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Cambridge City Council

The text of this guidance leaflet is reproduced by kind permission of Cambridge City Council

Public Art Guidelines

- promoting and encouraging the commissioning of works by artists

Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire County Councils are working in partnership to implement a joint art policv to‘ promote and encourage the commissioning of works by artists for public and private developments in Cambridge ’.

The policy aims to promote a distinctive and exciting

environment within the context of an historic city, encourage local distinctiveness, economic development and involvement of local people in the interpretation of their environment.

Purpose of Guidelines

These guidelines have been prepared to assist developers by providing preliminary advice for the involvement of artists in development proposals.


There are a number of benefits that can result from successful art schemes.These include:

  • Making a development distinctive;
  • Increasing building and land values;
  • Positive press and media coverage;
  • Developing good relationships with local people;
  • Improving the environment for staff and tenants;
  • Contributing to the quality and enjoyment of a place.

Preliminary Considerations

If you have been advised that your development will need to include the work of an artist it is recommended that:

  • The artist’s role in the project is considered at the earliest stage in the process to allow proper examination of all opportunities;
  • The artist should work closely with the project architect, landscape designer, engineers and others to ensure that their work is integral to the overall scheme.

Commissioning Public Art

Every project is different with individual considerations. Attention should be paid to developing a process which is appropriate to its context. The following provides an outline of some of the issues important to achieving a successful project:

  • The Brief

    Planning a brief, which covers issues such as the aims of the project, budget, timescales and technical issues, is essential.

  • Selection Process

    The agreement of an appropriate method for selecting the artist. This will depend on the nature of the project but could be through direct invitation, limited or open competition.

  • Preliminary Designs

    The commissioning of a preliminary design for a fixed fee enables the commissioner to become involved in the selection process and the development of ideas.

  • Consultation

    Consultation with local people is encouraged where appropriate. This might include workshops in schools, presentations to local groups and questionnaires.

    Finding an appropriate artist or artists and managing the process can be complex and it is suggested that specialist advice is taken. Please refer to ‘Further Information and Assistance’.


A number of opportunities exist for additional funding for art projects. These include matching sources for private investment, development grants and the national lottery. These schemes change on an annual basis and current information can be obtained from the organisations listed in ‘Further Information and Assistance’.

Assessment of funding applications can often be lengthy and sufficient time should be allowed for this.

Further Information and Assistance

Joanne Grey

County Arts Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council

Shire Hall

Castle Hill

Cambridge CB3 0AP

01223 718734

Website: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Cambridge City Council

The Guildhall

Cambridge CB2 3QJ

01223 457200

Website: www.cambridge.gov.uk

Commissions East

St Giles Hall

Pound Hill

Cambridge CB3 0AE

01223 356882

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.commseast.org.uk

Arts Council England, East

Eden House

48-49 Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR

01223 454400

Website: www.artscouncil.org.uk

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