ART01 Art in Public Places

Project Details:

Project Start Date: 1/1/22

Ongoing Program: Yes

Submitting Department: CPED

Contact Person: Mary Altman, Public Arts Administrator

Level of Need: Significant

Estimated Project Completion Date: 12/31/22

Department Priority: 1 of 1

Contact Phone Number: 612-673-3006


Project Location:

Address: City-wide

City Sector: City-wide

Affected Neighborhoods: TBD

Affected Wards: All

Locations will be determined through the 2021 selection process. See the map below for the locations of current projects.

Map of public art projects in the City

Project Description

For nearly 40 years, the City of Minneapolis has enriched the lives of citizens and visitors by integrating public art into city planning, services, design and infrastructure by funding new commissions through the Art in Public Places Program with an annual allocation from the capital budget. Public artworks contribute to the livability and vibrancy of public places in the Minneapolis. They build pride in community and cultural identity, while inspiring discussion about issues affecting quality of life and the future of the City. The process of developing public artworks builds the capacity of artists and community members to shape City spaces and neighborhoods.

In addition to new Commissions, the City’s Public Art Program includes:

  • A comprehensive maintenance and conservation effort;
  • Support to communities through a technical assistance and permitting program for proposed projects on City property and in the Right of Way;
  • Partnerships and assistance to other government entities, such as MNDOT and Hennepin County; and
  • Updates to the City’s comprehensive public art policies.

Proposals for new public art sites supported through Art in Public Places are selected annually from the projects in City’s Capital Improvement Programs of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Public Works, the Municipal Building Commission and Property Services. The City’s Public Art Advisory Panel and the Minneapolis Arts Commission select projects based on the Public Art Values and Goals and the adopted criteria for public art site selection. In 2020, the Public Art Program launched a special two-year effort for considering sites and engaging communities in the process—the 2021 Project.

The 2021 Project pairs 4 selected artists with the government groups listed above to dig into their capital budget requests, gather city-wide community input about public art priorities, and identify possible sites. They will bring them forward for consideration for public art support in September.

A key focus of Art in Public Places is community engagement throughout the process of planning each public art project. This engagement is tailored to the needs of community, and may mean involving residents in project planning, reviewing draft design concepts, creating aspects of artworks in community workshops, and/or by developing interactive works that people can experience in new ways each time they visit the site.

During the pandemic artists and project managers have had to be particularly creative about engagement. For example, the artists creating artwork for Samatar Crossing (Ifrah Mansour, Randy Walker and Aaron Marx) posted lawn signs along the Crossing stating: “Chat with an artist, get a gift.” As a result, these artists have been doing on-line interviews with individuals as well as representatives from 15 businesses and organizations in the area.

Purpose and Justification

The goals and intended outcomes of the Art in Public Places are to:

  • Stimulate Excellence in Community Design: Public art improves the City’s appearance and stimulates innovation and high-quality design.
  • Value Artists and Artistic Process: Public art commissions create opportunities for artists to express their vision for the community and earn a livelihood as artists.
  • Enhance Community Identity: Public art inspires discussion about issues affecting quality of life and builds pride in community and cultural identity.
  • Contribute to Community Vitality: Public artworks contribute to livability and vibrancy of public places and attract visitors.
  • Involve a Broad Range of People and Communities: The process of developing public artworks builds the capacity of a diverse range of artists, community organizations and leaders by involving them in the design and development of public spaces.
  • Uses Resources Wisely: Well-maintained and well-designed public artworks add to the value of City infrastructure and provide opportunities for private investment in the community.

New murals in the Public Services Building on conference room glass

New murals in the Public Service Building. Top-Kao Lee Thao, bottom left-Marlena Myles, bottom right-Witt Siasoco.

Project Cost Breakdown

Department Revenue Request


Have Grants for this Project been secured?


Describe status and timing details of secured or applied for grants or other non-City funding sources:

Unknown at this point as 2022 to 2027 projects are not yet selected and additional fundraising is project-specific. On average, the City’s NDB allocation to Art in Public Places projects leverages more than a 25 percent match in funding from other sources.

Describe any collaborative arrangements with outside project partners, including who they are and what their role is with the project:

Every public art project requires extensive collaboration with a number of partners, especially other City departments and agencies involved in capital projects, such as CPED, MPRB, Public Works, MnDOT, Finance and Property Services, neighborhoods, local developers, etc. Those partners invest portions of their design and construction budgets to support the development and fabrication of artworks.

Communities are the key partner in the City's public art endeavors.

  • All public art projects are selected, reviewed and approved by the Public Art Advisory Panel, and the Minneapolis Arts Commission, and both bodies include diverse community representation.
  • Artists are selected by independent artists selection panels, and these panels are intentionally include diverse representation of artistic experts and local community members.
  • Community-based criteria are at the heart of all decision making, including the involvement of diverse community members in the planning, selection and implementation of projects, the ability of selected artists to connect with respective communities, and the connection between artworks and the communities where they are being developed.
  • the community engagement plan for each project is tailored to the needs of the community, and community-based Steering committees set the goals for the project, prioritize engagement strategies, and provide the artists with ongoing input.
  • The annual work plan for the conservation and maintenance of artworks is scrutinized for equitable distribution of the care of artworks across a broad range of communities, and particularly in areas of concentrated poverty.


State Law Chapter 462.356 (Subd. 2) requires review of all capital improvements for compliance with the comprehensive municipal plan. Chapter 13, Section 4 of the City Charter requires Location and Design Review for the purpose of approving the sale of bonds for these projects. Describe how the project is consistent with the adopted City/Park Board

comprehensive plans and how the project implements goals and policies as stated in the adopted plans, including specific policy references:

Art in Public Places regularly supports the policies of the Comprehensive Plan by partnering with City Departments and Boards to implement the Plan's goals related to their activities. This includes plan topics Land Use and Built Form, Transportation, Housing, Economic Competitiveness, Public Services and Facilities, Parks and Open Space, Heritage Preservation and Arts and Culture. For example, new public art at the Green Crescent, a green space connecting Lake Street to the Midtown Greenway adjacent to I35W will help implement policy 48.g: "Support initiatives to reconnect neighborhoods separated by freeways, in partnership with MnDOT and other stakeholders, including improvements and replacements to pedestrian and multi-use bridges.”

Each public art project builds on related small area plans, historic significance studies, design guidelines, and planning policies for the areas in which they are located. Selected artists are provided with appropriate information and asked to develop designs that are consistent with these plans. Oftentimes artists base their thematic concepts on this information. For example, the conservation of the Philips Gateway is building on the master plan for Peavey Park. A city planner serves on the Public Art Advisory Panel to review whether artists' designs are consistent with adopted plans.

Provide the date that Location and Design Review was conducted for the project, the outcome of that analysis and the date formal action was taken by the Planning Commission:

This review occurs as needed for specific public art locations as they are identified.

Artist-designed ceilings in six elevator lobbies.

Illuminated elevator lobby ceilings in the Public Service Building. Top (l-r) - Aaron Marx, Rory Wakemup, Alexander Tylevich, bottom (l-r) Christopher Harrison, Lucito, Laurie Borggreve.

Economic Development

Will the project contribute to growth in the city’s tax base?

No impact on existing tax base.

Describe the economic development impact of the project:

Public artworks in the City, such artworks on commercial and cultural corridors and downtown, support the goals of businesses in the City by increasing the quality of the public realm and retail environments and making them interesting places to visit and shop.

Does the project support redevelopment opportunity that without the project would be infeasible?

While public art does not directly increase the feasibility of development opportunities, it can enhance those opportunities and increase their success. For example, the large-scale sculptures at 46th Street/Hiawatha and Lake Street/West River Road were created to support the developers’ goals of creating iconic locations that would draw a strong first floor retail tenant to their projects.


Is the proposed project on an existing or planned transitway, transit route, or high-volume pedestrian corridor? If yes, provide details on how the project will improve the transit and/or pedestrian experience.

Public art sites are often selected along these types of routes and corridors, and artworks are designed to support the needs of their users. Current projects include the Green Crescent and Hennepin Avenue projects. Public artworks can enhance the pedestrian experience and often act as wayfinding. This is a goal of the Samatar Crossing project.

Does the proposed project anticipate multi-modal enhancements (sidewalks, bicycle or transit facilities)? Provide details.

Not applicable.

Is the right-of-way constrained and do you anticipate that modes of travel will be competing for space? Provide details, is there potential for innovative design options? Provide details.

Public art projects take into consideration available space in the right-of-way and potential interference with the space allocated for pedestrians and other uses. For example, because right-of-way is limited on Hennepin Avenue, that project will need to focus on works that have a small foot print, such as seating elements, tall and thin gateway elements or enhancements to the railing to delineate the space between the bike path and the transit areas.

Operating Impacts

Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance

Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? New

What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement? 25 Years

Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect? 2025

What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? 3,500

Any Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations? Yes

Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations: $3,021,277

Describe how operating cost increases or decreases were determined and include details such as personnel costs, materials, contracts, energy savings, etc:

During design development for each public art project, a design assessment is conducted by an art conservator with input from the people who maintain the project site. This assessment outlines the artworks' annual maintenance needs and costs, as well as the costs of periodic treatments, such as repainting. After this assessment, staff work with the artist to identify design changes to decrease future maintenance costs and make the artwork more durable. The above figure is based on the average annual cost of maintaining 3 new artworks each year.

If new infrastructure, discuss how the department/agency will pay for the increased annual operating costs:

Basic annual maintenance, such as cleaning and debris removal, is provided by project partners and property owners. More complex annual maintenance procedures, such as graffiti removal and new coatings are funded annually through CPED’s general fund. The 2021 maintenance budget for public art is $75,000. In 2019 CPED hired a full time Art Collection Coordinator to oversee maintenance and conservation of the City's collection of 90 artworks.

For new infrastructure, describe the estimated timing and dollar amount of future capital investment required to realize the full expected useful life of the project:

The timing of future capital investments, and the extent of the funding needed varies with each artwork and depends on the artwork’s design. For many pieces this type of investment occurs when the artwork is 20-25 years old and requires sanding, a complete re-coating and other metal repair.

Many artworks constructed earlier in the public art program, prior to the design phase assessment and full-time public art staffing, have required more extensive renovations due to inherent flaws and poor craftsmanship. For example, the renovation budget of the 20-year old Powderhorn Gateway was approximately $175,000, four times the originally commissioning cost. In such cases, the Public Art Advisory Panel and the Minneapolis Arts Commission weigh these considerable costs against the significance of the artwork to the community and the costs of developing a new work of a similar scale. It was determined to renovate this Gateway, which is key feature on Powderhorn Lake, due to extensive community support and its use for many community events, including marriage ceremonies and daily fishing.

Project Coordination

Describe completion status for ongoing projects and how and when the department/agency plans to use the prior year remaining bond authorizations:

Public art projects on average take approximately three years to complete, including planning with the community, artist selection, design development and modification, conservation assessment, design approvals, community engagement, fabrication, installation, completion and acceptance. Timeline for projects vary and can be extended for two reasons: 1) The related infrastructure project is delayed; 2) emerging artists and organizations are involved and need additional support and time for training and development. The following is a list of projects underway and their status as of April 2022. Note that the prior year unspent dollars are higher than normal, due to the fact that staff was also managing and installing public art for the new Public Service Building (funds not reflected in this budget). In 2020 and 2021, the Public Art Program doubled the number of contracted project managers coordinating new commissions to four people, which will enable the Program to handle the new 6-8 Commissions utilizing 2020-2021 funds. In recent years the City has made major investments in public art downtown with the renovation of Nicollet Mall, Hennepin Avenue and the new Public Service Building. For that reason, the program will focus primarily on areas outside downtown for the next few years.


Funded 2017/Complete 2022

Allocated 275,000/Remaining 259,000


Funded 2018/Complete 2022

Allocated 450,000/Remaining 435,000


Funded 2018/Complete 201

Allocated 100,000/Remaining 92,000


Funded 2018/Complete 2022

Allocated 300,000/Remaining 300,000


Funded 2017/Complete 2022

Allocated 250,000/Remaining 238,000


Funded 2019/Complete 2022

Allocated 212,000/Remaining 212,000


Funded 2019/Complete 2023

Allocated 700,000/Remaining 163,479


Funded 2019/Complete 2023

Allocated 40,000/Remaining 34,000


Funded 2020-21/Complete 2025

Allocated 1,175,000/Remaining 1,175,000


Allocated 175,000/Remaining 112,798

If this is a new project, describe the major project phases and timing anticipated for completing the project:

Project Selection: Fall 2021

Project Planning: Winter/Spring 2022

Artist Selection Process: Summer 2022

Design Concepts and Additional Community input: Fall/Winter 2022-23

Fabrication: Summer/Fall/Winter 2023-24

Installation: Spring 2024

Scalability/Funding Allocation Flexibility – discuss any flexibility to increase or decrease funding among the years in the five-year plan and the most that could be spent in a given year:

Annual funding for Art in Public Places projects is prescribed in the Chapter 36 of the City’s Code of Ordinances as minimally the annual equivalent of 1.5% of the Net Debt Bond.

Minneapolis Goals and Strategic Direction

Minneapolis is a growing and vibrant world-class city with a flourishing economy and a pristine environment, where all people are safe, healthy and have equitable opportunities for success and happiness.Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals. Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals.

Public Safety

Collaborative and community-inclusive strategies to ensure safety for all members of our community:

Art in Public Places projects support the City’s safety goals by engaging constituents and youth in the design process, increasing their pride in artworks and public spaces and ensuring that art projects are vandalized less often. Proposed designs are reviewed to ensure they comply with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles and that residents and visitors are engaged and safe at public art locations.


The City prioritizes equitable access to safe, stable, accessible, and affordable housing to eliminate racial disparities in housing:

Provide details on how the Project contributes to this City Goal.

Not applicable.

Economic Development

The City prioritizes economic inclusion so that all workers and families are supported and People of Color, Indigenous and Immigrant (POCII)-owned businesses in all sectors can thrive.

See Arts and Culture below and the other Economic Development section above.

Public Services

The City prioritizes reliable and equitable access to high-quality public services.

CPED conducts a number of activities to ensure an equitable, fair and open public art process, including:

  • Facilitating a decision-making process through the Minneapolis Arts Commission and the Public Art Advisory Panel rooted in the City's goals and policies, particularly those that focus on transparency, fairness, and ethical decision-making.
  • Selecting artists through an open call process; making information, materials and panel comments available to all applicants; and providing technical assistance in community venues (such as Pow Wow Grounds and Mixed Blood Theater) and on-line during the pandemic to support applicants in completing application materials.
  • Promote commissioning opportunities to artists throughout the City and collaborating with organizations to reach artists of color. (For the Water Works artist selection process, the Call for artists bill be advertised in the Circle Newspaper and through Native American networks.) In 2020-2021 out of the 22 artists under contract through Art in Public Places 12 are people of color/indigenous.
  • Seeking out the appropriate partners and diverse community members and constituents from within the community to serve on Public Art Steering Committees and Artist Selection Panels.
  • Ensuring agreements with artists appropriately respect their artist's copyrights.
  • Maintaining an active Gov Delivery list of public artists and sharing on a weekly basis Calls for Artists from across the county on this list, and the Art in Public Places and Twitter sites.

Public art staff work with project steering committees and artists to create community involvement processes that are appropriate to their communities and that reach the broadest range of people. Community engagement activities range broadly from traditional community meetings, open houses and surveys to engaging the community directly in artistic planning activities and in the creation of artworks. For 26th Avenue North, artists gathered input at a range of community events, including the farmer's market, art openings and in elementary classrooms.

All Art in Public Places projects are developed in strong collaboration with City partners and through relationships with dozens and dozens of staff within Public Works, MPRB and other agencies. In addition, public art staff act as a resource to these partners when they are developing and conserving their own public art projects.

The public art website, and Facebook and Twitter sites share up-to-date and timely information about projects, open calls and other activities. Public artists, steering committees and partners have access to all project materials through SharePoint.

Environmental Justice:

The City prioritizes sustainable practices and renewable resources to equitably address climate change while restoring and protecting our soil, water and air.

A signature artwork designed for the City's new Public Service Building focuses on issues related to local climate change. Current Conditions is a suspended kinetic sculpture that moves three times daily in response to data connected to climate change issues related to the Minneapolis sky.

Artwork designs are regularly assessed to ensure artists are using sustainable building methods and supporting the City's sustainability goals. For the East Side Storage and Maintenance Facility, artist Randy Walker collaborated with Flood Plain Collective to design a public space that meets the project’s storm water management needs, while at the same time providing site that serves as a large-scale gateway.

Built Environment & Transportation:

The City prioritizes high quality neighborhoods, streets, infrastructure and equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

Public art on and within streets, sidewalks, plazas, business and cultural corridors, neighborhoods and other publicly accessible spaces influences the city’s livability, bikeability, and walkability. Public art also supports the goal of building healthy and resilient communities by establishing a sense of belonging and reflecting the identities of local ethnic, racial, and cultural communities in its design. For example, the new artwork at Waterworks is being planned in collaboration with Dakota and Anishinaabe artists and educators.

Public Health:

The City Prioritizes positive youth development so that all children can grow healthy and safe:

Public art projects that engage youth support their growth and personal expression and encourage them to consider important social and culture issues in creative and meaningful ways. For example, a new large scale metal artwork, Big Book, by Christopheraaron Deanes, includes a story on bullying that was created in collaboration with fifth grade students at Nellie Stone Johnson Community School. Teacher Heather Davis’ summarized her students experience working with Deanes over a six-week period: “[Deanes] led students through different exercises to support their creativity and guide them through the artist’s process. Once the theme of bullying was chosen for the artwork, some students shared for the first time how they felt when a bully hurt them. The experience was powerful for all involved.”

Arts and Culture:

The City prioritizes arts and culture as important part of inclusive economic development and placemaking in our communities:

CPED’s public art programming focuses on investments in public art particularly in communities where there are existing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities. As demonstrated in the map above, seven out of eleven current Art in Public Places project are in Areas of Concentrated Poverty.

Public art supports economic development in arts districts, cultural corridors and other areas of the City by celebrating the identity of those places and the people who live there. Nicollet Mall’s public art collection is a strong example of this, and Hennepin Avenue has selected for a public art commission with a goal of increasing and highlighting the vitality of the City’s Theater district.

Public art also supports local artists and creative organizations, building their capacity to develop projects and earn revenue—including ensuring they receive appropriate support and compensation for their services.

A main focus of Art in Public Places is the development of emerging artists and artists of color to develop culturally-based works that are created by artists with deep experiences in those cultures. For example, the 26th Avenue public art project engaged artists with strong connections to the Northside. Christopher Harrison received a $25,000 commission to create his first major outdoor sculpture, Aqurbane at Wirth Parkway. He has since been selected and completed an $82,000 commission, Elements, for the new Public Service Building.

Additional Information

2020-2021 has been a unique and challenging environment for artists and project managers. Murals and public artists lifted up this City after the uprisings resulting from the murder of George Floyd. The pandemic has caused us to think about community engagement in new ways, especially because many residents in the City cannot engage remotely. As a result, engagement processes are more creative than ever, with artists and project managers frequently reaching out to the community in places where they were attending other socially distanced activities, such as block-club meetings. The dedication of Collection Point, the new artwork at the East Side Storage and maintenance facility deviated from the traditional event with speakers and music into an art supply collection drive for Edison High School and the Roho Collective. Artists frequently used lawn signs at future art sites to reach out to the community, set-up social media sites to gather input, conducted zoom interviews with constituents and used good old-fashioned phone calls were to reach out to community elders.