Mission & Programs
The Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program (OCA/PAP) is charged with administering the development and management of public art projects for Atlanta City Government. OCA/PAP also provides programs and services that support our arts community while improving the quality of life for all citizens and visitors.
In 1977, Atlanta, in stride with many other major metropolitan cities, adopted its first public art ordinance which set aside a percent of capital improvement funds for the development of public art.
Like many other cities however, Atlanta did not keep pace with the changing times and the complexity of implementing a percent for art ordinance. In 1994 the then Bureau of Cultural Affairs (BCA), along with concerned citizens, initiated a planning process for the development of a Public Art Master Plan. Working with it’s advisors, the BCA developed an initial plan that guided Atlanta through the 1996 Olympic Games and the installation of a number of new projects.
In 1999, a task force was convened to review and update the Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) and a revised PAMP was adopted by the City in 2001.
In 2008 an amended ordinance was adopted by the City of Atlanta to clarifying the set aside for the percent for art
The Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program operates on the premise that art enhances the quality of life for our citizens by encouraging a heightened sense of place, increasing our community’s prestige and enlivening the visual quality of Atlanta’s built environment. The program promotes a public initiative of outreach and education while working to preserve the city’s cultural heritage.
The OCA/PAP is committed to creating community through public art and builds upon community support to conserve, preserve and make available public art to citizens and visitors in Atlanta.
Top 10 Public Artworks
As caretaker of the Public Art Collection for the City of Atlanta, the Public Art Program oversees the maintenance and exhibition of 127 public sculptures and monuments valued at over $22 million. The Public Art Program also oversees the curation and exhibition of 226 artworks including paintings, photography and sculpture within the “Portable Collection”.
“Top Ten” is a selection of key artworks within the Atlanta Art Collection, identified by Robert Witherspoon, the COA Conservation, Maintenance and Collection Manager.
Isamu Noguchi – Playscapes
Thornton Dial - The Bridge
Sol Le Witt – Wall Drawing #581
Curtis Patterson – Andrew Young Tribute Plaza
Alexander Doyle – Henry W. Grady
Jim Siegler (designer) & Gamba Quirino – Atlanta From the Ashes (Phoenix Rising)
Elizabeth Cattlet – People of Atlanta
George Beasley – Five Points Monument
Xavier Campaney Medina – Homage to King
Public Art Guided Tours
The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program is proud to host guided public art tours in Downtown Atlanta!
Atlanta, residents and visitors will experience remarkable artwork by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Guides will lead you through Downtown Atlanta corridors and touch on historical sites and monuments that speak to the heart of Atlanta’s character. This Public Art tour is a great way to learn about Atlanta’s place in history through our cultural and artistic lineage. Tour includes 15 Public Artworks and lasts approximately 120 minutes. Reservations required with a minimum of 10 people.
Contact Robert Witherspoon to schedule a guided Public Art Tour.
Robert Witherspoon, Project Supervisor
Public Art Services
Tours begin at Hardy Ivy Park on the corner of West Peachtree and Peachtree Street. As always, we encourage you to use MARTA. Visitors may access this location via the Peachtree Center or Civic Center Stations.
The Public Art Atlanta National Registry serves as the preferred vendor list for soliciting artists for major and minor public art commissions and direct purchases of artworks for the City of Atlanta. Currently the Registry boasts full portfolios and resumes of over 300 professional public artists.
The Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program presents registry artists’ work to project managers and communities for consideration in upcoming commissions, invitations and direct purchases. Other commissioning agencies and private companies within Atlanta are encouraged to consult the registry as well.
“I’m an artist. How do I get on the registry?”
*If you are currently on the Artist Registry you are not required to reapply.
The collection, featuring historically significant artworks by local, regional and nationally acclaimed artists, is prioritized by city council districts, and represents artworks that are in the care of the city of Atlanta’s Public Art Program.
The Public Art Program is tasked with the maintenance and conservation of the City of Atlanta collection, 127 public artworks valued at over $22 million.
Find out where your local public artworks and monuments are. Visit our Google Map.
A successful and enduring public art collection is a gift and legacy for generations to come. The permanence of this gift is secured by a comprehensive and detailed collections management program dedicated to existing and future artworks. The Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program (OCA/PAP) collections management team conducts annual assessments of each artwork in the collection and prioritizes maintenance and conservation efforts.
To encourage community support of public art, The Adopt-An-Artwork program allows for concerned citizens, neighborhood organizations, companies and corporations to actively participate in the preservation of the public art collection by partnering with the OCA/PAP to provide the necessary resources to maintain the artworks in their neighborhoods and communities. Taking a proactive stance in managing and preserving the growing collection of public art in Atlanta ensures that historically significant artworks remain for future generations to experience.
Self Guided Tours
The Public Art Self Guided Tours consist of walking and audio tours. OCA’s Public Art app launched in January 2015 allows patrons to access the information and history behind 22 unique artworks in downtown Atlanta; art on the Atlanta Streetcar and art in parks. Beginning at Andrew Young Plaza , hugging the corners of Centennial and Woodruff parks, the Atlanta downtown tour and the Streetcar tour gives visitors an opportunity to experience Downtown in a unique, informative and exciting way.
The Atlanta Public Art Tour app, allows users to discover firsthand, the rich and vibrant history of Atlanta’s Public Art collection.
The easy to navigate app uses GPS to pinpoint the user’s location, features vibrant color images of the collection, while providing in-depth text and audio on the history and artists of each unique piece. Users can download the Atlanta Public Art Tour app for free in the app stores of Mac and Android by entering Atlanta Public Art Tour in the search menu.
All audio tours are available through the host phone number (404) 260-5532. Just follow the prompts. See below a listing and site map to the artworks in downtown Atlanta.
Download the audio tour map.
Atlanta is quickly gaining acclaim for its cutting edge exhibitions, quality contemporary art and progressive arts scene. Gallery 72 has a strong focus on local talent, serving as an institution that supports individual artists, local galleries, arts organizations and curators.
The City of Atlanta Public Art Program offers internships to qualified applicants to work on various projects throughout the year. This is a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge of the public art process, artwork installation, artistic panels, design, marketing, research and communication. Ideal candidates should have a strong interest in public art administration.
Contact the Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program Manager for additional information