Public Art Policy

Public Art Policy

The City of Tucson contracts the Arts Foundation to manage various aspects of their respective Public Art Programs, based on their governing policies.

Chris Rush, 17 Portraits, 2007. Photo courtesy of the artist


The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona is the Local Arts Agency of record for the City of Tucson. Since 1984, the Arts Foundation has fulfilled this role as the “the principal mechanism through which arts and cultural activities will be planned and carried out within the metropolitan area.” The City of Tucson contracts the Arts Foundation to manage various aspects of their respective Public Art Programs, based on their governing policies.


Percent for Art currently assigns one percent of capital improvement project budgets over $100,000 toward public art. The 1% for art program is by ordinance applied to selected City Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). These projects are generally funded by bonds. Water Department projects are not included with CIP projects. Street projects, such as widening, are included on a discretionary basis. Since 1986, more than 300 public art projects have been completed in metropolitan Tucson.

The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona Public Art personnel coordinate and support City and County project teams that oversee the production and installation of artwork in public facilities, transportation projects, neighborhood centers, parks and more. The following programs and services are administered by the Public Art team of the Arts Foundation.


The Arts Foundation manages the processes and record keeping for panel artist selection, design meetings, risk review, fabrication, maintenance protocol, installation, and artwork inventory for the Public Art Collection.


The Artist Roster is a standing list of pre-qualified artists that work in public art. It is an optional artist selection process available to City procurement for one-percent for art public art projects with budgets that do not exceed $50,000. The Arts Foundation manages the selection process for the Artist Roster and works directly with the Public Art and Community Design Committee and the Arts Foundation Board of Directors to ratify panel-vetted Roster Artists.


Privately funded projects on City of Tucson property
Arts Foundation oversee the Donations and Temporary Artwork processes for the City of Tucson. This process facilitates the donation of artwork into the collection and serves as the required steps and approval process for all donations and temporary artworks proposed on City property.

The City of Tucson will consider accepting donations of artwork into the City’s public art collection and will consider siting privately funded projects on public property. The City will also consider accepting temporary works of art for display in City-owned facilities or on City-owned property. Any and all public art that is accepted into the City’s public art collection or sited on public property outside the Selection Policy described in Section 7.01-4, regardless of funding source, shall follow this policy.

  • Donation Handbook and Guidelines – The Handbook and Guidelines reference the City of Tucson’s Administrative Directive #7.01-6, Public Art Gifts, Acquisition and Donations. The purpose of the administrative directive is to develop a protocol for donated and privately funded art projects on public property. The process for accepting donations, temporary works of art, and privately funded projects must adhere to the guidelines.


Arts Foundation manages the Deaccession and Relocation processes for the City of Tucson which addresses the removal or relocation of artworks within the City’s collection (City of Tucson AD 7.01-7). On rare occasions, circumstances warrant relocation or deaccession of a work of art in the City’s collection. Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (AFTSA), acting as manager of the City’s Public Art Program, shall follow a process for relocation or deaccession to ensure that the integrity of the artwork and the interests of the artists and the public are respected. Relocation and deaccession requests involve careful consideration of public opinion, professional judgement, and legal advice.


The interactive online map is a service of the Arts Foundation that documents all Public Artwork in the collections of the City of Tucson and Pima County. Explore our public art map to find art in your neighborhood and visit these works in person!


Serving on a Public Art Panel is one way that residents can represent their community at the intersection of Art, Culture, Design and Local Government. The role of the volunteer Public Art Panelist is to participate in and vote in the Public Art Artist Selection process.

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