Public art policy and procedures

Guelph’s Public Art Policy establishes a standardized and transparent process through which the City acquires public art for municipally-owned public space through purchase, commission or donation.

The management of public art involves multiple participants, including community representatives through the Public Art Advisory Committee, external experts and City staff. This Policy defines these roles and decision making processes.

Time Line/Water Line, 2001

Time Line/Water Line, 2001 – John McEwen, located in John Galt Park

Read the full Public Art Policy


The process for soliciting proposals for public art should:

  • Attract artists from a variety of artistic disciplines
  • Be meaningful, fair and equitable
  • Encourage opportunities for learning, participation, and experimentation in arts and culture
  • Incorporate and integrate public art into the planning, design and execution of selected civic development projects.

Proposals for public art may be solicited through:

  • Open competition
  • Invited competition
  • Direct award


As outlined in the City’s Public Art Policy, all offers of gifts, donations and bequests of artwork are reviewed by the Public Art Advisory Committee prior to any acquisition, designation or installation.

City of Guelph Public Art Donation Proposal Form

Selection process

Public art is selected on merit through a process informed by expertise and community input through the Public Art Advisory Committee. Selection may also employ a jurying process coordinated by the Committee. Artwork will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of work
  • Condition of work
  • Monetary and/or appraised value
  • Artist’s reputation
  • Suitability of the artwork for display in public space
  • Potential duplication of other public art
  • Relevance to the City’s natural and built environment, cultural heritage, and/or history
  • Authenticity of the artwork
  • Ethical and legal considerations regarding ownership

Temporary art

The City may temporarily accept or agree to the display of works of art in public spaces (defined as municipally-owned property) by individual artists or organizations. As the first step in the City’s process for managing and approving temporary art, all requestors must fill out a Temporary Artwork Display Application. Proposals for temporary art will be reviewed by the City’s Public Art Review Team. Consideration will be given to safety and durability of the artwork, and its suitability to the site. The artist and/or sponsoring organization will be responsible for funding, installation, maintenance, timely removal of the artwork, and restoration of the site.

As the first step of The City of Guelph’s process for managing and approving temporary art, all requestors must fill out a Temporary Artwork Display Application.

For more information

Contact [email protected].