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Considerations for Public Art Proposal

The following are guidelines meant to prompt an awareness of areas of responsibility and other considerations to be addressed by artists who have the opportunity to create public art projects.

Depending upon the scope of a project, artists should be prepared to work with professionals, including engineers, architects, landscape architects, fabricators and others, and to respond to technical questions about design, materials, structural integrity, finishes, dimension, weight and maintenance. In most cases these consultations will have budget implications over and above the costs of materials and labour. 


The project budget must cover all expenses related to the project, including (but not limited to) artist fee(s), site preparation, technical consultation; engineering approval; materials; labour; fabrication; insurance; installation; permit fees; travel and accommodations and all applicable taxes etc. Budgets that exceed the commission value will not be considered. See Budget Worksheet below.
 ** Artist-led teams must share the total commission. 


Public safety is a primary concern for the finished artwork. Proposals with structural elements must include an engineering review to ensure that safety, structural integrity, longevity, and maintenance plans will meet performance standards. 


When choosing materials and structural elements, consider UV, pollution, wind resistance, and other factors in the environment. Anti-graffiti coatings may be required.

Maintenance Plan

A Maintenance Plan is required for all public art works. The plan should be developed with drawings and particulars on materials, suppliers, fabricators, etc.  Specify which party, the City or the Artist, is responsible for which aspects of ongoing maintenance, including the removal of any graffiti vandalism as well as any additional costs for maintenance completed by the artist.


Permits are generally required for building on site, electrical and water connection, and street occupancy (for installation) unless City staff do the work.  Permit costs need to be anticipated and included in the budget.

Drawings and Certifications

Licensed architectural and engineering certifications are required on drawings and plans for projects with structural elements. It is best to obtain drawing specifications and quotations from an engineering firm for the initial budget. Any potential certification required should be reviewed with the City to determine who is responsible.


Multiple parties are involved when producing public art projects. To protect these individuals, Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance of $5,000,000 must be obtained for the duration of the work. This includes liability for injury of the public and employees working on the project. The cost of this insurance could be up to $1000/year unless you already have insurance in place which can be upgraded to cover the project. Insurance should be included as part of the costs of the project. In particular circumstances, the insurance requirement may be waived and covered by the City or a contractor. If the artist is unable to secure insurance with their broker, the City may be able to assist through their provider. The artist will be responsible for the premium. 

Proof of automobile insurance for vehicles used on the project is also a requirement. 

If volunteer labour is used in the production of the artwork a volunteer waiver form must be signed by all parties.  


As a contractor, you are required to have workplace safety and insurance board coverage for anyone who is working for you to fabricate or install the work. WSIB will help cover wage loss and medical expenses for anyone hurt while working on the project. You can also obtain coverage for yourself on the project. This cost can be included in the budget.


Artists and all personnel working on scaffolding or lifts must have or obtain appropriate heights training and fall arrest certification.

Fall Protection

There must be a fall protection system in place when artists work from an elevation of greater than 3m (10ft) or where a fall from a lesser height involves unusual risk of injury. Fall protection systems may include: guardrails; fall restraint systems; fall arrest systems or control zones.


If applicable a valid HST number must be provided and HST must be included in the budget amounts.


Administrative expenses may include phone/fax, printing, studio rental (over and above your normal work place), travel and accommodations etc. related to the project. If submitting from outside of the city, county or province increase the budget for site visits.

Budget Worksheet and Work Plan 

The sample worksheet can be used as a general guide to preparing a proposal. Each project is unique and must be considered according to its own needs. Artists are responsible for ensuring that budgets are comprehensive and accurate. 
A work plan will demonstrate how the project will be completed on time, within budget, in compliance with applicable health and safety regulations.

Additional Information


  1. Please note that the jury and the City are not compelled to award the project based on the applications received. 
  2. All submissions to this Call for Proposals become the property of the City of Peterborough. The artist shall retain copyright in the concept proposal. While every precaution will be taken to prevent the loss or damage of submissions, the City and its agents shall not be liable for any loss or damage, however caused. 
  3. The Public Art Coordinator, in conjunction with participating City departments, will ensure all recommended proposals are reviewed prior to final selection for safety and liability compliance with City by-laws and requirements, technical feasibility, environmental impact, cost, maintenance and other aspects as needed. If the recommended proposal raises any concerns, the Coordinator will contact the artist for more details. The Technical Review Committee looks at feasibility, maintenance and other logistical details and does not make any final decisions nor do they review the work on an aesthetic basis. Final selection will not be made or announced until any question on these issues is resolved. If the City decides against selecting a proposal, City staff will notify the Public Art Advisory Committee and the Arts Culture and Heritage Committee.
  4. The artist selected for the final commission will be required to enter into an agreement with the City of Peterborough which will contain provisions including but not limited to rights of ownership, copyright, use, warranty and insurance. The completed artwork will be the property of the City of Peterborough but the moral and copyright remain with the artist. The selected artist will also be required to create a maintenance plan for the final artwork.
  5. Change Notice: Any amendments to the contract that deviate from what was agreed to must be requested in writing and submitted to the City for consideration. This includes requests for deadline extensions, additional funds, and design changes (colour, material etc.) Requests must state the effect on the budget and timeline. If approved, both parties sign and append a Change Notice to the service contract which updates the contract.