Planning the Art Plan - Workshop #3

04 Dec 2019
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

On Tuesday, September 10, a group of professional artists and art business people gathered and discussed some initial components of a comprehensive Public Art Plan for the City of Vancouver.

Following is a summary of what we discussed, and after reading the summary, we invite you to give us some feedback!

Criteria for Acquiring Art for the Public Art Collection

The Culture, Art & Heritage Commission and its Public Art Committee must adhere to the criteria provided in the Public Art Scope of Collection. The following considerations are reviewed and evaluated by the Commission pertaining to all acquisition types.

1. Aesthetic Quality and Artistic Merit - What has the artist proposed to accomplish with the work and does it align with the project goals? Is the work of art appropriate for the community it serves? Is this original artwork?

2. Placement/Siting - What is the relationship of the work to the site? Is it appropriately scaled? Does the artwork have a connection with the surrounding community?

3. Fabrication, Handling and Installation - Are the projected costs accurate and realistic? Does a certain site present any special obstacles to installation?

4. Maintenance Requirements - Are the materials durable and will they last? Does the work have a limited lifespan due to built-in obsolescence or inherent weakness?

5. Liability and Safety. Proposed projects may require additional review by the City’s Risk and Traffic Safety Programs.

6. Ongoing Expenses - If the work of art requires significant and/or costly ongoing maintenance, the city may require the donor to include an endowment with the art - to provide ongoing funding of the required maintenance.

Criteria for Non-Acceptance of Public Art

The City of Vancouver cannot accept all works of art. Artwork that fails to meet professional standards for acceptable public art practice includes one or more of the following:

  • Faults of design or workmanship pose a public health or life safety hazard or diminish the value of the work
  • The maintenance and/or insurance cost of the art is determined to be too costly to include in the public art collection
  • The artwork is fraudulent, inauthentic or appears to be of inferior quality relative to the quality of other works in the City’s Art Collection
  • The artwork is not the original work of fine art. If the artwork is one of a multiple, it will be accepted only as an authorized limited edition. In the case of fine art prints and photographs, a limited edition is 200 or fewer
  • The artwork is not appropriate for the proposed site due to scale, material or subject matter
  • In the case of commissioned works, if the final work of art does not meet the criteria of the contract, the City is under no obligation to accept the art

Monuments & Memorials

The Culture, Arts & Heritage Commission may consider requests for monuments/memorials that are artwork. The Culture, Arts & Heritage Commission will work with any affected city departments on acceptance, approval, placement, siting and location of monuments/memorials. Donors typically pay the costs of design, manufacturing and installation. Simple memorial requests are referred to the appropriate city department.


The City of Vancouver’s policy is to not allow murals on city-owned facilities. Exceptions to this policy may be made by the City Manager. There is no City permitting process for murals on privately owned buildings; however, if text is included in the mural design, it may become subject to the City's signage ordinance. The City strongly encourages the artist or organization to have written approval of the mural design from the building owner before work begins.

Public Comment is now closed.

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The community engagement portion of this project has been completed.

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