How to Create a Map of Public Art

Creating a map of public art may sound complicated but it doesn’t have to be. Maintaining it doesn’t have to be either!

For artists, showing a map of your art on public display is a great way to instantly gain credibility and give your fans and potential fans a way to go visit your work.

With the global shift to work-from-home and exploding bicycle scene, there has never been a better time to make it easy to find your public art on display.Art Checklist:

  1. Capture a great photo
  2. Etch the object
  3. Save an address on the Etching
  4. Be sure the etching is set to “Public”
  5. Attach the ETC# to the object


What is Public Art?

The Association for Public Art of Philadelphia (USA) does a great job of summarizing the importance of public art:

What distinguishes public art is the unique association of how it is made, where it is, and what it means. Public art can express community values, enhance our environment, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world – the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.

Open-air pieces commissioned by municipalities such as sculptures and murals certainly fit the definition, but as an artist, don’t discount the importance of smaller pieces such as individual paintings on display in offices, hospitals, restaurants, coffee shops and other private companies that are open to the public.

How Does Having Public Art Help an Artist?

If you’ve been studying up on art business in ETChster University, you’ll recall references to “top of funnel” in articles such as when we introduced the traffic tracker (artist website visitor tracking).

Artist Sales FunnelRecall that the sales funnel is a diagram of the journey that converts a total stranger to a purchaser of art.

The top of the sales funnel is where awareness begins. When diagnosing lack of sales for an art business, a common cause is not enough “top of funnel,” or better stated, sales didn’t happen because too few introductions to the artist were made.

The beauty of public art is that passive introductions to the artist happen all the time! People pass by and see amazing work. Some of those people will want to learn more.

From Awareness to Affection

Coming across public art by chance is one way that potential fans become aware of an artist, but there are many others:

  • Internet search
  • Word of mouth
  • Referenced in news
  • At events

For all of these ways that potential fans may first encounter an artist, the artist must make it as simple as possible to learn their story. Why? Patronage happens when someone develops affection for an artist.

Affection requires a story, which means a great bio and a quick way to see other pieces of that artist’s work.

Introducing a Map of Public Art

A great way to build affection or turn a casual observer into a fan is to show them more of your work. How do you that? Show them where they can find your other work on public display.

If you have public art such as sculptures or murals, be sure they are documented and displayed prominently on your website on a map with an address.

Building Your Public Art Map

If you’re an ETChster user, building your public art map is easy. It’s automated!

Be sure any Etchings you want to appear in your map:

  1. Have an address saved. It must be an address that Google recognizes.
  2. Are set to “Public.”

Check your public profile and you’ll know you’ve done it correctly if you see a map pin at the address you selected.

Yoyo Ferro Mural Map
Atlanta Artist Yoyo Ferro‘s Mural Map

What About Live Public Art Maps on Websites

ETChster users get a free embeddable version of their public map as well.

Pieces are added and subtracted in just the same way as the version on a user’s profile, no matter how many places the map is embedded.

Here’s artist John W. Christian‘s mural map:

Instructions for embedding your public art map.

Congrats! You Have Mapped Public Art

You’ve done it. You have now:

  • Created a single place to see your public art.
  • Added instant credibility.
  • Made it much easier to understand your story.
  • Given casual observers a simpler way to become fans.

Beyond Artists

Municipalities, cities, non-profits, and others are getting better at featuring public art. For artists, don’t be shy about reaching out if you find your public art is not being featured by the appropriate local groups.

Macon Arts Alliance
Macon Arts Alliance, Georgia, USA

For municipalities, cities, arts groups and others, you may use ETChster’s embeddable maps as well. If you want to take it to the next level, consider developing or sponsoring apps such as the GA Public Art Finder.

What’s Next?

Did you:

  • Find this article helpful?
  • Have follow-up questions?
  • Have other related thoughts that might be beneficial to the community?

Post them in the comments!

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