Most viewers of this blog are not in Portland, many not in the US. Before it seems just too insular, keeping a critical eye on our local arts and its database of public art, let’s introduce context.

Most Americans loath their governments, and both rational and irrational critics can be soothed by one thing – information. The absence of information – especially in this format where cost and convenience make it the most suitable defense – creates the assumption of corruption.

Here are a sample of public arts databases put up elsewhere in the US, in no particular order.

Baltimore – nice GUI, map-based. This is a cool, mis-estimated, overlooked arts community.

Phoenix – again map-based. Drill down for info on artist, photo, date purchased, location, dimensions, description. Looks complete.

Miami – work listed by artist or location; includes work in progress.

Minneapolis – three-page pdf. No pictures. Bleak.

Austin – Complete database, search by artist, bureaucratic department, or media, or by using a map.

San Jose – Completed, current and proposed artworks. Small collection from a city which grew up quick.

Atlanta – comprehensive database: search by title, artist, location or council district.

St Louis – Best of show with pics, lots of data including purchase prices and current owners, and public art in neighboring communities.

Scottsdale – 21 artworks in a “Self-Tour.”

Houston – photo-based db, no artist names, no dates, no descriptions. has map + zip code sort.

Philadelphia – excellent completed database. Good pictures, good data, tour schemes,

Charlotte? Nothing. Cleveland? Nothing. DC? Nothing. Tampa? They rooked F E Lykes for a hideous pdf. Seattle? No comprehensive database. LA? Lists but no database. Dallas? Nothing – very little public art to claim. Chicago? Filled with art from stem to stern and no accessible catalogue. Boston? Nope.

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