Public Art for Public Health with Mary Davis Wallace

Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Episode 41

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Why do cities need a public art plan? It’s the central question of this insightful episode featuring Mary Davis Wallace, Senior Planner and Public Art Program Lead for the City of Sarasota, Florida. As a longtime arts aficionado and the mind behind Sarasota’s newest Public Art Master Plan, Mary Davis describes the many economic and social benefits that a coordinated art program can bring to artists, residents, and the city at large. 

In this conversation, she describes the city’s 1% for art program and some of the many initiatives Sarasota has implemented to uplift local artists and enhance the city’s placemaking efforts, such as the Arts in Roundabouts Program and their Art Collection Audio Tour. Additionally, Mary Davis explains the positive public health outcomes of a city-wide public art program, such as increased safety, community connections, a greater sense of belonging, and civic pride. Whether you’re an artist interested in commissioning a public piece or a developer working with your city to integrate public art into your project, this episode is for you!

Discussed in the Episode: 
City of Sarasota Public Art
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
The Circus Arts Conservatory
The Circus Ring of Fame
City of Sarasota Public Art Master Plan
Americans for the Arts
Mural Arts Philadelphia
Mural Arts Philadelphia Executive Director Jane Golden
American Planning Association
Sarasota’s Art in the Roundabouts Program
International Sculpture Center
Sarasota’s Public Art Collection Audio Tour
Juanita Hardy on The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
The Reef Line Public Art Project in Miami Beach
The High Line
The Underline 
Cloud Gate (The Bean) by Anish Kapoor
Mary Davis Wallace on LinkedIn

About Mary Davis Wallace:
As the Senior Planner and Public Art Administrator for the City of Sarasota, Florida, Mary Davis specializes in arts program development and fundraising, public engagement, arts education, and master planning. She serves on the National Arts and Planning Division Executive Committee for The American Planning Association (APA) and is an active member of The Florida Association of Public Art Professionals and Americans for the Arts.  

Mary Davis grew up in Asheville, North Carolina where she developed a lifelong appreciation for the arts, architecture, and design. She has worked as a landscape designer and urban planner in North Carolina, Florida, and overseas. Her design and planning experience compelled her towards a deeper commitment to public art which led to her role as Executive Director of the public art nonprofit Cary Visual Art in Cary, North Carolina. She went on to serve as donor relations coordinator at Duke University School of Medicine before moving back to Sarasota in 2017. She joined the City from Sarasota County Government where she was a park planner and construction project manager.  Mary Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy. She has owned a home in Sarasota since 2005 and is a devoted gardener and animal lover.  

About Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Dot Dot Dot is the continuing conversation around art and placemaking in the built environment. Hosted by NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha Weidmann, episodes explore art, culture, community, and more with a range of reputable business leaders. Tune in biweekly to learn how an original art experience can boost your business and make a social impact. Episodes are available wherever you get your podcasts!