11.2 / In/With/For the Public


By Art Practical Editors January 15, 2020

In/With/For the Public is supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing quality of life by championing and sustaining the arts, promoting early childhood literacy, and supporting research to cure chronic disease.



This is a list of resources for artists who are interested in working with the public or have a public practice and might not know where to start. There are funding and fellowship opportunities, exhibitions, education programs, permitting informa-tion, databases, and further information about public art. They are organized by region, expanding from the Bay Area to California to the United States. Descriptions of resources are drawn directly from the organizations’ websites.

This list was originally compiled by Courtney Fink as part of research for the Rainin Foundation’s Open Spaces Program, and been amended by Art Practical. It is not comprehensive, but is meant to serve as a starting point.

Bay Area

Center for Cultural Innovation

The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) was founded in 2001. Its mission is to promote knowledge sharing, networking, and financial independence for individuals in the arts by providing business training, grants, and incu-bating innovative projects that create new program knowledge, tools and practices for artists in the field, and conditions that contribute to realizing financial self determination.

Funding | Education Programs | Resources

City of Oakland: Public Art

The City of Oakland’s Public Art Program commissions original works of art for public spaces throughout Oakland. The program enriches the city’s visual environment, integrates the creative thinking of artists into public construction projects, and provides a means for citizens and visitors to enjoy and experience cultural diversity. Public Art projects are funded through a 1.5% allocation from all eligible City of Oakland capital improvement projects and eligible grant revenue.

Public Art | Permits | Resources | Exhibition

City of San Jose Public Art Program

The City of San José Public Art Program (SJPA) seeks to build community through artworks and exhibitions that define creative placemaking: expanding the community’s access and engagement to public space and impacting the economic and visual dynamics of the city.

Public Art | Exhibition

FOR-SITE Foundation

The FOR-SITE Foundation is dedicated to the idea that art can inspire fresh thinking and important dialogue about our natural and cultural environment. Through exhibitions, commissions, artist residencies, and education programs, we support the creation and presentation of innovative art about place.

Public Art | Exhibition | Education Programs

San Francisco Arts Commission

The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy.

Funding | Exhibition | Public Art

SF Better Streets

This website is provided by the City and County of San Francisco to assist San Franciscans to make street improvements in their neighborhoods, shopping districts, and workplaces. The site provides information on street improvement project types, the City’s permitting process, maintenance responsibilities, and applicable codes and guidelines.

Permits | Resources | Public Art

SF Community Challenge Grant Program

Since 1991, the Community Challenge Grant/Neighborhood Beautification Fund of the City and County of San Francisco has partnered with hundreds of community organizations to support community-led neighborhood improvements. The program provides public funding for community-led transformation efforts that enhance beauty, facilitate community participation and stewardship, and strengthen neighborhoods.

Public Art | Funding

San Francisco Planning: Privately-Owned Public Open Space and Public Art (POPOS)

Privately-Owned Public Open Space (POPOS) are publicly accessible spaces in forms of plazas, terraces, atriums, small parks, and even snippets which are provided and maintained by private developers. In San Francisco, POPOS mostly appear in the Downtown office district area. Prior to 1985, developers provided POPOS under three general circumstances: voluntarily, in exchange for a density bonus, or as a condition of approval. The 1985 Downtown Plan created the first systemic requirements for developers to provide publicly accessible open space as a part of projects in C-3 Districts. The goal was to “provide in the downtown quality open space in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors.”

Permits | Resources | Public Art

Studio for Public Spaces

The Studio for Public Spaces is based in the
Exploratorium, the innovative museum of science, art, and human perception. The Studio builds on the Exploratorium’s tradition of active, inquiry-based learning experiences, carrying this practice outdoors and into the public realm. Working in public spaces—from the urban core to the city edges—they create exhibits and environments that encourage play, exploration, creativity, and social connection.

Public Art | Blog | Exhibition



California Arts Council

Advancing California through the arts and creativity.

Funding | Resources | Blog

LA County Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program

The LA County Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program (Civic Art) provides leadership in the development of high quality civic spaces by integrating artists into the planning and design process at the earliest possible opportunity, encouraging innovative approaches to civic art, and providing access to artistic experiences of the highest caliber for the residents of LA County. Working with leading artists, emerging public artists, County departments, and communities, Civic Art creates artwork, design, public engagement activities, exhibitions, temporary art, and event-based programming for new and renovated facilities throughout LA County. Civic Art has also commissioned work for capital projects for public libraries, parks, pools, community centers, jails, and health centers.

Public Art | Blog | Resources

Los Angeles Nomadic Division

LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 committed to curating site-specific public art exhibitions in Los Angeles and beyond. LAND believes that all people deserve the opportunity to experience innovative contemporary art in their everyday existence, to enhance their quality of life and ways of thinking about their community. In turn, artists deserve the opportunity to realize projects in the public realm, unsupported through traditional institutions. LAND brings contemporary art out-side of the walls of museums and galleries, into our shared public spaces and unique sites, in Los Angeles and beyond.

Public Art | Exhibition

SPARC: Social and Public Art Resource Center

SPARC’s intent is to examine what we choose to memorialize through public art, to devise and innovate excellent art pieces; and ultimately, to provide empowerment through participatory processes to residents and communities ex-cluded from civic debate. SPARC’s works are never simply individually authored endeavors, but rather a collaboration between artists and communities, resulting in art which rises from within the community, rather than being imposed upon it.

Public Art | Exhibition | Resources



A Blade of Grass

ABOG provides resources to artists who demonstrate artistic excellence and serve as innovative conduits for social change. They evaluate the quality of work in this evolving field by fostering an inclusive, practical discourse about the aesthetics, function, ethics and meaning of socially engaged art that resonates within and outside the con-temporary art dialogue.

Fellowship | Publication

Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review Database

The Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review annually recognizes outstanding public art projects that represent the most compelling work for the year from across the country. Two or more public art professionals serve as jurors to review hundreds of project applications and select up to fifty projects to include. The PAN Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects and is an excellent advocacy and educational tool for those who are impacting their community through public art. Recognized projects are available in the Online Database, and information about past presentations can be found on the Annual Presentations page.

Public Art | Resources

ArtPlace America

ARTPLACE AMERICA is a collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions. ARTPLACE envisions a future of equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities in which everyone has a voice and agency in creating contextual, adaptive, and responsive solutions. Their mission is to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development.


Burning Man Arts

Through art grants, mentorship, and art management programs, Burning Man Arts supports the creation of impactful, interactive artwork around the world and in Black Rock City, home to the seminal Burning Man event. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the para-digm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

Funding | Public Art

Center for Artistic Activism

The Center for Artistic Activism is a place to explore, analyze, and strengthen connections between social activism and artistic practice. Artistic activism is more than just an innovative tactic, it is an entire approach: a perspective, a practice, a philosophy. Their goal is to make more creative activists and more effective artists.

Education Programs

Creative Capital

Creative Capital supports innovative and ad-venturous artists across the country through funding, counsel, gatherings, and career development services.


Creative Time

Founded in 1974, Creative Time commissions and presents public art projects internationally which are innovative, site-specific, and socially engaged often in vacant spaces of historical and architectural interest.

Public Art | Exhibition

Creative Work Fund

The Creative Work Fund invites artists and nonprofit organizations to create new art works through collaborations. It celebrates the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities. Artists are encouraged to collaborate with nonprofit organizations of all kinds.


Forecast Public Art

Forecast Public Art is a non-profit arts organization based in Minnesota that connects the energies and talents of artists with the needs and opportunities of communities, guiding partners in creating public art that expresses the community’s sense of place and pride. Offers funding for Minnesota-based artists.

Public Art | Funding | Resources

Fractured Atlas

Fractured Atlas empowers artists, arts organizations, and other cultural sector stakeholders by eliminating practical barriers to artistic expression, so as to foster a more agile and resilient cultural ecosystem.


More Art

More Art engages in a constant critical reflection on the role and boundaries of public art and socially engaged practice. Underlying every one of their projects is a profound desire to expand the traditional scope of public art beyond aesthetic considerations and into the social sphere. Amid the current debate over the realistic implications of the concept of “art as social practice,” More Art believes that to produce works that both challenge viewers and engage the community, while addressing important and contentious topics, often boils down to finding a balance between art and praxis. Offers fellowships for New York-based artists.

Public Art | Resources | Education Programs | Fellowship

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

All fifty states and the six US jurisdictions (American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands) have state arts agencies. Visit NASAA’s state arts agency directory to learn more about your own state arts agency.

State arts agencies increase public access to the arts and work to ensure that every community in America enjoys the cultural, civic, economic and educational benefits of a thriving arts sector.

Resources | Funding

National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works

Art Works is the National Endowment for the Arts’ principal grants program. Through project-based funding, they support public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation’s fifty states, the District of Columbia, and US territories.

Funding | Resources

New England Foundation for the Arts

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) works to cultivate and promote the arts in New England and beyond. Their programs support artists across many forms of expression and many geographies, connecting them with collaborators and communities, fueling creative exchange and public discourse, and strengthening the
creative economy.

Funding | Public Art

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)

NYFA provides the concrete resources that work-ing artists and emerging arts organizations need to thrive. It is a regional platform for an array of practical resources for working artists and emerging arts organizations. They provide fiscal sponsorship, grants, professional development programs, and listing of employment, organizational, and artist opportunities. Offers funding for New York-based artists.

Resources | Funding | Blog | Publication

No Longer Empty

No Longer Empty curates bold, site-responsive exhibitions in unconventional locations across New York City. They foreground art as a catalyst for community-led conversations about place, and commission diverse artists at all stages of their careers to expand their practices through site-specific works.

Public Art | Exhibition

Projects for Public Spaces

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Since its founding in 1975, PPS has completed projects in more than 3,000 communities in fourty-three countries and all fifty US states and are the premier center for best practices, information and resources on placemaking.

Public Art | Resources

Project Row Houses

Project Row Houses is a community platform that enriches lives through art with an emphasis on cultural identity and its impact on the urban landscape. We engage neighbors, artists, and enterprises in collective creative action to help materialize sustainable opportunities in marginalized communities. Offers fellowships for Houston-based artists.

Public Art | Fellowship | Exhibition

Public Art Archive

The Public Art Archive™ (PAA™) is a free, online and mobile database of completed public artworks worldwide. Launched in 2009, the growth of the PAA is made possible through a variety of initiatives. Through gathering the documentation about public artworks into one central repository, the PAA supports the standardization and the adoption of best practices in cataloging diverse public art collections.

Public Art | Resources

Public Art Dialogue

A membership-based organization devoted to public art. PAD was founded on the premise that dialogue is the essential element in all effective public art endeavors.

Public Art | Resources | Publication

Public Art Fund

Public Art Fund brings dynamic contemporary art to a broad audience in New York City by mounting ambitious free exhibitions of international scope and impact that offer the public powerful experiences with art and the urban environment.

Public Art | Exhibition

Rebuild Foundation

Rebuild Foundation is a platform for art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation. Their projects support artists and strengthen communities by providing free arts programming, creating new cultural amenities, and developing affordable housing, studio, and live-work space.

Public Art | Exhibition

Times Square Arts

Times Square Arts collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts.

Public Art | Exhibition

Comments ShowHide

Related Content