The Public Art Commissioning Process

The commissioning process is a dynamic process requiring commitment from both the commissioner and artist in terms of:

  • Setting out a vision

  • Building good relations

  • Being flexible with time

  • Allowing for dialogue and discussions

  • Openness to ideas and changes that may arise through the process

  • Support with problems and issues as they arise.



For the Commissioner/Client, this involves: 

  • Considering, imagining and championing a public art commission - now, here! Rationalising whom it is for, and what value it will have in the near and more distant future.

  • Securing funding (through the State's Per Cent for Art Scheme or through other sources)

  • Engaging specialist arts expertise, support and resources for the duration of the commission process. Increasingly commissioners of public art projects are engaging art curators/consultants to assist in the creative process and to deliver the realization of a public artwork or public art project. Typically this is a curator, an artistic director,  Local Authority public art officer or specialists in any in contemporary art such as music, theatre, dance, literature. Often commissioners/clients engage such an expert to devise a programme of public art commissions over a number of years. 

The curator/art consultant will assist the commissioner/client in matters such as local consultation processes, making new links to a range of art forms and in bringing invaluable experience to assessment procedures, project planning and the delivery and exhibition/performance of the commissioned artwork. 

The curator/art consultant is engaged to; offer advice on how to commission an artist/ a work of art; to work in close consultation with the client/commissioner and/or host community; to devise an exciting and enthusiastic commission brief which creatively reflects the vision and context of the commission and imaginatively proposes the scope of the opportunity; to oversee a competitive or curated selection process/appointment of an artist(s); and to draw up a contract between the client/commissioner and the artist; to budget the project with the client and artist and to assist in the project's financial management. They undertake negotiation, mediation, facilitation and advocacy. Agents assist steering groups, Community Development organisations and other key stakeholders in the course of a commission.

After selecting and appointing an artist, this same expert can be charged with the management of the entire project management through to realisation and outcomes and can support the client if problems and issues arise. This may include Health and Safety constraints, copyright issues and difficulties in resolving expectations; curatorial organisation around presentation and dissemination of final work or outcomes and, documentation, evaluation and review.




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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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