Bristol is one of the leading city’s in the UK for public art commissioning and for its programme of projects with artists of local, national and international significance. Our programme focuses on the development of visionary public art works across the city, outside of the conventional gallery and museum setting.
The public art programme has been active since the adoption of a public art policy by Bristol City Council (BCC) in 2000, and the development of a Public Art Strategy which followed in 2003. To date over 100 commissions have been produced within a diverse range of contexts, including public spaces, housing, health, retail, education and local parks.
The public art programme is funded through a number of sources, primarily planning gain, which is based on a percent for art scheme (PFA), a system where up to 1% of a developments budget is used to fund a work or works by artists, along with planning conditions, both of which are agreed through the Bristol City Council planning department. Bristol City Council provides a strategic role in the development of art in the public realm and is also responsible for providing formal planning approval for art works both permanent and temporary.
Art and the Public Realm Bristol has been developed specifically to provide a showcase for City’s public art programme, providing detailed information on past and present artworks. In addition there is further information on the artworks location - using a dedicated mapping system, audio/podcasts of artists talks staged at Arnolfini (as part of BCC’s dedicated ‘Art in the City Lecture Series) and information on the BCC Public Art Policy and Strategy.
All works profiled are the result of BCC’s public art policy implementation, or are linked to the public art programme, either as a result of funding provided by BCC, or having been developed by on the BCC’s Key Arts Providers (KAP’s). KAP's are organisations in the city that receive grant funding from Bristol City Council’s “Arts and Culture’ directorate. As such this site is the primary source of information for public art works in Bristol, advocacy and debate.
The site does not include works of art commissioned outside of the planning system, non BCC funded projects, or projects by third parties without affiliation to the programme. It also excludes works developed by Bristol’s Neighbourhood Arts Team, or Arts and Events Team, or Bristol’s notable Urban Art works, such as those by Banksy www.banksy.co.uk or its collection of historic status and monuments www.pmsa.org.uk.