OCA  City of San Jose, Office of Cultural Affairs

About Public Art

2011 Public Art Program of the Year awarded by the Public Art Network of Americans for the Arts

The City of San José Public Art Program seeks to build community identity by initiating artworks and exhibitions that enliven our community. Through active engagement between the artists and project stakeholders, public art strives to reflect the City’s ethnic diversity, historic richness, and envision its present and future. The Office of Cultural Affairs manages the San José Public Art Program, which operates in accordance with Title 22 of the Municipal Code. Funds to support the Public Art Program are provided by municipal ordinance specifying that 1% of City capital improvement project budgets, 2% of San Jose Redevelopment Agency projects, and 1% of certain eligible private development project budgets be set aside for the commission, purchase, and installation of artworks. The Public Art Committee (PAC),a sub-committee of the San José Arts Commission, oversees the Public Art Program by reviewing and approving artist selection and new projects as they develop. The Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) comprised of artists, arts and design professionals and urban planners, assists the PAC by providing technical and aesthetic advice.

Since its beginnings in 1984, the public art program has evolved significantly – focusing initially on major artworks Downtown, then more recently on projects in community facilities throughout the City. Recent artworks at libraries, parks, fire stations and City Hall are among the program’s finest accomplishments. Additionally, developing artwork for the renovation of the Norman Mineta San José International Airport is a major current initiative.

Through its recent master planning process (2007), the program has established a a proactive, creative strategy for identifying projects locations that can:

  • Enable projects that have the strongest potential to significantly impact the visual character of the City of San José
  • Build support for new and innovative strategies for funding and maintaining art projects
  • Offer an opportunity to better align projects with stakeholder interests and expectations
The Public Art Program priorities take direction from the city’s visual, urban design, and planning frameworks – the overall patterns of development, the city’s visual character and activities, and the areas that are being targeted for public infrastructure and private development.

The San José Art Public Art Program is committed to community outreach and participation as part of the development of every project. Prior to selecting an artist to develop a design, stakeholder communities are consulted to assist in localizing the projects and define broad goals for the artwork. For more information contact the Public Art Program (408)783-4344.

Last Modified: 08.20.12