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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of public art.

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IELTS Essay: Public Art

Some people believe that the government should spend more money putting in more works of art like paintings and statues in cities to make them better places to live in.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some feel governments should invest more in public art in cities to boost the quality of life. Personally, I am in disagreement with this idea because it has little actual importance for the average citizen.

On the one hand, public art beautifies a city. A city stripped of all art gives off the dreary appearance of being purely for utilitarian value and the daily rigour of work. In contrast, cities that have invested heavily in public art, such as New York City, offer their residents a beautiful and inspiring home. A child who sees sculptures and murals working home will feel the city is a nicer place to live and workers passing by works of art will have some emotional relief from the demands of the day. This not only builds up the character of urban areas for local inhabitants and instills a sense of pride, but also attracts tourists and professional artists to the city, both of which contribute to a vibrant city.

Nonetheless, public art has little quantifiable positive value. Most city-dwellers are too engrossed in their hectic schedules to notice public art. This art, therefore, means nothing to most locals, while also diverting an outsized share of a city’s budget. There are other more vital areas requiring development such as high-end infrastructure, well-rounded healthcare systems, and modern recreational facilities. Moreover, the public space used to house these works of art cannot be used for practical purposes including critical public facilities like restrooms, bus stops or parks. Those who rely on these other facilities will have more trouble finding them and their quality of life may be somewhat impacted by a preference for art.

Despite the aesthetic value of public art, government bodies should focus more on urban issues that truly matter to their constituents. There must be a degree of balance but it should always tip more towards pragmatic concerns.

Analysis

1. Some feel governments should invest more in public art in cities to boost the quality of life. 2. Personally, I am in disagreement with this idea because it has little actual importance for the average citizen.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Choose a clear side. Read more about introductions here.

1. On the one hand, public art beautifies a city. 2. A city stripped of all art gives off the dreary appearance of being purely for utilitarian value and the daily rigour of work. 3. In contrast, cities that have invested heavily in public art, such as New York City, offer their residents a beautiful and inspiring home. 4. A child who sees sculptures and murals working home will feel the city is a nicer place to live and workers passing by works of art will have some emotional relief from the demands of the day. 5. This not only builds up the character of urban areas for local inhabitants and instills a sense of pride, but also attracts tourists and professional artists to the city, both of which contribute to a vibrant city.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Give a specific example.
  4. Develop the example.
  5. Finish developing the example fully.

1. Nonetheless, public art has little quantifiable positive value. 2. Most city-dwellers are too engrossed in their hectic schedules to notice public art. 3. This art, therefore, means nothing to most locals, while also diverting an outsized share of a city’s budget. 4. There are other more vital areas requiring development such as high-end infrastructure, well-rounded healthcare systems, and modern recreational facilities. 5. Moreover, the public space used to house these works of art cannot be used for practical purposes including critical public facilities like restrooms, bus stops or parks. 6. Those who rely on these other facilities will have more trouble finding them and their quality of life may be somewhat impacted by a preference for art.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Continue to explain or develop the idea.
  4. Give specific examples to support your idea.
  5. The more detail, the better!
  6. Conclude with a strong statement.

1. Despite the aesthetic value of public art, government bodies should focus more on urban issues that truly matter to their constituents. 2. There must be a degree of balance but it should always tip more towards pragmatic concerns.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought. Read more about how to write an IELTS conclusion here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Some feel governments should invest more in public art in cities to boost the quality of life. Personally, I am in disagreement with this idea because it has little actual importance for the average citizen.

On the one hand, public art beautifies a city. A city stripped of all art gives off the dreary appearance of being purely for utilitarian value and the daily rigour of work. In contrast, cities that have invested heavily in public art, such as New York City, offer their residents a beautiful and inspiring home. A child who sees sculptures and murals working home will feel the city is a nicer place to live and workers passing by works of art will have some emotional relief from the demands of the day. This not only builds up the character of urban areas for local inhabitants and instills a sense of pride, but also attracts tourists and professional artists to the city, both of which contribute to a vibrant city.

Nonetheless, public art has little quantifiable positive value. Most city-dwellers are too engrossed in their hectic schedules to notice public art. This art, therefore, means nothing to most locals, while also diverting an outsized share of a city’s budget. There are other more vital areas requiring development such as high-end infrastructure, well-rounded healthcare systems, and modern recreational facilities. Moreover, the public space used to house these works of art cannot be used for practical purposes including critical public facilities like restrooms, bus stops or parks. Those who rely on these other facilities will have more trouble finding them and their quality of life may be somewhat impacted by a preference for art.

Despite the aesthetic value of public art, government bodies should focus more on urban issues that truly matter to their constituents. There must be a degree of balance but it should always tip more towards pragmatic concerns.

Answers

invest put money into

boost increase

quality of life standard of living

I am in disagreement with don’t agree with

little actual importance not much real impact

average citizen normal person

beautifies makes beautiful

stripped of doesn’t have

dreary appearance boring look

purely for utilitarian value only for its use

daily rigour of work daily grind of a job

invested heavily giving a lot of money to

offer their residents give to citizens

inspiring elevating

murals large paintings

passing by walking past

emotional relief makes you feel better

demands of the day rigor of work, life

builds up the character creates a sense of identity

urban areas cities

local inhabitants people who live there

instills imparts

attracts makes come there

contribute to a vibrant city makes the city better

nonetheless regardless

little quantifiable positive value not much actual import

city-dwellers city residents

engrossed lost in

hectic schedules busy days

notice pay attention to

means nothing to has no value to

diverting sending in a different direction

outsized share of a city’s budget take up too much money

vital areas important parts

high-end infrastructure roads, plumbing, electricity, etc.

well-rounded healthcare systems hospitals

modern recreational facilities gyms

moreover furthermore

house verb of house

practical purposes concrete reasons

critical public facilities key places for all residents

rely on need

somewhat impacted kind of affected

preference for art prioritising art

aesthetic value value of how it looks

government bodies governments

urban issues problems related to cities

truly matter actually important

constituents people

degree of balance some equality

tip more towards lean towards, value more

pragmatic concerns real-world issues

Pronunciation

ɪnˈvɛst 
buːst 
ˈkwɒlɪti ɒv laɪf 
aɪ æm ɪn ˌdɪsəˈgriːmənt wɪð 
ˈlɪtl ˈækʧʊəl ɪmˈpɔːtəns 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈsɪtɪzn 
ˈbjuːtɪfaɪz 
strɪpt ɒv 
ˈdrɪəri əˈpɪərəns 
ˈpjʊəli fɔː ˌjuːtɪlɪˈteərɪən ˈvæljuː 
ˈdeɪli ˈrɪgər ɒv wɜːk 
ɪnˈvɛstɪd ˈhɛvɪli 
ˈɒfə ðeə ˈrɛzɪdənts 
ɪnˈspaɪərɪŋ 
ˈmjʊərəlz 
ˈpɑːsɪŋ baɪ 
ɪˈməʊʃənl rɪˈliːf 
dɪˈmɑːndz ɒv ðə deɪ 
bɪldz ʌp ðə ˈkærɪktə 
ˈɜːbən ˈeərɪəz 
ˈləʊkəl ɪnˈhæbɪtənts 
ɪnˈstɪlz 
əˈtrækts 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t tuː ə ˈvaɪbrənt ˈsɪti 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs 
ˈlɪtl ˈkwɒntɪfaɪəbl ˈpɒzətɪv ˈvæljuː 
ˈsɪti-ˈdwɛləz 
ɪnˈgrəʊst 
ˈhɛktɪk ˈʃɛdjuːlz 
ˈnəʊtɪs 
miːnz ˈnʌθɪŋ tuː 
daɪˈvɜːtɪŋ 
ˈaʊtsaɪzd ʃeər ɒv ə ˈsɪtiz ˈbʌʤɪt 
ˈvaɪtl ˈeərɪəz 
haɪ-ɛnd ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə
wɛl-ˈraʊndɪd ˈhɛlθkeə ˈsɪstɪmz 
ˈmɒdən ˌrɛkrɪˈeɪʃənl fəˈsɪlɪtiz 
mɔːˈrəʊvə 
haʊs 
ˈpræktɪkəl ˈpɜːpəsɪz 
ˈkrɪtɪkəl ˈpʌblɪk fəˈsɪlɪtiz 
rɪˈlaɪ ɒn 
ˈsʌmwɒt ɪmˈpæktɪd 
ˈprɛfərəns fɔːr ɑːt 
iːsˈθɛtɪk ˈvæljuː 
ˈgʌvnmənt ˈbɒdiz 
ˈɜːbən ˈɪʃuːz 
ˈtruːli ˈmætə 
kənˈstɪtjʊənts 
dɪˈgriː ɒv ˈbæləns 
tɪp mɔː təˈwɔːdz 
prægˈmætɪk kənˈsɜːnz 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Some feel governments should i_______t more in public art in cities to b______t the q______________e. Personally, I______________________h this idea because it has l_________________________e for the a________________n.

On the one hand, public art b_____________s a city. A city s______________f all art gives off the d__________________e of being p_________________________e and the d______________________k. In contrast, cities that have i_____________________y in public art, such as New York City, o________________________s a beautiful and i_____________g home. A child who sees sculptures and m________s working home will feel the city is a nicer place to live and workers p_____________by works of art will have some e____________________f from the d_____________________y. This not only b____________________________r of u_____________s for l____________________s and i_____________s a sense of pride, but also a____________s tourists and professional artists to the city, both of which c_________________________y.

N________________s, public art has l________________________________e. Most c____________________s are too e______________d in their h_________________s to n_________e public art. This art, therefore, m_________________o most locals, while also d______________g an o____________________________t. There are other more v_____________s requiring development such as h____________________________e, w____________________________s, and m______________________________s. M_____________r, the public space used to h__________e these works of art cannot be used for p______________________s including c_________________________s like restrooms, bus stops or parks. Those who r__________n these other facilities will have more trouble finding them and their quality of life may be s______________________d by a p_______________________t.

Despite the a_____________________e of public art, g_____________________s should focus more on u_______________s that t_________________r to their c_______________s. There must be a d__________________e but it should always t___________________________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn about public art in New York below:

Reading Practice

And check those out on this map:

https://ny.curbed.com/maps/public-art-new-york-street-art-sculpture

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following questions from the real IELTS exam:

Art

  1. Have you ever been to an art gallery?
  2. Would you like to learn more about art?
  3. Do you hang any art in your home?
  4. Do people in your country enjoy making art?

Writing Practice

Write about the following topic then check with my sample answer:

The government should lower the budget on the arts in order to allocate more money to education.

To what extent do you agree?


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