Boston Art Commission

Mosaics in Tadpole Playground (2003)
Mark Cooper with children from Citizen's Elementary School
Back Bay, in Boston Common

The Boston Art Commission, established in 1890, exercises legal authority to approve and site new public art on property owned by the City of Boston. Woven through the urban landscape, site-specific artworks identify Boston as a place with long history and a great capacity for innovation. These artworks, both permanent and temporary, range from traditional and new media public art pieces to municipal design elements, such as wayfinding systems and artistic lighting. In addition, the Art Commission has care and custody of all paintings, murals, statues, bas-reliefs, sculptures, monuments, fountains, arches and other permanent structures intended for ornament or commemoration on City property. It is the conviction of the Boston Art Commission that, in order to engender and support a thriving artistic consciousness within the city, community involvement shall extend beyond everyday appreciation to meaningful engagement in the creation, evolving interpretation and ongoing care of artworks throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.

The Art Commission is appointed by the Mayor and consists of five Boston residents, each nominated by a Boston cultural institution. Art Commission meetings are held on the first Tuesday afternoon of each month.

The Role of the Boston Art Commission

  • Advise the community group or agency initiating a public art project (the proponent) on issues concerning the site, selection of a professional artist and commission of a public artwork.
  • Guide and monitor the design development process through reviews at various stages to ensure artistic and design quality, integration with the site and relevance to the community.
  • Approve the final design prior to fabrication.
  • Approve the final artwork, installation procedures, and maintenance plan prior to installation.
  • Serve as an advisor to the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, a City trust that supports public amenities.
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5-2 ART COMMISSION                                                                           


Public Art Guidelines

If you are interested in bringing public art to your community, please download the guidelines below to get started: