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The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs has 260 works of art in the current collection as of the beginning of 2015. The collection is comprised of commissions, donations and heritage works completed prior to the Percent for Art Program in Dallas initiated in 1989. Public Art can be found in every corner of the city with concentrations in the downtown, at Fair Park and at Love Field airport.

The Public Art Program manages the commission and acquisition of new public art as well as the conservation and maintenance of the existing City of Dallas art collection. Works of public art, many created by local and regional artists, enliven parks, libraries, fire stations, recreation centers and many more public locations in Dallas. While many of the artists in the public art collection are from Texas, many are also from around the world. The Public Art Program makes Dallas a vibrant place to live and work and a great place to visit.

There are three groups of artists who participate in public art.

Emerging Artists: Artists who have little or no experience with public art who are a part of the Pre-Qualified List for City of Dallas Public art will have opportunities to win commissions of up to $50,000 for the City of Dallas.

Experienced Artists: Artists who have previous public art experience and who reside in the state of Texas will be reviewed to be on the Pre-Qualified List of Experienced Artists for the City of Dallas Public Art in the summer of 2015. Artists in this group will have opportunities to win commissions larger than $50,000 up to $100,000.

Open Call for Artists: Commissions larger than $100,000 will be issued as an Open Call to all artists from around the world. Specific guidelines and requirements for each commission will be published with the Request for Qualifications. Open call commissions will be published on www.callforentries.org.

The Public Art Handbook is available for download to emerging artists interested in pursuing public art opportunities with the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program.

What is public art?
Public Art describes artworks commissioned public spaces to engage people as a part of their daily life. In Dallas you can find Public Art in many places; libraries, parks, along streets and in public buildings. Public art can celebrate community, enliven the everyday environment, draw attention to places or ideas, or commemorate events. Located in public place, it is there for everyone to experience.

What are the benefits of Public Art? Public art celebrates our public history, ever changing culture and informs civic memory. Artworks reflect their place and time, revealing elements of our society for public consideration.

Given the diversity of our city, there will be a variety of opinions about each work of public art, however the process by which public art is commissioned engages members of the community to provide input and engage in conversations about what is meaningful and valuable about their communities.

Every work of public art commissioned by the City of Dallas has been engaged an interactive process that involves community members, artists, architects, design professionals, civic leaders, politicians, funding agencies, fabrication and installation professionals. A city with public art values and invests in its diversity, identity, and future.

How does Public Art happen?
The City of Dallas has a percent for art ordinance. When the City issues bonds to fund capital improvements up to 1.5% of eligible capital improvement project costs are committed to the commission works of art for locations at or near the capital improvement site.

A call for artists is issued through the Office of Cultural Affairs and a selection panel is assembled to review the submitted artist proposals. The panel is comprised of representatives from the neighborhood in which the artwork will be located, artists or design professionals, the project architect or engineer, the City of Dallas project manager and Public Art department staff. After a review of eligible artist candidates, the panel forwards recommendations for review to the Public Art Committee. Public Art Committee members, who are arts professionals, artists, architects or engineers, review the selection panel suggestion and forward their recommendation to the Cultural Affairs Commission. The Cultural Affairs Commission members review the recommendation.

If recommended for approval, projects larger than $50,000 are forwarded to the City Council for review and approval. For projects costing less than $50,000, the Cultural Affairs Commission recommends approval or rejection of the proposal. Public Art staff works with the artists, City of Dallas Project Managers, and additional Client Project Managers (where applicable) through the design, installation, completion and dedication of the project.

Donations, Gifts, and Loans
When a donor makes a gift, donation or loan to the City of Dallas for the purpose of commissioning a work of art, the selection process remains the same as for the Percent for Art projects as described above. The work is reviewed by the Public Art Committee for appropriateness and maintainability and a recommendation is forwarded to the Cultural Affairs Commission for approval or rejection.

What are the Criteria for Artist Selection?
When reviewing the artists' submissions for a Public Art Project the following criteria are considered:

  • Quality of design
  • Appropriateness for location
  • Durability
  • Ease of Maintenance
  • Safety
  • Diversity
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