The arts and humanities bring life, vibrancy, creativity, and enhance economic growth to municipalities across Utah (for economic impact data, visit Public art in particular is an excellent way to beautify communities, assist with wayfinding, improve public safety, and help grow a community’s identity. Public art is simply, art in public places.


Municipalities and county governments often contact Utah Cultural Alliance for assistance in drafting public art ordinances for their community. Below are samples ordinances drafted by our attorney. Feel free to use part or all of this language.


The two primary options described in the below ordinances are:

        1. Projects within building: in the development and approval of any new public buildings, the budget would include a certain percentage of that particular project's allocation to be spent specifically on works of art for that building/development (both acquisition and maintenance of the art).  
        2. More flexible: This method creates a "fund" into which a percentage of all expenditures on public building projects would be deposited, from which the municipality could use to purchase, display, and maintain works of art within city/county/town boundaries, but not necessarily directly connected with any particular building project.


Of course, a municipality could blend these approaches.


This ordinance is attended to be broad and generic. You will want to consider if: 

        • You want a percentage public art program or a line item
        • From which public projects you want to find revenue for public art
        • Which types of public art projects you want to offer as a community
        • A percentage program, whether or not to stick with the traditional 1% or offer more (we always recommend a little extra to cover maintenance)
        • You want to offer incentives to private development to include public art in their projects (could be special rates on RDA loans, etc.)


We are happy to work with you to personalize these options for your communities. UCA contact info>>


Model Percentage for Art Ordinance


Believing in the value that public art adds to the community, the [legislative body] declares it to be a policy of the city that a portion of the city's budget be set aside for the development and support of arts in the community, the integration of art into public spaces, including in the design of public facilities, and the acquisition and preservation of public art. This [article, chapter, title] is enacted and intended for the purpose of establishing general policies and procedures related to public art funded by the city. It is intended that this policy:

  1.   Provide opportunities for the citizens of [city] to experience public art resulting from the creative expression of artists;
  2.   Promote economic benefits from increased tourism and increased retail activity through the enhancement of public spaces;
  3.   [Implement the city's master plan for art and culture, including, but not limited to, projects funded under the provisions of this article;] *(This section may be omitted if the city does not have a master plan)
  4.   Foster within the city an environment where the arts can thrive and become an integral part of the city's infrastructure;



For the purposes of this article, unless the context indicates otherwise, words and phrases used in this article are defined as follows:

ART: All forms of original artistic creations and which are integrated into major public projects or funded by appropriations under this part, including, but not limited to, work by an artist or bid as art in the following areas:

  1. Design work that is integrated into the construction or improvement of a major public project, including, but not limited to:
  2. Interior or exterior surfaces, fixtures and functional elements; and
  3. Outdoor space design elements in areas such as plazas, arcades, and pedestrian passageways.
  4. Artistic design of public ways and public facilities, including roadways, parkways, pedestrian or bicycle paths or ways, transit system improvements, water and wastewater facilities, and publicly owned sites with historic, archeological, and unique geological features.
  5. Forms of visual art, including, but not limited to:
  6. Sculpture: in the round, bas-relief, high relief, mobile, fountain, environmental, kinetic, electronic, etc., in any material or combination of materials;
  7. Painting: all media, including portable and permanently affixed works such as murals and frescoes;
  8. Photography and film;
  9. Graphic arts: printmaking, drawing, and calligraphy;
  10. Art forms in clay, fiber and textiles, wood, metal, plastics, glass, mosaics and other materials; and
  11. Mixed media: any combination of forms or media.
  12. Other categories or new technologies that may develop through artistic pursuit such as computer/audio/video generated work, use of lasers, etc.
  13. Ephemeral art.

ARTIST: A person or entity who is selected to create art that is paid for by the public art program.

ARTS GRANT: An award of money as provided in this article to an individual or organization to support or fund an arts-based project or program within the city, such as for use in education, general support or project specific support.

EPHEMERAL ART: Art which by its nature is fixed at a temporary place and time, such as: live music, acting or dance; lighting not intended to remain as a permanent installation; and art constructed of nondurable material such as sand, chalk, ice or organic materials. Ephemeral art is generally expected to be displayed or produced for a limited period of time, may be completely consumed as part of a public event, and includes a broad range of opportunities for members of the community to experience and interact with art.

MAJOR PUBLIC ARTS PROJECT: Public art paid for by an appropriation of funds pursuant to this article with a value over [amount].

MAJOR PUBLIC PROJECT: Any construction project with structural or landscaping components that will have a significant or noticeable visual impact on the public when viewed from any public street, sidewalk, park, or other public grounds, including the construction, reconstruction, or remodeling of buildings, decorative or commemorative structures, parking facilities, bridges, viaducts, pedestrian overpasses, new streetscape designs, bikeways, trails, above grade utility facilities, or parks improvements.

MINOR PUBLIC ARTS PROJECTS: Public art paid for by an appropriation of funds pursuant to this article with a cumulative value not to exceed [amount] annually.

[ARTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The advisory committee established in title, article, chapter].

PUBLIC ARTS PROJECT: Art that is owned by, or in the case of ephemeral art produced at the request of, the city, regardless of where the art is displayed or presented, and where the artist, the site and the art is selected by the city. 

SPECIAL ARTS GRANT: An arts grant paid for by an appropriation of funds pursuant to this article outside of the annual arts grant process or for which the amount appropriated is disproportionally higher than a typical arts grant.


The mayor may expend funds for a public arts project for the establishment, acquisition, and preservation of public art in the manner provided in this article. Funds for the public art program will be appropriated by the city council.


  1. There is established a specific account designated "public arts", into which shall be deposited all monies appropriated in furtherance of the purposes of this article. The public arts fund shall be funded by way of a contribution of [one percent (1%)] of the monies appropriated for all public construction projects approved by the city. Requests for water/sewar installation or road construction projects are exempted from this requirement.
  2. In addition to amounts appropriated for public construction projects, an arts maintenance fund is established and shall be funded with a minimum amount of [amount] annually.
  3. Maintenance funds shall be retained and aggregated as an endowment for maintenance of publicly owned art.
  4. Maintenance funds may be expended in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by administrative order of the mayor.



A public arts project, including major renovation or repair of art requiring extraordinary work or expenditures in excess of those reasonably available from the art maintenance account, may be authorized as follows:

  1. Proposed major public arts projects shall be submitted to the city council in conjunction with the annual budget. Each public arts project shall have an individual information statement addressing the following items:
  2. A description of the project, which includes:
  3. Sufficient narrative to define the parameters of what the project will entail; and
  4. A map depicting the proposed location of the project together with a general site plan showing how the project will affect other existing or planned uses at the proposed location;
  5. [A description of how the project meets the goals and objectives of the city's master plan for art and culture;]
  6. The anticipated schedule and estimated budget for planning and design, land acquisition, construction, ephemeral art to accompany the unveiling or dedication of the project and any other needs associated with the project;
  7. The anticipated costs for future maintenance of the project, which may not exceed ten percent (10%) of the project's budget;
  8. Any other information regarding the history of the project or anticipated impacts of the project;
  9. The ability of the public arts project to be relocated or removed in the future if the location is conveyed, remodeled or demolished; and
  10. The contact person who can respond to questions regarding the project.
  11. Proposed major public arts projects shall be submitted to the [appropriate planning commission] concurrent with the submission to the city council. The planning commission shall:
  12. Review the proposed projects to determine compliance with the city’s general plan;
  13. Review the site plan for each potential public arts project for the project's location and anticipated dimensions;
  14. Assess whether the placement of the potential public arts project will interfere with the normal, regular and intended use of the affected real property, recorded easements, or utilities installed in or over such property, now existing or reasonably anticipated in the future; and
  15. Report its determination to the city council within forty-five (45) days of submission.
  16. Minor public arts projects consistent with the master plan for arts and culture may be approved by the mayor upon the recommendation of the Arts Advisory Committee, with notice to the city council.
  17. By administrative order, the mayor shall establish rules applicable to the approval and use of the public arts fund for minor public arts projects; and
  18. Funds expended for a minor public arts project may not go toward or support an arts grant or a special arts grant.
  19. Once the budget for a public arts project or special arts grant has been approved as provided in this article, the budgeted funds shall be considered encumbered.



  1. Proposed public arts projects or special arts grants shall be submitted to the city council on or before [date] of the preceding fiscal year for inclusion in the city's annual budget.
  2. The mayor may propose that:
  3. A major public arts project be approved by the city council for funding outside of the regular budget cycle if the project has followed the same procedure required for a regular submittal; or
  4. A special arts grant be approved by the city council for funding outside of the regular budget cycle provided that the grant meets the minimum criteria for arts grants.
  5. A potential major public arts project or special arts grant may not be funded from the public arts fund or carried out through expenditures of private donors, other than projects for general maintenance, unless the project statement and the funding for the project have been approved by the city council.
  6. Private Donations: A private donor desiring to make a donation to the city, the total value of which exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), for a public arts project shall deliver to the city a signed written donation statement:
  7. Identifying the public arts project and describing the purposes for which the donation is given;
  8. Identifying the total value of the donation;
  9. Identifying the date the funds, goods or services are to be delivered to the city;
  10. Certifying that the donation is voluntary; and
  11. Certifying that the donation is made without condition; or, outlining the conditions of the donation, if any.
  12. Donation Statement: If the donation is accepted, a copy of the donation statement described in subsection C1 of this section shall be attached to a copy of the information statement and filed with the city recorder.
  13. The restriction described in subsection C of this section includes solicitations by the city of proposals or artist qualifications for a potential public arts project.



  1. Location of Public Arts Projects: All public arts projects shall be located on:
  2. Property owned, leased, used or otherwise occupied by the city or the Ogden City redevelopment agency and within the corporate limits of the city; or
  3. Private property, subject to a license or easement approved by the city allowing for maintenance and public access to the art project for the life of the project.
  4. Selection: Art selected pursuant to the provisions of this article for a major public project may:
    1. Be placed in, on, or above any such project;
    2. Be attached or detached within or about such property; and
    3. Be either temporary or permanent.
  5. Duties of Mayor*: The mayor shall:
    1. Make the final decision regarding the selection of artists and art and the placement of a public arts project funded from the public arts fund;
    2. Notify the city council of the selected artist and art for each public art project.
      *(These duties can be shifted to a different entity, such as the city council, the arts advisory board, etc.)



  1. Powers and Duties: The Arts Advisory Committee shall:
    1. Review and recommend grant applications for approval by the city council;
    2. Review and recommend minimum grant application requirements, applicant ranking criteria, application deadlines, and create grant applications, instructions and informational documentation which may be adopted as administrative policy.
    3. Submit the recommendation to the city council at least fourteen (14) days prior to the public hearing to appropriate grant funds as required by Utah Code Annotated section 10-8-2.
  2. Minimum Criteria for Grants: While the Arts Advisory Committee may adopt stricter ranking criteria and applicant requirements to assist it in making its recommendations, no grant shall be awarded unless the following minimum criteria are met:
    1. The substantive and procedural requirements of Utah Code Annotated section 10-8-2, as amended, must be complied with.
    2. General and project grants must be used to support and promote arts development in Ogden City.
    3. The city must receive equal value in return for any grant expenditure, whether measured in terms of tangible or intangible benefits.
    4. Project support grants may be awarded to individuals, organizations, or business entities.
    5. The grant recipient shall as a condition of receipt, if required by the city, enter into an agreement with the city to use grant monies for the specific purpose for which the grant is awarded.
  3. Criteria for Special Arts Grant: In addition to the criteria described in subsection C., upon positive recommendation of the mayor or the Arts Advisory Committee, the city council may award a special arts grant if the council finds that there is significant community-wide benefit associated with the grant project and that the funding awarded will not materially affect the city's ability to complete anticipated public arts projects. Special arts grants:
    1. May not be used to provide general support to an arts organization;
    2. Are not a separate grant category from a project grant;
    3. Are not expected to be awarded on a regular or recurring basis, but only under unique circumstances such as project timing that could not have been otherwise anticipated, project participation by multiple community partners or a local project that integrates with an art project having regional, statewide or national scope; and
    4. Should be evaluated to determine if such grant project should be conducted as a public arts project rather than an arts grant.
  4. Authority: Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the city council's authority to make grant determinations without Arts Advisory Committee recommendations, to adopt additional criteria for the determination of specific grants, or revise a written study presented by the administration.
  5. The mayor may adopt policies to implement this Chapter.