Hank Aaron State Trail Art Concept Plan

The Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail commissioned this Art Concept Plan to lay the groundwork for the placement of public art along the Trail. This Plan identifies sites in which art could most effectively be placed, establishes principles for its placement, and explores how art can go beyond familiar conventions to reinforce the identity of the Trail and its surroundings.

Historically, public art has served a variety of purposes. Traditional monuments commemorate important leaders, heroic individuals, and significant events. Allegorical works express the aspirations, achievements, and civic virtues of a community. Modern works more often relate abstractly to their immediate surroundings, with an emphasis on aesthetic considerations or conceptual meanings. Recent developments have led to a greater awareness of the role of public art in establishing a sense of place, creating a welcoming, engaging, or even occasionally challenging environment within a particular community.

The Hank Aaron State Trail (HAST) occupies a unique place in the Wisconsin State Parks and Trails system. Located in the heart of the Milwaukee metropolitan region, it has an urban character, interspersed with natural features as accents. In contrast with a traditional park, the HAST exists primarily within an architectural and cultural context. In order to enhance its identity as an urban park and to help make it a destination, the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail developed this Plan to guide and inspire the placement of public art along the Trail.

This Plan is intended to be a comprehensive but flexible framework that will guide the way artists, donors, public officials, Friends, and other members of the Milwaukee community think about public art and how it can be incorporated into the Trail.

The Plan includes a catalogue of sites and a set of guiding principles. Sites appropriate for the placement of art are identified and discussed within nine zones that extend from Lake Michigan to Miller Park. A set of general principles outline a practical basis for the placement of art, including how it relates to physical, ecological, historical, and cultural features and how it can enhance a user’s experience of the Trail.

The Plan concludes with an extensive list of national and international precedents, including public artworks that can be found locally. These are intended to stimulate discussion and inspire a broad understanding of the possibilities for public art and are not meant to be directives.

Actual publication date note available.

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