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, first assembled in 1890, advocates for creative place-making through the integration of public art into Boston’s civic spaces. From siting and funding temporary art on City property to reviewing and approving proposals for permanent public art, the Art Commission actively fosters community engagement in Boston’s cultural landscape. With a board of nine dedicated, Boston-based arts professionals appointed by the Mayor, the Art Commission also has custody of all permanent artworks sited on public 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.

Boston Art Commission meetings are held on the second 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.

Mission Statement of the Boston Art Commission

First assembled in 1890, the Boston Art Commission advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston’s diverse citizens and visitors. The Art Commission advises, supports, and consults with artists and communities, City departments, and others. It commissions, approves, and conserves the City of Boston’s collection of art and historical artifacts.

  • Advises through public forums, support and consult with artists and communities, City departments, and others
  • Commissions artworks that excite, challenge, and inspire
  • Approves proposals for Art on City Boston property that meet the Commission’s Criteria for Excellence
  • Conserves the City of Boston’s collection of Art and historical artifacts

Criteria for Excellence 

The Boston Art Commission will promote innovative and transformative artworks that: 

  • Engage the community
  • Enrich/ enliven the urban environment
  • Are driven by a clear artistic vision
  • Enhance the diversity of the existing collection
  • Respond directly to their specific environment
  • And whose durability is appropriate to the lifespan of the work

In This Section:


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: