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.

City of Vancouver, Canada

What is the purpose of the Public Art Program?

The program aims to commission art that expresses the spirit, values, visions, and poetry of place that collectively define Vancouver. Artists working at new private developments may try to connect new development and populations to historic buildings and older communities. Artists commissioned to work at City-owned buildings, parks, and utilities may create work based on traditional civic values, or may try to humanize hard-edged urban infrastructure. And artists working with communities may put their design skills, aesthetic sense, and intuitive connection to place, at the service of neighbourhoods, working on projects that build community pride, cohesion, and identity. The Public Art Program encourages art-making of many kinds and at many levels, from single-artist commissions to artist collaborations with engineers, planners or others, examples of which identify great public spaces in cities worldwide.

How are artists selected?

Artists for City projects are generally selected through open competitions in which artist submissions are reviewed by a selection panel. Selection panels usually consist of the project architect, engineer, or planner; at least one artist; and representatives of the neighbouring community-the intent being to balance expert and more general points of view. Selection panels may recommend a short-list of artists to prepare detailed models, from which a final selection is made. Panels usually have three to five voting members, but others may act as technical advisors to the selection, offering their expert knowledge of planning, engineering, safety, site, or community issues.

Follow this link to download the Civic Commission Procedure in Adobe Acrobat format, 26KB

How does the private sector participate?

Private-sector rezonings greater than 160,000 sq. ft. contribute $.95 per buildable (FSR) foot to public art.

Public art consultants hired by the developer prepare a public art plan for review by the public art committee. The committee reviews the art sites, budget allocations, and artist selection procedures before passing its recommendations back to staff and the developer. The City does not generally collect private-sector public art funds, which are retained and expended by the developer.

Follow this link to download the Public Art Policies and Guidelines in Adobe Acrobat format, 100KB

Can citizens donate art work for public places?

Under specified conditions, yes. But separate public reviews-first by staff and second by independent selection panel-determine whether the donation is accepted. Rather than offer existing or preconceived work, donors are encouraged to collaborate with Parks or City staff to define an artist project that serves existing civic priorities. Such projects typically offer imaginative, high-profile opportunities for artists and their sponsors, and usually achieve broad public support and acceptance by elected officials more easily than over-the-transom proposals.

For these reasons, donations of existing or preconceived art work have, since the mid-1980s, more often been refused than accepted.

Follow this link to download the Guidelines for Accepting Gifts of Art Intended for Long-term Placement at Public Sites Under City Jurisdiction in Adobe Acrobat format, 30KB

Further details: [email protected]

Tel: 604-871-6434

Fax: 604-871-6005

E-mail: [email protected]


Office of Cultural Affairs
Community Services Group
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Y 1V4

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