In 2009, the City of Saint Paul enacted a powerful Public Art Ordinance, drafted by Public Art Saint Paul at the request of the City Council. Its visionary legislative purpose and intention is clear … “the city council believes that planning and development decisions should give aesthetic and social value equal weight with any project’s functional and economic values…Public art strengthens public places and enhances and promotes Saint Paul’s identity as a livable and creative city and a desirable place to live, work and visit.” An underlying Ordinance principle holds that artists should be involved from the earliest stages of conceptual planning, and continue through project design and implementation. Through the Ordinance artists add their perspectives and insights to the City’s plans and capital project designs, as well as create public art for capital projects. The Ordinance encourages performances, installations, events and other temporary works. It also embraces Public Art Saint Paul’s privately-funded City Artist Program, with City Artists curating major projects that play out citywide over a long arc of time.
After its adoption and with grant support from Saint Paul Cultural STAR and others, Public Art Saint Paul worked with a City staff working group to develop Guidelines and a Technical Manual to guide Ordinance implementation. Public Art Saint Paul continues to serve as Ordinance administrator, supported by grants and working from a base in the City’s Department of Financial Services. We train and support City staff in Ordinance implementation and project management.
Ordinance Materials can be found on the City of Saint Paul website: The Ordinance itself; Guidelines; Technical Manual; Public Art Ideas List; and a current list of eligible projects.