That Critical Mirror

Culture doesn’t save anything or anyone, it doesn’t justify itself. But it is a product of man: he projects himself into it; that critical mirror alone offers him his image.
-- Jean Paul Sartre, 1964.

The Atlanta Public Arts Legacy fund (APAL) was established in 1997 as a mechanism to assure appropriate ongoing care and to provide education and advocacy services for public art in the city. APAL charge is to conserve and maintain public artworks and monuments at 19 sites featuring nearly 100 works created by 42 artists in downtown Atlanta.

Sartre's words remind us of the immeasurable value art brings to our lives. Public art especially. His words at once defiant and cautionary embolden us to create, protect and value the important role art plays in our lives. It is the principal mirror into which we project ourselves our hopes, our fears, our passions, our prejudices, our triumphs or our disappointments. Art in the public realm exists for all us.

Anyone can look upon public art and project himself or herself into it.
Any thought. Any emotion. Any opinion.
It is the greatest mirror on the public wall.

APAL operates as a conservation and maintenance fund fiscally managed by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Inc.

The Value of Public Art in the City:

  • To enhance our built environment and cultural landscape
  • To engage the mind in new ideas
  • To inspire the viewer through the work of others
  • To illuminate Atlanta history, historical leaders, and places

The Duty of the Atlanta Public Arts Legacy fund:

  • To assure the ongoing care of public art in the city
  • To inform others about public art in the city
  • To conserve public art at 19 sites in the city
  • To advocate for strong community-based public art policies