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Public Art

Through the Public Art Program, the Madison Arts Commission (MAC) facilitates and supports the work of artists to explore new ideas, foster dialog and celebrate civic life. Residents, civic events and values are remembered and acknowledged in our public art sites. MAC is committed to strengthening the integration of public art in Madison's ongoing city-building, while also stewarding historic works and commissioning sustainably designed new works. MAC is committed to expanding our public art program to achieve a more equitable geographic distribution of art throughout the City and ensuring a diversity of artists and art forms are represented in Madison’s visual landscape.

MAC builds the Madison Public Art Program through direct commissions for capital projects by way of the Percent for Art Ordinance and Capital Budget, and supports additional neighborhood based public art initiatives through the Art in Public Places Program (AIPP) and BLINK (temporary art projects).

Explore Madison's Public Art Collection

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Art in Public Places (AIPP)

AIPP funds permanent public art projects that are designed to last 10 or more years and cost $15,000 or more (including MAC funds). MAC leverages community funding and attention for major public art projects that have artistic merit and will make a positive, long-term impact on Madison.

Learn more about AIPP by exploring Grants & Opportunities.

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BLINK Temporary Public Art Commissions

BLINK commissions support experimental, ad-hoc, temporary works of public art that sprout up throughout the community and vanish, leaving residents and visitors eager to see what is next. Madison neighborhoods and urban areas are open canvases. The possibilities for creations in open spaces, construction sites, and public parks provide a glimpse of how the world looks through an artist's eyes.

Learn more about BLINK by exploring Grants & Opportunities.

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Percent for Arts Program

The Percent for Art ordinance, passed in October of 2017, officially created a mechanism to increase the rate of our investment in public art. Through the Percent for Art Program one percent of the city funds committed to any capital project exceeding $5,000,000 will be designated for public art. In 2020 Madison’s Percent for Art ordinance initiated its first project with the Metro Transit Maintenance Facility project on East Washington Avenue. Learn more about this and other public art projects below.
Metro Transit Public Art Project
MAC has selected four finalists for the Metro Transit Public Art Project. Each of the finalists has prepared an artist talk detailing past projects and their approach to public art. Members of the community are invited to review the artist talks at the links below and submit a feedback form prior to July 12, 2022 to share your thoughts at this stage of the review process.
Final proposals will be due from the artists by Thursday, August 25, 2022. Each finalist will present their proposal to the public at the Madison Arts Commission meeting on Wednesday, September 7, 2022. We anticipate MAC will make a project recommendation to the Common Council by the end of Fall 2022.

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Utility Box Program

The Madison Arts Commission intends for the Utility Box Program to highlight, encourage, and promote local artists by giving them exposure in the public realm. The project began in 2016, when MAC and the Downtown Coordinating Committee authorized a pilot to wrap four City owned utility boxes with artwork. Over twenty more boxes were wrapped in 2017/2018. Due to the positive public reaction, MAC has continued the program.  Currently, there are more than 60 wrapped boxes throughout the city.

Neighborhood demand for this program currently exceeds available resources. To help grow this popular program citywide, Friends of Madison Arts Commission has started a fundraising campaign. Wrapping of 14 more utility boxes has been funded so far.

Explore the Utility Box Collection or learn more about the program. 

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Selections from the Public Art Program

Last Updated: 07/19/2022