Dial an artist:
With nearly 1-million pounds of public art appearing in Stoke-on-Trent, and having last week attended a large Arts Council conference in the city on public art, I was thinking … how can artists talk about their public art, on the site itself, for up to a year after the work is sited? Of course, good art needs little or no explanation, but sometimes some context helps. You could build expensive and vandalism-prone push-button “voice boxes”. But why do that, when people have one in their pockets? Simply strap or stick a freephone 0800 number to a suitable lamppost, and have people dial in to hear a 5-minute voicemail from the artist and/or the local community. Total cost per site would be about 200 pounds a year (0800 set-up & 12-month number rental, some signs & steel straps) plus call costs at 6p per minute. Sponsorship could underwrite call costs once they go beyond, say, 200 pounds or so.