Salt Lake City’s Public Art Program

UnknownSalt Lake City’s public art program continually seeks new ways of integrating artwork, by both experienced and emerging artists, into everyday life in our urban surroundings. We support our local artists regularly by opening some opportunities to Utah artists only. We believe that through the experience the Utah artist gains from completing a project, from the application process to the installation, they build their portfolios. This allows them to compete more successfully for public art opportunities, not only again in Utah, but in other states as well. That said the importance of including artists from out-of-state is crucial in creating an attractive, vibrant, and diverse city and public art programs across the country support out-of-state artists for many of their projects for the same reasons. Our public art program forwards hundreds of national public art opportunities to Utah artists every year. We hope that many Utah artists will be selected to create artwork in other states to support their careers as well as promote our state’s artistic talent.

The public art program includes the following types of public art projects:

Site Specific Commissions

Artists are selected from submitted materials in response to Calls for Artists to design, fabricate and install artwork or artistic enhancements designed for specific locations. These site-specific works generally reflect the history, use, neighborhood or characteristics of the project site.  The projects are designed for and/or incorporated into new construction or existing public spaces or facilities.

Temporary Projects

Since 2006, four different series’ of pedestrian-scale sculptures, Flying Objects, installed in three locations on downtown streets, have presented 48 different sculptures, many of which were completed by artists new to the public art program. Through ongoing revitalization of downtown properties, exciting opportunities for temporary projects will include new media and changing displays. Through these temporary projects the program’s goal to help provide professional development opportunities for artists, particularly those who reside in Utah.

Design Team Projects

The public art program partners with other Salt Lake City Divisions, including Engineering, Parks & Open Lands, and Transportation to place artists on design teams. The artists will consult and collaborate with architects, landscape architects, planners, and engineers to work on construction projects such as bridges, park master plans, and sidewalk and streetscape improvements. These projects may result in art elements that are integrated into the infrastructure or as stand-alone artworks.

Ongoing Integrated Projects

In partnership with Salt Lake City Division of Engineering, the program is developing a plan, as standard practice, to integrate artist-designed elements into new construction or renovation projects. The first project of this kind includes placement of cast bronze medallions designed by local artists in sidewalk, crosswalk and/or street projects.

Pre-Qualified Public Artist Pool (POOL)

Citywide projects are developed throughout the year and sometimes do not work on a timeline that allows for a standard Call for Artists process to include an art component. Consequently, public art or artistic elements may be excluded from the project all together. The POOL allows the public art program an opportunity to select pre-qualified Utah artists through a fair, expedited process. This enables more Utah artists to participate in a public art project and build a stronger portfolio to, hopefully, compete more successfully for other projects advertised statewide and nationally. The purpose of this streamlined process is to commission more Utah artists for local projects and to integrate more artwork and artistic elements into citywide infrastructure while successfully meeting the project schedule.

For each project, the Design Board evaluates the POOL for the purpose of selecting the artist(s) from whom to request a proposal for the project. The specific requirements for each project will be the basis for selecting the artist(s) from POOL. A new RFQ is issued every two years for new artists to apply for the POOL.

Artwork featured in header: Untitled by Paul Heath, Linda Nowlin, Louise Fischman, Wayne Geary