HOW-TO GUIDE:  PUBLIC ART!

Have you ever wondered how to get permission to make a mural in a public location? What organizations in Missoula are available as resources for your public art endeavors? Where do you find money to pay for your public art project? With this guide, you'll find some of the answers to your questions about making and funding public art.

Public Art Calls

The Missoula Public Art Committee (MPAC) is in charge of art calls for various public art projects happening in the Missoula public. In order to stay in the know about public art opportunities, sign up on our Public Artist Registry HERE. You will be notified of any art calls or projects. You are also welcome to attend the monthly MPAC meetings to learn more about upcoming projects: Every third Tuesday of the month, 4-6pm in the Jack Reidy Conference Room at 140 W Pine.

If you have your own art call (on private property, as any art on public property will need to pass through the Public Art Committee) that you would like help with protocol or administration, you are welcome to come to a meeting for advice on this matter as well.

Proposals

If you have an interesting idea for a public art piece or project, you can create a proposal to show the MPAC. Your proposal should be comprehensive and detailed, and should include a timeline, budgetary outline, mock-up, and a summary of how your piece would benefit the Missoula arts and culture community at large. It is better to be too prepared than not prepared enough! If you would like to present a proposal for a public art project to the Committee, email Public Art Coordinator Becca McCarron (becca@artsmissoula.org) two weeks prior to the monthly meeting; she will put you on the agenda.

But before you make a point of coming to a meeting, make sure you look through the rest of this guide so you can come prepared and knowledgeable about the Public Art Committee's scope.

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • What materials will I use?
  • Where would my piece be located? (If it's on private land, you will need to work directly with the owner of the property.)
  • How much will my materials cost, and how much do I expect to be paid?
  • Is this piece appropriate for a public space?
  • How much time will it take, and when can I do it? (i.e. 5 hours every day for two weeks)
  • How does my idea enhance the public art scene in Missoula?
  • Will my piece need special lighting or other extra accommodations?

Funding Your Project

Public art projects are funded through the Percent for Art program, special project funds, grants, and private donations. The Committee does not receive any monies from the City of Missoula’s general fund, department budgets, licensing, or permitting fees. Keep in mind the financial limitations of the MPAC, as costly projects are likely to be out of the realm of possibility. If you have an expensive project in mind and would like to see its fruition in the Missoula public art realm, you are welcome to research grants that might cover the costs. MPAC is better utilized as a committee to come to for guidance and advice concerning a project, rather than a funding source, as it does not have many funds to give, with the yearly projects it already funds. This is not to say the MPAC will never fund a project that is presented to it, but a project has a better chance of MPAC funding if the artist has already figured out the final cost of the project and found other donors to contribute.

Selection Committee

The MPAC's Selection Committee for art calls and project proposals include City Department or public agency representatives, donors, neighborhood representatives, project architectural group where applicable, and the MPAC members. This ensures an unbiased, comprehensive analysis of the proposal in question. 

After Approval

If  your proposal for an art call is chosen, hurray! You are officially a publicly commissioned artist! But don't sleep on it for too long, as it is extremely important to stay focused and on schedule. For projects like the Traffic Signal Boxes, there will be an informational meeting regarding the next steps. Make sure to complete the required forms and contracts on time so there are no time set-backs. Work with the MPAC on getting supplies and a schedule worked out for the completion of the project.

After Rejection

If your proposal is not approved, do not fret. In many instances, the MPAC can still offer advice and guidance in achieving your artistic goals elsewhere. The MPAC can also suggest other resources or avenues for your creativity. If your proposal is not suitable for a public space, perhaps a private business or individual would be interested in your idea.

Conclusion

If you have any questions about any of this information, Becca (becca@artsmissoula.org) would be happy to help! Good luck on your public art endeavors, we look forward to seeing your ideas soon!