Our Mission:

Bristol City Council is dedicated to making imaginative, meaningful and sustainable cultural experiences happen across our public realm as a result of planning policy. We believe that putting culture at the heart of place, considering creative opportunities early, and investing in people and process alongside high quality urban design can create the most successful places to live, work and move through.

Bristol is one of the leading city’s in the UK for Public Art commissioning and is known for its programme of projects with artists of local, national and international significance. Our Art and the Public Realm programme focusses on the development of visionary public art works across the city outside of conventional gallery and museum settings, instead bringing to life the streets, empty buildings, parks, fields and spaces in between. The Public Art programme has been active since the adoption of a Public Art Policy by Bristol City Council in 2000, and the development of a Public Art Strategy (2003). To date over 150 commissions have been produced and over 200 artists engaged and employed.

Public Art in Bristol is funded through planning gain as a result of Bristol’s Local Plan Core Strategy Policy BCS21 to ensure high quality urban design and is secured usually via Condition. Major and super major developments in Bristol are expected to engage positively in commissioning cultural works for their sites to mitigate the impact of development on people and place – an opportunity to create immense social value for multiple stakeholders.

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 artworks both permanent and temporary.

Art and the Public Realm Bristol was first developed in 2009. It is a showcase of the City’s commitment to public realm commissioning – a visual platform for celebrating cultural case studies, both past and present. We invite you to discover our Public Art Principles, to explore the Project Archive, access our Resources (such as the Public Art Commissioning Toolkit and Producer Directory), or follow the map to find an artwork to visit.

Public Art Principles

The Public Art approach for Bristol is underpinned by five key principles which put cultural experience, creative practice and best practice artist commissioning at the heart of:

Social Engagement

Creatively engaging, informing and empowering 
our citizens, communities and stakeholders.

Vibrant place making

Imagining and contributing to liveable, loved, playful 
and unique places to live, work and move through.


Supporting a programme of work that contributes 
to an environmentally and socially sustainable city.

Quality urban design

Embedding quality public art and culture into schemes as early as possible to maximise economic, civic and social value for developers, residents and users.

Cultural ecology

Nurturing Bristol’s cultural, creative ecology by commissioning artists and producers and providing space to allow their vision and ideas to thrive.


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