ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.


Public Art Policy, Queensland, Australia


In 1991, the incoming State Government for Queensland in Australia undertook a major review of the arts and released a watershed policy document, ‘Queensland: A State for the Arts 1991’. The document affirmed a major commitment to support art and artists, and public art.  Eight years later, the State Government had determined to put in place a program to foster the development of public art.  The Art Built-in policy was launched in 1999.  It advocated that public art should be an integrated element of capital developments.  After Art Built-in had been in operation for six years, there was a call to evaluate the policy. The Government engaged the Government Architect and Head of Architecture at the University of Queensland, Professor Michael Keniger, to undertake the evaluation in 2005-06.  The Keniger report found that the Art Built-in program had made a significant contribution but had some structural and administrative issues and should be continued with an increased resource base.  However, concurrently there had been a Treasury review of Arts Queensland, the host agency for the Public Art Agency that ran the Art Built-in program, and the Government determined that Arts Built-in would be replaced in 2007 by the art+place program which endeavoured to reconfigure those aspects which had been problematic.

Art Built-in Policy, 1999-2007

The Art Built-in policy came into effect in July 1999.  The basis of the Art Built-in program was allocated funding of 2% for public art within all State Government capital works building budgets over A$250,000 (excluding engineering and road works).  The Government required that this 2% should be allocated to integrated art and design.  Overall, the aim of the policy was to generate positive economic outcomes for artists and arts workers, to enhance public buildings and to maximise the quality, experience and understanding of Queensland’s public domain in both the built and natural environment through the integration of art and cultural expertise.  The preferred approach was integrating art and design into the public domain by involving artists in project development teams at the outset of capital works planning and delivery. 

A new Public Art Agency was established in Brisbane to support implementation of the Art Built-in policy and advocate for public art.  The Public Art Agency had a proactive role in analysing the Government’s Capital Works Budget Statement each year and providing to each department a list of projects to which Art Built-in might apply.  It then would provide a public art project manager to support the capital project team and artist throughout the whole process.

The Art Built-in policy set out the principles and benefits of the Arts Built-in approach.  The associated guidelines gave a detailed description of how the policy would be applied in practical terms, covering project initiation, development and implementation.  Public art was defined as contemporary art practice outside the traditional gallery or museum system, including commissioned permanent or temporary site specific work, functional items, purchase of existing works for public siting, and the provision of community cultural facilities or events that contribute to the animation of public spaces. 

The Art Built-in Toolkit, published in 2000, provided resources to support the policy and guidelines.  It gave practical information, checklists, questionnaires, sample artists’ briefs and contracts for each stage of the process from planning, consultation and research, to project management and procurement. 

Follow this link to download the Art Built-in policy and guidelines (2004)

Follow this link to download the Art Built-in Toolkit (2000). 

Art Built-in Policy Evaluation, 2005-2006

In 2005, Prof Michael Keniger, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Queensland and Government Architect, was commissioned by the State Government to evaluate of Art Built-in.  The evaluation was to look at the success of the policy overall, the effectiveness of the guidelines, toolkit and procedures, the administration of the policy and role of the Public Art Agency, to compare the policy with other pubic programmes nationally and internationally and to make recommendations on the future direction of Art Built-in.

Key findings were that the policy had helped position public art as a vital contributor to the public realm and had established a wider awareness of public art in the community.  It was well regarded for its achievements and considered a nationally significant policy. On the negative side, there was wide criticism of the quality of public art achieved under the policy.  Much of this was put down to the relatively inflexible way in which the policy was implemented and the demanding and bureaucratic nature of the implementation processes which took attention away from the art itself.  There was also was a lack of consistency in its application across government departments.   

The recommendations included that the policy should be retained and strengthened, that it should become more flexible in approach, that a global budget based on the capital works programme should be created to enable forward planning, and that funds should be pooled to allow greater flexibility. The definition of public art should become broader to embrace education projects and with more emphasis on performance work and temporary installation work.  A Government Curator should be appointed to work with a Curatorial Panel to ensure quality.

Coincidentally and separately, Arts Queensland was reviewed whilst the evaluation was underway, after which the Public Art Agency was left ‘in a vestigial state’. 

Follow this link to download the Keniger Evaluation Report, 2006.

art+place (2007 to present)

The art+place Queensland  Public Art Fund was established by the Cabinet of Queensland State Government  in 2007.  It was established with A$12 million for new public art projects in Queensland for the three financial years 2007 – 2010. 

Public art is no longer included in each of the Government’s capital projects.  The fund is open to application by Queensland Government departments and agencies, local government councils, not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations, arts and cultural festivals and private developers.  A curatorial panel of experts have been appointed to advise the Government on the expenditure of the fund, and a Government Curator was appointed to support the program and manage the Panel.

Like Art Built-in, the art+place policy advocates  the integration of art and design into the public domain, in order to create meaningful work with a direct relationship to the local environment.  The preferred approach to public art commissioning is to include artists in project development as early as possible in the planning and delivery of projects.  The fund will support large and small scale projects of both permanent and temporary art works and has the capacity to purchase of existing works of art.  Applicants submit an Expression of Interest which is considered against established criteria by the Government Curator and Curatorial Panel. 

Please note that the Art Built-in Toolkit (provided for downloaded above) is now rather outdated.  There are plans to produce a new updated version for the art+place program by 2011

Follow this link to the Arts Queensland public art funding page

Follow this link to download the art+place policy 2007-2010

Follow this link to download the art+place guidelines

 Fast Find

Go to specific information related to you.

 Editor's Choice

What's New

ixia update

 Join our elist