Public Art Committee

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.


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 207-874-8901, by email, or by visiting the Public Art Committee website.

Recent News

USM Roundabout - Public Meeting + Vision Statement(March 21, 2019)


The artwork selection committee for the USM Roundabout public art will hold a public meeting.  The meeting will include a presentation of the committee goals for the new artwork, examples of the kinds of artwork being considered, and an opportunity for questions and feedback from the community.  Free and open to the public - public comment will be taken.  Hosted by the USM Public Artwork Selection Committee - a subcommittee of the Portland Public Art Committee.

Thursday, March 21
5:30 - 7:00p
Abromson Community Education Center, Room 213, 88 Bedford Street

Vision Statement and Goals for the Artwork
The USM Roundabout artwork will be a significant addition to the Oakdale neighborhood, University of Southern Maine and University of Maine Law School Portland campuses, and greater Portland community.  The site is surrounded by many interconnecting neighborhoods inhabited by students and residents with a diversity of race, age, culture, education, and socio-economic backgrounds.  The artwork potentially highlights this location as a gateway to Portland and the importance of the location as a site of learning both historically and currently.  The proposal can be thematic or decorative to highlight a neighborhood that is forward-thinking while having an appreciation for its historic landmarks - consider the artwork a new landmark.  The work must be of a height and mass appropriate to the location in a way that commands the space and creates a noticeable presence.  The selected work should create a profile visible via sightlines down streets that feed into the roundabout.  This profile should be visually interesting while not distracting to drivers in cars but it should also be engaging to pedestrians.  The artwork will be constructed of durable materials and of a design that considers all seasons and times of day.



The Portland Public Art Committee has formed a subcommittee to select an artist/artwork for the proposed new roundabout to be constructed on Brighton Avenue near the USM campus.  This committee will meet five times to determine the goals of the project and make a recommendation of artist and budget.  A specific community engagement meeting is also planned for March to gather neighborhood and stakeholder feedback. Meetings are open to public observation.  Meeting 1 will be held Thursday, January 10th @2:00pm in Room 109/110, Abromson Community Education Center, 88 Bedford Street).  Free and open to the public.  For details, visit the City of Portland calendar:
USM Rounabout Project page:



The Portland Public Art Committee and Friends of Woodfords Corner announce the public "tree lighting" ceremony for Luminous Arbor, new artwork by local artist Aaron T Stephan in Woodfords Corner. Join us Third Thursday, November 15th @5:30pm in Woodfords Corner plaza with reception to follow in Odd Fellows Hall.  Free and open to all.  For details, visit the City of Portland calendar:

luminous arbor installed at woodfords corner (october 22, 2018)


The City of Portland and the Portland Public Art Committee announce the installation of the new public artwork, Luminous Arbor, by local artist Aaron T Stephan in Woodfords Corner. The Portland Public Art Committee commissioned the lighted sculpture to enrich the streetscape as a placemaking element of the emerging neighborhood node and busy corridor.  A public "tree lighting" ceremony is planned for the Third Thursday in Woodfords Corner on Thursday, November 15th.  For details, visit the City of Portland calendar:

From the artist’s description of the artwork:

In its simplest interpretation, Luminous Arbor is a light fixture.  It is composed of a cluster of streetlights in keeping with familiar public lighting features.  Here, however, the lights come to life.  Rising from a single foundation, the light poles gradually diverge into individual intertwining paths . . . suggesting a tree, a swarm, or a choreographed dance . . . In this way Luminous Arbor will both illuminate and create a visual anchor at Woodfords Corner and the surrounding communities.

Public art notecards now available for purchase

$12 for 12 cards/envelopes featuring the photographs of the public art collection by Corey Templeton.
Available at City of Portland Planning Office (4th floor of City Hall) and at the Maine Historical Society store.

August 8, 2016 - Congress Square Public Art Forum - Video now posted here


Congress Square Public Art Finalists Announced (June 17, 2016)

The Portland Public Art Committee is pleased to announce that four artists have been selected as finalists for the Congress Square Public Art Commission. The artists will be invited to Portland for interviews with the selection committee, a site visit, and a public presentation on August 8th. The selected artist’s work will include developing a concept for public art to be sited in Congress Square in collaboration with WRT, the design team selected last month, who will create a concept for Congress Square as a whole.
The four artist finalists are (in alphabetical order):
Ned Kahn (Sebastopol, CA)
Patrick Marold (Denver, CO)
Matthew Ritchie (New York City, NY)
Sarah Sze (New York City, NY)