How to write a public art proposal sample

Written by susan ruckdeschel
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How to write a public art proposal sample
Public art is all around us, and it began with someone's idea as a proposal. (art image by Allyson Ricketts from

Writing is learnt best with examples, and preparing a sample writing proposal can be as challenging as writing up an actual one. Once completed, a good sample proposal for public art can serve as a useful template for future projects. Writing it up section-by-section is the most practical way to proceed.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pen
  • Paper

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  1. 1

    Write an overview of the proposed artwork in a section titled "Artwork Overview." Include a general description of the proposed artwork. Keep the sample focused on something simple, such as a mural or series of paintings for public display. Overview the size of the work, a persuasive justification and a little bit about how the idea was originally conceived. This will evoke interest by those reading it, and help them understand the need for the piece.

  2. 2

    Begin another section titled "Location." Name the proposed address where the artwork is to be housed. If it is presently in another location, name the address where it is currently housed. Describe the proposed location as it works as a good place to house the art. For example, if you're looking to have a large painting placed on the outside of a public building, describe the building as is, and describe how the artwork will add to it esthetically. Describe all destination stops if the artwork is a travelling exhibit, such as an installation artwork. Provide details as to why each stop adds to the value of the art, or how the art adds value to each stop.

  3. 3

    Begin the next section with the word "Design," and describe in as much detail as possible, without being too wordy, the artwork of the proposal. Include colour, dimensions, inlays, type of art, unique artistic detail and any other description that adds to the merits of your proposal.

  4. 4

    Write the word "Materials" in the next paragraph. Include the major materials that the artwork is made of. For example, if it is oil on canvas name the type of oil use, the canvas, brush matter; if it is an installation piece made of iron or contains fabric describe the type and quality of material used to create the artwork.

  5. 5

    Include a section on the maintenance needed to keep the artwork in good, usable form. Include details as to its durability, ongoing repair needed, upkeep, safe keeping. For example, indicate if it should be kept contained from weather elements in an enclosed case or a locked container. If there are safety concerns, indicate those as well, such as the need to lock it up at night or keep out of the venue of traffic.

  6. 6

    Include a section for budget last, with the amount of money sought. Include all budgetary concerns, such as expenses related to maintenance, upkeep, installation, tear-down, movement if a travelling exhibit and any related purchases necessary for public exhibition.

Tips and warnings

  • Include pictures of the artwork whenever there is an opportunity, for example its proposed location or pictures of the artwork itself.

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