Cultural Arts Policy: Art in Public Places

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Policy Statement 116

Art in Public Places 

Prepared by: Lyman Collins, Cultural Arts Manager

Supersedes: 1/1/1998

Effective: 5/26/2005 

Date adopted by Council: 5/26/2005 


The purpose of this policy is to create a sound public process for the acceptance of public art and development of public art projects.  Through a cooperative effort between the private and public sectors, the Town of Cary will enhance public places with diverse and high quality art work, thereby recognizing public art as a cultural resource, and a source of community pride.


This policy, upon adoption by the Town Council, shall be applicable to all objects of art accepted for permanent display for a period of more than 90 days in Town owned public areas. 


A.   The Town of Cary Public Art Advisory Board will review and comment on public art projects proposed or offered to the Town of Cary for placement on town property. The Committee will make recommendations to the Town Council through the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department.

B.   The responsibility of the board will be as follows:

1.   Ensure that an inventory of existing Town properties and facilities is completed and regularly updated for potential enhancements through visual art projects.

2.   Evaluate project priorities for the enhancement of Town properties and facilities.

3.   Review, comment on, and confer with a project initiator on 

a.   the concept or type of project, 

b.   circumstances and conditions relating to its acceptance, 

c.   its placement,

d.   the process used to implement the project, including how the selection of jurors and artists will be or was conducted.

4.   Document collection conditions and list and assess conservation and preservation needs of the existing public art collection.

5.   Review and make recommendations regarding the removal or relocation of artworks. 

C.   The board will use the following standards and criteria for judging and making recommendations for the acceptance of public art works:

1.   Relationship and appropriateness to the immediate location (architecturally, topographical and landscaping, scale, materials and other site specific limitations and physical attributes).

2.   Long-term durability and maintenance.

3.   Safety (conformance to structural and fabrication standards and applicable safety codes) and liability.

4.   Installation costs, site preparation costs, and insurance considerations.

5.   Local community standards, social factors and public response.

6.   Quality, aesthetic and design standards.

7.   Objectives of project.

8.   Accessibility and quantity of public contact with the artwork and site.

9.   Diversity in artwork types, styles and distribution.

10.  Public art project priority plan for locations and type of artwork.

D.   Art work installations on town property through this process will be owned and maintained by the Town unless otherwise approved by the Town Council. 

E.   The Town of Cary will make meaningful community outreach and public education a part of every public art project to ensure that the citizens have full notice about, and access to, the artworks accepted or created under this program. 

F.   Exceptions to the review process will be proposed gifts of artworks which are gifts of state presented to the Town by foreign governments or by other political jurisdictions which may be accepted by the Town Council or Town administration on behalf of the Town.   

G.   Artworks(s) or exhibitions loaned for display on Town-owned property for ninety (90) days or less shall not be subject to this review process.