How Public Art Can Communicate Chemistry to Diverse Publics

Both chemistry and art have long and intertwined histories, from the chemical synthesis of the first synthetic pigments such as Egyptian blue by ancient artists to the more recent collaboration between nanotechnology and chemistry to produce ‘Vantablack’ the darkest shade of black ever produced. However, it is only in recent years that the utility of art as a vehicle for communicating and teaching chemistry concepts has been identified, although to date this has been largely confined to classroom environments. Public art, such a murals, can function as a means of communicating science to audiences who do not typically engage with such topics as it can merely be stumbled upon by chance rather than having to be actively sought out. In this commentary, the use of art to encourage engagement with and facilitate the teaching of chemical concepts is discussed. In addition to this, the utility of public art to communicate chemistry concepts to diverse populations, outside of the traditional classroom environment, is highlighted.