Public Art Program


The Public Art Program aims to strengthen Asheville’s identity as a work of art and support the vibrancy of the creative sector that calls Asheville home.

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. We especially want to increase the levels of participation and representation from members of our BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, who are still underrepresented in our current public art collection, and in the past, have been underrepresented on our Public Art Board.


Current Projects 

UNC Asheville Partnership: French Broad River Art Competition and Exhibit

UNC Asheville is sponsoring a virtual art gallery and competition for community art submissions- all work must be inspired by the French Broad River. This is part of  a series of COVID safe events aimed at celebrating the past 10 years of investments made by the City, local businesses, artists, not for profits and others in the River Arts District. The Call for Artists is open to anyone in Asheville, and closes April 16. The City of Asheville’s Public Art Program is providing (3) $100 honorariums for the top submissions. Those winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2021, as part of the month- long RADTIP Grand Opening Celebration (more info on all activities will be posted here soon).

Visit this page for more information, and to view all of the artwork once submissions are collected!

 

 

Jake Rusher
Site plan for updates at Jake Rusher park in south Asheville

Playful Art for Jake Rusher Park

The City of Asheville is evaluating artist proposals to create a public art installation at the newly updated Jake Rusher Park in south Asheville. The project used a competitive Call for Artist process held through January 2021. This installation is intended to be played upon and should be playful and interactive as well as thoughtfully integrated into the site with respect to both new and existing site elements. An update on the chosen artist and the process for designing the piece will happen at the Public Art and Cultural Commission’s meeting in April or May. 


         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. Updating the plan is the top priority of the Public Art and Cultural Commission.

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.


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’s work includes advising on the City of Asheville’s investments in public art and place-making, promoting and implementing the goals of the Public Art Master Plan, and administering the City’s Percent for Public Art policy.  We work across departments and with designers, producers, developers, businesses and artists in the public to get the community the public spaces they need to thrive.


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 03/23/2021


 

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