thing I look at is public art. Investments in public art are how communities show public pride and caring. Some communities are more invested in this than others. The Vancouver Downtown Association has invested a lot of money in public art, and there is a new addition in the works. Also, the Summer of Murals put on by the Clark County Mural Society has been very successful. The roll out of the new murals last week went well. The one on The Columbian building by Guy Drennan impressed me. This project was nicely done by everyone involved. In Clark County, we do care about public art in our Downtowns and parks.

The designs of buildings are another example of community aesthetic. We are a new nation on ancient grounds, and development happens in stutter steps, especially in the West. As new buildings go up in our community, I appreciate the beauty in the vision of the builders. Downtown Vancouver has some nice looking new buildings and I hear glowing comments from friends from across the river on these latest developments. My favorite building is our Fort Vancouver Regional Library- a beautiful accomplishment indeed!

Another part of community aesthetic is the look of infrastructure. I loved the intense geometry of the commuter train stations in Tokyo, where we visited. Any major urban area has a train system for commuters and guests, from The Tubes of London to The Subway of New York City, most cities of a certain size invest heavily in this foundational form of infrastructure. For visitors, the trains give plenty of photo ops. In Clark County, we have a lot of room to grow in this capacity, but when we do commit to these investments, we will discover the beauty of commuter trains locally.

In Clark County, our community aesthetic is developing. Building beyond functionality, the beauty of a community is a gift to residents and guests, and also a promise to future generations. Public art, infrastructure, and buildings reflect how a community values itself. Those who care invest.

Mt Fuji sculpture

Sculpture at Summit of Mt Fuji welcomes tired climbers, 2015.

Maureen Andrade

Maureen Andrade

I am the Executive Director of North Bank Artists in the Vancouver Arts District, as well as an artist and writer. Living and working in Clark County for most of my life, I have an appreciation for the good things this community offers. Also, I understand the creative lifestyle from many angles and hope to share some of what I know with my readers.