Public Art

What is public art?

Public art uses art and artistry to create or define a sense of place by incorporating original works of art by visual artists into public spaces. It involves the public from artist selection to dedication and is often integrated into the work of other design professionals, such as architects or landscape architects.

In September 2019 the Arts Council launched a comprehensive public art database for Columbus and the state of Ohio. Read the official release here:  Greater Columbus Arts Council Creates Citywide, Statewide Public Art Database.

You can access the Columbus database at ColumbusMakesArt.com/public-art and the statewide site at ArtsinOhio.com/public-art.

Why is public art important?

It enhances the city’s quality of life by:

  • Making the places where we live, work and play more welcoming and beautiful.
  • Creating a deeper interaction between the community and its environment.
  • Adding dimension to civic spaces.
  • Increasing the community’s assets by creating images that help define a space.
  • Allowing the community to express its identity and values.
  • Demonstrating pride in corporate citizenship.
  • Affirming the educational environment.
  • Enhancing roadsides, pedestrian corridors and community gateways.
  • Beautifying the transportation systems.
  • Helping green space thrive.

Other innovative partnerships to help people explore public art exist in Columbus as well.  One of those is the Columbus Art Walks project organized by the Columbus Health Department and supported by the Arts Council. Art Walks currently features 12 maps of different neighborhoods including the Arena Distric, Brewery District, Capitol Square, Clintonville, Discovery District, Franklinton, German Village, Highland West, Merion Village, Near East, Rivers South, Short North and University District.  Visit the Art Walks Web site for more information and printable maps.

Information about the Columbus Art Commission

The Columbus Art Commission (CAC) was established by Columbus City Code: Chapter 3115. CAC members serve without compensation and are appointed by the mayor with the approval of council. The primary role of the CAC is to approve all art purchased, commissioned, or accepted as a gift by the City, as well as all art proposed for placement anywhere within the Public Right of Way or on property owned or leased by the City. CAC approval is also necessary before any art subject to their approval can be in any way altered or removed. You can find helpful information and application forms at columbus.gov/planning/artcommission/