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New direction for public art

New direction for public art

We are thrilled to announce that Calgary Arts Development was chosen as the future operator for Calgary’s public art program following a comprehensive citizen engagement, request for proposals (RFP) and selection panel process.

We are moving forward with plans to transition the public art program to an external organization. We’re committed to building a public art program that is reflective of Calgary's needs, accessible and improves quality of life every day.

We’ve hired a third-party consultant (Art + Public UnLtd) to help develop a process to find a suitable external organization with the right qualifications to manage the public art program.


Below are the activities we’ve completed so far and our estimated next steps (future dates are subject to change).

  • September 2019 - Council directed Administration to hire a third-party consultant to review the public art program - COMPLETE
  • November 2019 - Third-party consultant (Art + Public UnLtd) shared their findings publicly at Council - COMPLETE
  • November 2019 - Calgary Council approved the transition of Calgary’s Public Art Program to a third-party non-profit organization - COMPLETE
  • February 2020 - Consultant Art + Public UnLtd re-hired to research and lead process to transition program - COMPLETE
  • March-June 2020 - Engagement to develop elements included in RFP - COMPLETE (Learn about the public engagement and view the results)
    • Stakeholder interviews (March-May)
    • Community engagement sessions (March-June)
    • Digital survey (May-June)
  • Mid-September-October 2020 - Call for selection panel members - COMPLETE and CLOSED (Learn more about the selection panel)
  • September-December 2020 - RFP for interested external organizations - COMPLETE and CLOSED
  • January 2021 - Selection panel reviews and recommends successful bidder
  • February-April 2021 - Contract negotiations
  • April 2021 - Public announcement of successful external organization
  • May 2021 - Begin transition of public art program


Please email your questions or comments to​.

The future of public art in Calgary

We looked at other cities that have arms-length organizations successfully running their public art programs. Some examples include Edmonton Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council.

What will stay the same

  • Moving to an external organization will not change the current Public Art Policy.
  • The City will still maintain a corporate public art budget that dedicates one percent of capital project funds to making public art in Calgary.
  • The public art collection will continue to be owned by The City of Calgary and citizens.
  • The program remains accountable to national and international trade agreements, but will support our local creative economy and arts sector as much as possible.

What will change

  • Procurement and communications processes for new public art will be simplified to be more accessible and support a diversity of artists.
  • The external organization will run the operations of the program including community programming, calls for artists, community engagement and the procurement of new public art.

Public art is one of a number of service lines Council has asked Administration to move to an external service model. As an organization, The City already works in partnership with private organizations to deliver multiple services. Council and Administration are continually looking for the most effective ways to deliver services that meet Calgarians’ needs.​

History at Council

On September 30, 2019, Council directed Administration to hire a third-party consultant to review the public art program. They were tasked with examining options for the program to be managed by an external organization. Doing so will help:

On November 25, 2019, the consultant, Art + Public UnLtd, shared their findings publicly at Council.

On April 6, 2020 Council approved that Administration should proceed with next steps to move the public art program to an external organization. These steps include:

  • Engagement with the public and arts stakeholders on what they’d like to see in a future public art program (learn about the public engagement and view the results)
  • Developing a procurement process to select an external organization to operate the future program