Public Art Program

In April 2000, the City Council established the Portland Public Art Program to preserve, restore and enhance the city’s public art collection. The Portland Public Art Program commissions art that engages with the surrounding environment to create, enrich, or reveal a sense of place, and to express the spirit, values, visions and poetry of place that collectively define Portland.

Public Art Collection


The public art collection currently contains 56 works of art that are permanently installed throughout Portland. Several new works were added in 2004 and again in 2013 through 2015 with several gifts. The collection contains works of historical significance that date from the nineteenth century, as well as contemporary pieces that reflect the diversity and spirit of the city.

The Portland Public Art Committee administers the Portland Public Art Program. The responsibilities of the Art Committee are outlined in Article XI of the City Code (Public Art Program). The Art Committee utilizes the Guidelines for the Public Art Ordinance (Volume 1, Number 1 – adopted May 2001) for direction in administering their responsibilities.

Percent-for-Art


A key element of the Portland Public Art Program was the establishment of a percent-for-art ordinance. Under that ordinance, the city allocates ½ of 1% of the city’s annual Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget for the restoration or acquisition of permanent public art.

Information about the Portland Public Art Program can be obtained from Department of Planning and Development, City of Portland, 389 Congress Street, Portland, Maine 04101, by phone at 207-874-8430, by email, or by visiting the Public Art Committee website.


TEMPORARY ART


Information and application materials for temporary art can be found by going to this page.

Information for Artists

The public art program provides several opportunities for artists to engage.  Get more information below:

RECENT NEWS

Bramhall SQ

BRAMHALL SQUARE Call for Artists (update)

The Portland Public Art Committee is reviewing applicants for the open call for artists to submit qualifications for a new public artwork commission for the redesigned Bramhall Square park in Portland, Maine.  

For more information reference the RFQ document here.

Submission Deadline has passed.  Finalists will be notified at the beginning of September.


Bramhall Square Redesign - approved park concept

2017 Bramhall Square Community Design Competition - 10 entries (for reference only)

Bramhall RFQ - Q&A

1) What areas of Bramhall Square are eligible for artwork placement?  Refer to the diagram attached the RFQ - the area shown in pink (the redesigned park boundaries) are eligible area for artwork.  Artwork may not be considered within the sidewalks.

2) Where can the past competition entries be viewed?  The link on the Peloton Labs website is currently not functioning.  We hope to restore those presentations as a reference but this information is not necessary in order to submit to the RFQ.

CONGRESS SQUARE PUBLIC ART (OCTOBER 2020)

The artist Sarah Sze completed design development of the new commission, Shattered Sphere, which will be created as part of the Congress Square Redesign project. The work includes two sculptures that form a gateway into the park space. The spheres include a still image of the sky on the concave side and a reflective metal surface on the outer shell providing an interactive engagement with the concept of time and passing activity.

The project partners - City of Portland, Friends of Congress Square Park, and Portland Public Art Committee - hope to hold a public meeting in 2021 to present the most recent designs for the park and public artwork.

The project received funding to proceed with Phase I construction of the intersection in 2021. Also in 2021, Phase II and public artwork will go through construction document phase to complete the design.  For more information, visit the project page: https://www.portlandmaine.gov/1113/Congress-Square-Redesign

USM Roundabout View from Brighton

DEERING ROUNDABOUT PUBLIC ART (APRIL 2021)

The artist Mark Pettegrow was selected in 2019 for the new public art commission for the Deering Roundabout project. The first phase of the roundabout was completed in 2020 with phase two construction to begin spring 2021. The artist is currently fabricating the artwork which will also include lighting and landscape features.

The artwork, titled "Passing the Torch," includes three bronze flame sculptures mounted on Maine granite boulders within the center of the roundabout. Additional granite pieces will appear on the outer edge of the roundabout for seating within a new plaza space. The work will be installed summer 2021.