Starting a Public Art Project

When developing a public art project there are several issues for artists, community or arts organizations to consider: What is the art intended to accomplish? What qualities should the art embody? What are the available funds? Who is the likely constituency for this artwork?

Individual Artists

If you're an artist interested in developing public artworks, you have many sources for finding work. Check out city of Seattle calls for artists. For calls for artists outside of our office, check out the opportunities page.

Take a look at the public art resources additional resources for public art projects, including application tips. Also check out arts commission websites and mailing lists, websites listing opportunities for artists, and arts publications.


Communities that are interested in developing public art projects should investigate existing financial and partnership resources. Does your community have a formal arts commission or public art program that sponsors projects? Are there new, private developments or government-sponsored building projects planned in your community that could be enhanced by the inclusion of artworks?

Check out these resources:

  • City of Seattle calls for artists, check out our calls for artists. For calls for artists outside of our office, check out the opportunities page.
  • City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund
    The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program was created in 1988 to provide neighborhood groups with city resources for community-driven projects that enhance and strengthen their own neighborhoods.
  • Public Art Roadmap
    The Public Art Roadmap is an educational guide for Seattle neighborhood groups that wish to create or place public works of visual art.
  • Decorate Neighborhood Traffic Signal Control Boxes
    Adding art to traffic signal control boxes (signal boxes) showcases your neighborhood and business district's identity and can discourage graffiti. Signal boxes can be decorated with paint, decals and vinyl wraps. Artists can be commissioned, photos added, or maps installed.