Purpose statement

To facilitate the integration of artists and public art into the development of applicable Town of Oakville (town) public projects, and define overall roles and responsibilities within the public art program.


The Public Art Procedure shall:

  1. Create a process for acquiring public art that is accessible to all citizens by providing opportunities for participation that are fair and engaging;
  2. Define the Town of Oakville’s role and responsibility for the implementation of a public art program;
  3. Establish guidelines for a Public Art Working Group (“PAWG”) to oversee the application process and the implementation of a public art program;
  4. Ensure the town’s public art collection is effectively financed, sustained and supported with adequate resources;
  5. Encourage participation of and partnership with the private sector to provide for enhanced public art in publicly-accessible private spaces;
  6. Facilitate the integration of a public art program into the planning, design and execution of town projects;
  7. Provide for the conservation and ongoing maintenance of permanent pieces of public art.


Section A - Funding for the Public Art Program

The Public Art Program will be funded from a number of sources:

  • Public art reserve established by the town.  The amount to be determined by the town’s Budget Committee and reviewed every 5 years to determine the appropriateness of annual allocations.
  • Donations or grants from private sources,the community or other levels of government.
  • Designated allocations as part of a larger town capital project
  • Developers: either through a donation to the Public Art Reserve or through the direct financing of public artwork.  See below for details.

Monetary donations added to the Public Art Reserve will also be used to facilitate the establishment of community art initiatives that may not otherwise have sufficient funds.

Funding for private development projects

The town shall encourage private developers to donate a percentage of project costs to public art.

Eligible private developments projects include:

Private developer options

Developers who contribute to the public art program shall be responsible for selecting a public art option listed below.  Town staff shall advise and work with the developer to manage the public art project located on the developer’s property.

Option 1 – The developer contributes to the Public Art Reserve

In lieu of funding a public art project on-site, developers may choose to contribute one percent (1%) of the estimated project cost to the Town’s Public Art Reserve Fund.

Option 2 – The developer funds on-site public art

Developers may commission on-site public artwork(s) through a PAWG-assisted juried public art competition.  The developer may wish to retain a public art consultant to represent their interests and to work with the town to manage the public art project process.  The developer shall maintain ownership of the public artwork.

Option 3 – The developer funds and the town manages the public art process

In an effort to minimize administration costs, developers may prefer that the town manage their public art project.  Five percent (5%) of the public art project budget shall be retained by the town as a project management fee to cover administration costs for the public art selection process.  The developer shall maintain ownership of the public artwork.

Section B - Governance

Defining roles & responsibilities

The Recreation and Culture department shall:

  1. Develop and implement the Public Art Procedures in accordance with the Public Art Policy;
  2. Convene a Public Art Working Group (PAWG) to oversee the implementation of the Public Art Projects.
  3. Have final responsibility in the commission, purchase, and placement of public artworks in civic spaces.
  4. Develop a Public Art Master Plan identifying sites and opportunities for public art in collaboration with other town departments;
  5. Communicate opportunities for public art with local artists;
  6. Prepare and maintain a database of all public art in the town’s collection;
  7. Establish and implement a conservation and maintenance program;
  8. Lead a town inter-departmental team to coordinate and plan public art projects;
  9. Collaborate with other town departments to coordinate the roles and responsibilities of the artist and other professionals involved in the project;
  10. Develop project parameters, budgets and schedule for each project;
  11. Oversee selection of artist processes, contract negotiations, site planning and preparation, installation, insurance and maintenance of acquired public artworks.
  12. Facilitate public meetings related to the public art program, including site review when applicable.

The PAWG shall:

  1. Review and make recommendations at stages of the Public Art process to Recreation and Culture department staff (“Staff”) on all proposed Public Art projects, and ensure the application of established procedures and guidelines on a project-by project basis in consultation with appropriate municipal departments.
  2. Choose the appropriate method for selecting artists;
  3. Provide recommendations regarding public art components at potential public art sites.
  4. Advise Staff on communication to the community on public art.
  5. Advise Staff on proposed gifts, bequests, fundraising, and donations of artworks according to established policies and procedures within the Public Art Policy.

The Planning Services and Economic Development departments shall:

  1. Identify opportunities to include public art during the planning and development process.
  2. Work with the Recreation and Culture department in encouraging private developers to include public art into applicable projects;
  3. Ensure that the Public Art Policy and Procedure remains consistent with the Town’s Official Plan;
  4. Provide assistance in establishing the parameter of the public artwork in relation to the approved streetscape or planned design of the area.

Other town departments shall:

  1. Assist the Recreation and Culture department during the planning and installation of public art projects;
  2. Review selected submissions relative to safety and other considerations.

Section C – Selection

Jury selection and purpose

Using the established terms of reference, evaluation criteria and competition standards set out in this procedure, the PAWG shall manage juried art selection competitions and shall decide on the project proposal requirements for each competition.

Evaluation criteria for permanent public artworks

Selection criteria may be refined by the PAWG but shall comply with the following:

  1. The quality of the artwork:  The artwork shall demonstrate artistic excellence, imagination and innovation.
  2. Relevance to the town’s public art procedure and its overall goals and objectives:  The artwork should best meet the requirements outlined in the project proposal.
  3. Physical durability and ease of long-term maintenance:  The artwork shall demonstrate a high standard in terms of technical and structural execution. The artwork shall be compatible with conservation best practices and must be designed so that minimal regular maintenance is required.
  4. Public safety:  The artwork shall meet relevant building and safety standards.  The artwork shall not propose risk management issues.  All necessary placement materials, including pedestals, anchorages, drains, etc., shall be considered and must not detract from the artwork’s function or aesthetics.
  5. Costs:  The artwork shall be in compliance with submission requirements and budget allocations.  The artwork shall not represent a financial risk to the community.
  6. Appropriateness of location: The jury shall determine what constitutes the optimal site for an artwork based on the nature/intention of the artwork, the appropriateness to the location, the safety of the public relative to the artwork, the safety of the artwork, and its accessibility to the public.  Where departmental operations may be impacted, the relevant department(s) approval shall be obtained.
  7. Authenticity and provenance:  The artist or sponsor submitting the proposal shall be the original creator of the artwork. Copies, forgeries, or artworks that infringe on the copyrights of others shall not be accepted.
  8. Experience in delivering projects of a similar scope:  The artist or sponsor should submit a biography and examples of prior works for evaluation to demonstrate an ability to complete the project in a professional and timely manner.
  9. Evaluation criteria for temporary public artworks:  Criteria for temporary projects shall be determined on a project-by-project basis.

Managing controversy

The town shall recognize that although public artworks may occasionally cause controversy, challenging projects shall not be rejected based on political pressures or short-term fluctuations in artistic taste.  All public art proposals shall be selected based on the evaluation criteria of this Public Art Procedure.

Site selection

Prior to selecting a site for public art, the selection jury and the PAWG shall consider the following factors:

  1. Visibility and accessibility to the public;
  2. Proximity to high pedestrian activity areas such as transit stops, places of congregation, and public open spaces;
  3. Future development plans for the area;
  4. Landscape design and maintenance requirements for the site;
  5. Environmental impact;
  6. Relationship of proposed artwork to existing or future architectural features, natural features, and urban design.

On-site locations for public art projects may include walls, ceilings, floors, windows, staircases, entrances, exits, and rooftops.

In addition, locations for public art projects may include parks, plazas, roadways, bridges, historic places or landmarks, or places of special heritage or community significance.

Whenever appropriate, community consultations with surrounding residents and businesses that may be impacted by the proposed location of a public artwork shall be considered prior to final approval of the work.

Competition standards for permanent public artworks

The artist or sponsor shall be asked to submit to the PAWG prior to its consideration of the proposal:

  1. A brief statement of purpose from the artist;
  2. Drawings, photographs, and/or maquettes (models) of the proposed work with scale and materials indicated;
  3. A plan showing the work in relation to the proposed site;
  4. A visual projection of the work on the proposed site;
  5. A budget, with projected costs for the project;
  6. Funds committed to date, and proposed source(s) of funds;
  7. The artist’s resume, photographic examples of prior work;
  8. References related to prior public artwork projects.

Additional supporting material relevant to the proposal may be required and will be determined on a project-by-project basis.

Competition types

  1. Open competition:  The town may request submissions in a widely advertised open competition.  The selection jury shall review the submissions and determine an artist that best meets the proposal requirements. The jury may determine a short list of artists who shall be paid to further develop the proposals.
  2. Limited competition:  The town may request a “Call for Qualifications” where a selection jury narrows the entries to a short list of artists, based on their past experience.  The short listed artists are paid to develop a more detailed proposal with working drawings and maquettes (models) for the jury to review and determine a final selection.
  3. Direct artist commission:  The town may commission an artist to create a site-specific work or may purchase an existing work.

Compensation for artists

Artists shall be fairly compensated for their time and work.  For the purpose of proposal development, a minimum industry standard hourly rate shall apply. Compensation shall be determined on a case by case basis.


An artist and/or sponsor may submit a formal appeal within 30 days of the selection decision by way of a written request to the PAWG. Appeals shall not be accepted based on the grounds of the selection jury’s aesthetic evaluation of the work.

The PAWG may invite any individual whom it believes may contribute to the adjudication of the appeal, to appear before it.


Direct purchases of public artwork may be made in accordance with the town’s purchasing policy and Public Art procedure.

Gifts, donations, and bequests - Acceptance conditions

The town shall consider gifts of public art under the proviso that no public funds are required for the production, siting, and/or installation of the work, except when the town itself acts as a sponsor or co-sponsor.

A maintenance audit shall be conducted as part of the review of the proposal if, in the opinion of staff, the proposed donation is likely to incur high maintenance costs and require a larger contribution to the Maintenance Reserve.

Appraisal for tax receipts

All donated public artworks shall be professionally appraised by a certified appraiser at the time of donation to determine fair market value.

Conservation and maintenance

Public artworks approved by Council shall become part of the town's Corporate Art Collection.  The town shall be responsible for ensuring that the Corporate  Art Collection is maintained in good condition.

The allocation of resources for conservation and maintenance shall be guided by the principle that preventive maintenance shall receive priority over conservation treatment.

Public art registry

The town shall establish and maintain a registry of the Public Art Collection which shall be made available to the public.


Artwork acquired for the Corporate Art Collection shall become the property of the town except those artworks subject to the parameters for temporary public art as identified below.

Copyright of the artwork shall remain with the artist unless the town has acquired the copyright in full or has an agreement in writing for limited usage.

For direct purchases of artworks, the town shall negotiate with the artist to purchase full reproduction rights and the right to show, display or exhibit the artwork, including proposal drawings, maquettes (models), and other support materials.


Insurance coverage shall be provided to protect the corporate art collection against all risks of direct physical loss or damage, while in transit and at all town owned/leased locations, and while in storage or on display.

Temporary public art

The PAWG, in consultation with the Recreation and Culture department and with technical advice from the Town’s Conservator, shall determine the classification of the artwork.  Temporary public art shall not be registered into the Public Art Collection and shall not be part of the Public Art Conservation and Maintenance program.

A written agreement with the artist shall outline the terms of disposal after the specified exhibition time period.


Artwork may be considered for de-accession review under any of the following conditions:

  1. The site for the work has become inappropriate because it is no longer accessible to the public or the physical setting is to be altered or removed.
  2. Due to changes in a site or building, a suitable place for display no longer exists.
  3. The artwork:
  • has not stood the test of time and are deemed inappropriate
  • is beyond restoration or requires excessive or unreasonable maintenance
  • is a duplicate of another work owned by the town
  • is found to be a copy, forgery, or reproduction
  • is no longer relevant to the Public Art Program
  • represents a threat to public safety

An artwork may be de-accessioned provided that there are no legal or time restrictions against disposal of the artwork.

The Artist or his/her estate shall have the right of first refusal if an artwork is de-accessioned.

Artworks of significant monetary value, which have received approval for de-accessioning, may be disposed of by the following methods:

  1. A loan to other institutions
  2. A sale by auction or by other means
  3. The work may be given as credit against further purchase
  4. Destruction

Funds derived from any sale of de-accessioned artwork or from any possible insurance claims are to be placed in the Public Art Reserve Fund.

Information relating to artworks that are to be de-accessioned shall be made available to the public.


The Public Art procedure is to be administered by the Recreation and Culture Department.

The Recreation and Culture department, in coordination with the town, shall review the Public Art procedure every five years to ensure that it continues to reflect the current needs of the community.

 Public input may be solicited.


Public art:  Art that is acquired through a public process with the specific intention of being sited in the public realm.  Public Art may include but is not limited to sculptures, mosaics, banners, earthworks, or street furniture. In this policy, Public Art excludes plaques, mass-produced decorative elements created without an artist’s input, and museum or archival items that may be displayed in public spaces.

Corporate art collection:  A collection of objects of applied, decorative, and fine art representing a variety of media for which the town holds clear title as well as objects that are the property of others but are held by the town conditionally on permanent or long-term loan.  The town holds intellectual property rights on all original and commissioned artworks in the Collection.  Corporate art collection pieces are displayed within town buildings and includes works in the Public Art collection.

Temporary public art:  Public art that is recognized as having a limited lifespan due it its fabrication, material, or site location.

Public places: town buildings and grounds including parks, open spaces, squares, roadways, streets, bridges, as well as the interior and exterior of publicly owned buildings.  Public places may also include buildings and grounds that are privately owned but accessible to and frequented by the general public.





Corporate Art Procedure Cultural Plan (2016 – 2021)