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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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Austen Brantley Residency & Public Sculpture Project

The Madison Arts Commission (MAC) partnered with Madison College to bring Detroit-based figurative sculptor Austen Brantley to Madison for a short residency in June, 2023 and have asked him to develop a design for a public art project for the community.

Austen Brantley is a self-taught figurative sculptor who is recognized for his work that interweaves the themes of heritage, identity, and realistic portrayals of Black lives. Learn more about Austen Brantley & see his work here.

The potential for this project was identified in the 2017 Darbo-Worthington-Starkweather Neighborhood Plan, which called for the City to consider making a public art/gateway feature to the DWS neighborhood, as a means of building up neighborhood pride and empowerment. Darbo is a culturally rich and diverse community neighborhood that includes on Madison's near east side. 
We will invite the community to complete ashropt survey to provide feedback on the proposed designs in late summer, 2023. We anticipate the project will be installed in late spring, 2024.

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South Pinckney Street Median Public Sculpture Project

The Madison Arts Commission (MAC) has selected Minnesota-based metal artist Sunghee Min to create a pair of sculptures in a new median in the 200 block of S Pinckney Street. Min’s works Greeting Arc I & Greeting Arc II will flank the crosswalk leading across the median between the current NoVo Apartment complex and the soon-to-be constructed hotel on the north side of Pinckney. The median will be completed in Fall, 2023.


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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.
Villager on Park Parking Structure
MAC is seeking comments on draft design concepts for public art installations at the planned Villager on Park parking structureShare your thoughts.
Metro Transit Public Art Project
MAC recommended artist Jenie Gao and her Proposal THE TIME IS OURS as their first choice for the Metro Transit Public Art.  Learn more about her proposal in this Artist Presentation.  Additional updates will be shared here as they become available. 

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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. The 2023 call is now closed. 

The Utility boxes chosen for this program require between approximately 42-62 square feet of coverage depending upon box size and configuration. 42 sqft boxes are approximately 36” W x18” D x 48” H. 62 sqft boxes are approximately 44” W x 26” D x 54” H. Sketch-up files of the 42 sqft box (pictured here and here) are available to artists if they contact

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: 08/08/2023


Madison Arts Commission
Madison Municipal Building
Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 017 
P.O. Box 2985
Madison, WI 53701-2985

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