Public Art Master Plan community meeting tonight!

You know when a thing happens and everyone’s like “WELL, NOBODY ASKED ME!” This is one of those opportunities for you to be asked and have your answer be heard re: public art in our city!

Photo by: Ron Cogswell

Tonight, the City’s Public Art Commission begins reaching out with its paint-spattered tentacles to grab ideas from the community. Only, like, a lot more pleasant and open than that sounds (we hope)!

The Commission is creating a Master Plan for all the City-owned works of art that are free and accessible to City residents. Think murals, statues, and the like. Looking at their agenda for last week’s commission meeting (PDF), you can see that they go over the status of existing projects and discuss funding and whatnot. You can also see that paying attention to the Public Art Commission might give you cool-kid preview of what we’re going to get.1

If you can’t make it to the meeting–actually, even if you can–consider taking this brief survey beforehand, which will give the PAC some useful info.

Who’s on this commission!?

Great question that you may or may not be asking!


It’s not your average government employee (no offense to them). It’s beloved Richmond artists, architects, citizens, and more!

Where does the money for all this art come from?

The City runs a “Percent-for-Art” program, which is the norm in a slew of different cities and municipalities. It means that for every construction/renovation project done by the City over a $250,000, 1% of that amount will be put into the public art budget.

From there, a project is lifted off the “nice to have” list and put in the “this could actually be a thing” list. “Appropriate projects are ones that provide public services and accessibility, such as firehouses, police precincts, courthouses and detention centers, hospitals, clinics, passenger terminals, parks, and recreation centers,” says their site.

What’s missing from their explanation of the rest of their process (which involves a site selection team and a call-to-artists followed by an application review) is how they even come up with the sites and the projects. Wait a second, that’s something you can ask at the meeting!

Where are the existing public art projects?

This map is not only cute, it is handy–which are two things we’d like everything to be, really.

public art commission map

More on Public Art as it unfolds. In the meantime, check out the meeting tonight at the Science Museum of Virginia from 5:30 – 7:30 PM at 2500 W. Broad Street. These are your chances to be part of that community feedback process! If you’re not convinced that it’ll be impactful, read about how Nicholas Smith got involved with public transit community outreach stuff and sees change happen because of it all the time.

  1. If you’re thinking, “Ohhhh all the cool murals, such as the ones that involve two turtles hanging out in a stack,” you’re actually not on the right track. The murals that pop up like beautiful wildflowers are all funded by a different project. 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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