Powder Coating in Public Art


When you think about powder coating, what comes to mind? Certainly, its industrial uses. With its durability and longevity, it's really useful for manufacturing. Automotive powder coating is especially huge - from a car's paint job, to its door handles and wheels, and even under the hood. But powder coating is used in many other industries as well. Your golf clubs are powder coated. Your patio is, too!


A lot of people don't know much about powder coating, so it might surprise you to learn how often powder coating is used in public spaces, too. Take architecture and construction, for example. Doors, windows, fences, stadiums, facades… powder coating is everywhere!


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But some of the best powder coating has more unconventional uses, namely, in creative public art. Public art has always been around, but in growing cities like Cleveland, Ohio, public art is experiencing a renaissance as many communities are prioritizing urban revitalization. One of Cleveland's best powder coating examples, as far as art goes, is the enormous replica of a rubber stamp of the word FREE.


Husband and wife sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen were commissioned to create the powder coated public art in Cleveland, Ohio in 1985 for an oil company that would later go on to be purchased by BP. It was intended to represent the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument of Cleveland, which is located right across the street from the oil company's office. However, BP later permanently banned the sculpture from Willard's Park in a dramatic gesture of control- they took the public art as a personal insult, as they believed it to be mocking their corporate culture.


Luckily, powder coated public art doesn’t usually bring scandal. Nor does it get banished to a warehouse in Indiana for 6 years like the FREE stamp! Public art brings communities together and helps revitalize communities. People gather around public art to take pictures. People from the city become prouder of where they live, and people from outside the city have even more cool destinations to choose from. And graffiti? Next time you're driving around a growing city, take a good look - there's much less graffiti when public spaces are being used for creativity and expression.


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Powder coating is not just used for large, expensive public art installment. Corporate buildings, hospitals, government buildings (and small businesses, too!) regularly commission powder coated art for their offices. Progressive Insurance's headquarters in Cleveland, for example, make use of their sprawling, beautiful campus and network of interconnected buildings to showcase some brilliant works of art. Many of them are powder coated sculptures like the one shown here. Small craftsmen and artisans also use powder coating services to create their own art! So, what do you think? Does your city need more public art? Would you like to see more sculptures in offices around your city? And - do you think that you'd like some creative powder coating in your home? The powder coating industry keeps growing every year. You'll be seeing more and more creative uses of powder coating in growing cities - I hope you're as excited as we are.