Public Art Program


Asheville’s Public Art Program aims to strengthen our city’s identity as a work of art.

Asheville’s identity is largely built on its wealth of memorable places, its rich cultural heritage, and the excellent arts, crafts and maker community that exists here today. The private and not for profit arts leaders- not to mention the artists themselves- in this community are leading the way; the City of Asheville’s role is to help the community have a high quality of life by increasing opportunities for arts and culture to be part of the public realm.


Most Recent Calls for Artists                                                                                              (update 11/13/2020: selection complete; announcement coming soon) CALL FOR ARTISTS  ISSUED 8/10/2020- ART IN TRANSIT ***

ART In Transit will pay three artists $500 each to refine sketch/concept proposals submitted to this call for 2D digital art; one of those finalists will be paid $5000 to develop that refined concept into artwork ready to be printed and installed at the downtown Asheville Transit Station. Click the link above for more info.


History of the Public Art Program

Starting in the 1970s, people began to notice that Asheville had very little public art compared to other cities around the country. As an outgrowth of the Streetscapes program, the Urban Trail Committee was formed in 1992 to develop a walking art trail highlighting historically important architecture, people and events within downtown Asheville. The Urban Trail became an Asheville treasure and helped show citizens what public art could do for our community. In November of 1998, a group of eighteen concerned citizens came together to form the Public Art Working Group. Many meetings and a great deal of research later, City Council adopted the City’s first Public Art Policy. A newly established Public Art Board started meeting in May of 2000.

 


Asheville Public Art Program Components

The primary components of the City of Asheville’s Public Art Program are the Public Art Master Plan, the Percent for Public Art Policy, the Public Art and Cultural Commission, the Public Art Collection, Public Art Program Administration, and Current Projects.


Public Art Master Plan

The Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) was completed in 2000 and re-adopted in November, 2008. Our community has changed significantly since this plan was created. The Public Art and Cultural Commission and the Strategic Development Office of the City will review this document in late fall 2020 in order to identify any needed changes. Updating the plan was the top priority of the Public Art and Cultural Commission as stated in their January 2020 retreat.

Public Art Master Plan

 


Public Art and Cultural Commission

The Public Art and Cultural Commission is responsible for promoting public art creation and public art maintenance in the public buildings and public spaces within Asheville, North Carolina.

The Public Art and Cultural Commission will reinstate meetings starting fall 2020. The PACC’s regularly scheduled meetings are the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Information on the next meeting and how to participate will be posted soon.


The Public Art Collection

As you explore Asheville, you’ll see a number of sculptures and other pieces of art: The “Energy Loop”, the Deco Gecko in Pritchard Park, the murals in the City Hall chambers, the bronze life-size sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. at MLK Park, and the more than 30 sculptures and plaques along the Urban Trail are all part of Asheville’s public art collection.

Information About the Urban Trail
Map of Urban Trail and Public Art Collection

The Public Art Collection inventory is currently being updated, with an intent to update the map


Public Art Administration

The City supports arts and culture initiatives as a strategy for wealth creation and the enhancement of place. The Strategic Design and Development Division administers the City of Asheville’s investments in public art and place-making, the promotion of the goals of the Public Art Master Plan, and oversight of the City’s Percent for Public Art policy. Across departments, we work with designers, producers, developers, businesses and artists to realize the public’s interest across the built and natural environment.


Current Projects

RAD Public Art icon

 

Pilot Program: Place Partners

Have an idea about a public artwork that our community would benefit from having installed temporarily? The City’s Public Art and Cultural Commission expressed support for City staff’s testing of a new pilot program in 2018. This program- aka Place Partners- provides a process for organizations to initiate temporary enhancements in city-managed spaces (sidewalks and streets) in the City’s commercial corridors. The Program is intended to enable temporary installations such as public art, amenities and other enhancements that contribute to the spirit and character of Asheville and align with City Council’s 2036 Vision. Find details here. 


Contact Information

Stephanie Monson Dahl
828-337-4111

 


Updated 08/04/2020


 

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