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City of Calgary, Canada

Public Art Policy and Plan

Calgary’s Public Art Policy and Public Art Plan were implemented in January 2004, and published in January 2007.

In 2004 Calgary’s Council and the Department of Utilities and Environmental Protection (UEP) UEP opted to pool their percent for public art funds for the 2006-2010 capital infrastructure cycle, generating nearly $6.9 million for public art, design, and related educational programming. Given the scope and complexity of this opportunity, it was decided that a visionary public art planning document was required to guide the expenditure of these funds in a strategic and comprehensive manner.

Calgary was one of the last major municipalities in North America to adopt a Public Art Policy. Extensive consultation with a number of other jurisdictions, including Vancouver and Toronto, was undertaken before the before the Policy was finalised.

Further details of the Public Art Policy and Plan, including reports, research and current and archived public art projects can be found by following this link to the City of Calgary website.

A Brief History of the Policy and Plan Development

Identifying the Need

  • In 1996, issues around the need for a Council-approved Public Art Policy (including procedures to guide Administration in accepting or declining art donations, commissions, purchases and the installation of artwork in public spaces) arose.
  • Administration requested that the Public Art Committee (PAC) of the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation (CAAF) address both the issue of donations and the development of a Public Art Policy.
  • In 1998, CAAF initiated a comprehensive investigation of issues surrounding the development and implementation of municipal public art programs across North America. This process included two broad spectrum Arts Stakeholder workshops, as well as a questionnaire targeted at key City and private stakeholders

Creating the Policy

  • A draft Public Art Policy was developed and ready to be brought forward to City Council in 2002 but was held back so that it could be considered within the larger Civic Arts Policy review.
  • On May 27, 2003, Council approved the fundamental principle of a Public Art Policy whereby one percent of all capital Upgrade and Growth projects over $1 million would be designated for the commission, purchase and installation of public art. (CPS2003-38, 2003 May 27)
  • Council directed the Administration to work with the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation (CAAF), affected Business Units and the Civic Arts Policy Review Steering Committee to finalize the Public Art Policy and Operations Guidelines.

Follow this link to download the Calgary Public Art Policy as an Adobe Acrobat Document: 48.5 KB

Follow this link to download the Calgary Public Art Plan as an Adobe Acrobat Document: 4.63MB

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