Commissioning Public Art

Public art can be commissioned and funded in a variety of ways. In general terms public art is funded with public money. However, occasionally public art is privately commissioned. In Percent for Art projects, a percentage of a developmentā€™s overall budget is used to commission public artworks. There are three key roles in any public art commission - the commissioner, the creator and the manager.  

  • The client is the commissioner, sometimes known as the commissioning agent. This may be a State Government agency, a local government authority, a private developer or occasionally an architect. In Percent for Art Scheme projects, the commissioning agent may be a government department (such as the Department of Education, Department of Health etc.) and the client may be a school, hospital or prison.

  • The artist (or artist team) is the creator and is responsible for developing and producing the artwork. Most public art projects engage professional artists. A professional artist is someone who has an established track record as an artist creating and exhibiting original artworks and often holds a tertiary qualification in art. At times it may be appropriate to seek people outside of the above definition to carry out artwork commissions. This may apply in instances when young, local and/or emerging artists or students may be considered appropriate for a particular project.

  • The Art Coordinator manages and facilitates the commissioning process of the public art commission. 

  • There are many independent Art Coordinators, however, the former DCA and BMW use Art Coordinators from their appointed panel.