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Public Art in Calgary

Luminous Crossings
Luminous Crossings

Our public art program is committed to acquiring great public art that impacts Calgary’s urban landscape and transforms the way Calgarians see, think, and experience the city around them.

Funding for public art

New capital projects such as roadways, recreation centres or  LRT stations are approved by City Council and the public art funding comes from those budgets. For projects under $50 million, one per cent is set aside for public art; and half a percent on amounts over $50 million, to a maximum of $4 million.

Requirements, restrictions or legislation

City of Calgary procurement policies apply to public art and procedures are governed by legislation that relate to trade. Capital grants received from other levels of government may also have requirements and restrictions that limit how and where the funds can be used.

Process to deliver public artworks

Watch an animated video explaining the process.
  1. Start. The City develops the capital project plan and identifies the public art project goals and objectives, stakeholders, engagement strategies, administrative expenses, and the artwork budget. The project plan is shared with the Public Art Board.
  2. Artist hired. The City advertises the opportunity for artists to apply. For projects over $75,000 it is advertised via open competition. For projects under $75,000 The City will either issue a public call to artists (which can be limited in some way, e.g. local/national), or invite artists from our artist roster. A selection panel of seven citizens (three community members, three art professionals, and one City representative) chooses an artist. The City contracts the artist to do the project.
  3. Engagement. The artist conducts research and engagement. This includes learning about the location and history, attending public information sessions, consulting with the community and other subject matter experts.
  4. Concept. The artist uses the research to develop a concept which is reviewed by technical experts within The City. The concept and the technical feedback is presented to the same seven-member selection panel that chose the artist. The selection panel decides whether to accept, reject or ask for changes to the concept.
  5. Build. The fabrication and installation of the artwork must meet all regulations. The public artwork generates jobs in the Calgary area and The City provides mentorship opportunities for local artists to expand their public art experience. The artist’s fee is between 10-20 per cent of the artwork budget.
  6. Maintain. Ownership transfers from the artist to The City and it becomes part of our public art collection. The City is then responsible for maintaining and conserving the artwork for its lifetime.
Resources for further information 
Stay up to date on current information and updates about our public art program with our email bulletins.