Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: February 23, 1998

Author/Local: BN/6002

CC File No. 3130


Vancouver City Council


Director, Office of Cultural Affairs


1998 Public Art Allocations from 1997/99 Capital Plan


A.THAT Council approve up to $15,000 for a juried catalogue for artistswork, enabling the Engineering and other departments to select art works for smaller projects quickly and cost-effectively, source of funds to be the Public Art Unallocated Budget.

B.THAT Council provide the Director, Office of Cultural Affairs, with authority to approve maintenance allocations up to $5,000 from the Public Art Maintenance Reserve.


The General Manager of Community Services RECOMMENDS approval of A and B.


City Council adopted a Public Art Program for Civic and Private Development in 1990. The Program was revised in 1994.

City Council has approved $750,000 for public art in the 1997-1999 Capital Plan. On May 8, 19971, Council allocated $150,000 to Civic Public Art projects in 1997.

The Public Art Maintenance Reserve was established in June, 1994. At present, Council is required to approve all expenditures from the Reserve. A minimum of 10% of project budgets is placed in the Reserve, to provide for future repair and maintenance needs.


This report recommends two initiatives to streamline the civic public art process. City staff want to improve the efficiency of small-project artist selection by creating a juried catalogue of artist’s work for use by the Engineering and other departments, at an estimated cost of $15,000. Staff also seek authority to approve allocations up to $5,000 from the Public Art Maintenance Reserve.


The Public Art Program develops public art at civic capital works; at major new private developments; and, through the Community public Art Program, in residential neighbourhoods.

Since City Capital Plan funds were first provided in 1993, 15 public art processes, resulting in 22 art works, have been undertaken. Ten of these are now complete or near-complete. Since 1994, 39 Community Public Art projects have also been undertaken and 21 are now complete (funding for the last 12 projects was just approved on January 15, 1998).


A. Juried Catalogue

Public art is presently chosen by selection panels ("juries") consisting of artists and community members who review artist proposals made in response to advertised calls for submissions. This practice is standard in public art programs and supported by the local artist community.

The cost of an individual artist call and selection panel process is substantial, and cannot be justified for small projects. Consequently, and despite the Engineering Department’s wish to include art work in small infrastructure components, many good opportunities in small-budget projects now go unfulfilled.

King County in Washington State fulfils small commissions by selecting artists from a juried catalogue of artists’ work. Staff and the Public Art Committee recommend a similar catalogue to Council.

Every three years, King County artists submit examples of their art work to a jury of Engineers, artists, and citizens. This jury selects several artists working in wood, metal, stone, ceramic, etc., for inclusion in an inexpensive, illustrated catalogue. Staff then select pre-qualified artists from the catalogue to tender on opportunities too small to justify the expense of a separate open artist call and panel selection process.

The catalogue enables artists to be selected quickly and at little cost. Artists have equal opportunity to be considered for inclusion, and artists not selected in one year can be considered by different selection panels in subsequent years.

Engineering staff note that good, small artist opportunities now lapse because no quick, cost-effective, and fair means of selecting artists is in place. The juried catalogue addresses this problem at an estimated cost of $15,000, and staff recommend it to Council.

B. Public Art Maintenance

The Public Art Maintenance Reserve was established in 1994, and has a current balance of $40,625. Under its Terms of Reference, all expenditures must be approved by City Council, necessitating a Council report. Staff seek Council approval for the Director, Office of Cultural Affairs, to authorize maintenance expenditures up to $5,000. Larger expenditures would be reported to Council.

At present, staff have invoices for $200 to replace broken tile on the Commercial Drive Bridge over Grandview Cut, and $175 to restore pebble mosaics at Trout Lake. This work was performed quickly and efficiently. The original artists were consulted and are pleased with the result.

Current Unallocated Budgets

The current Unallocated Public Art Unallocated Budget is $108,000, If Council approves the above recommendations, the Unallocated Balance remaining will be $63,000. The Public Art Maintenance Reserve currently contains $40,625.

* * * * *

Comments or questions? You can send us email.
[City Homepage] [Get In Touch]

(c) 1997 City of Vancouver