Public art

Southwark has a wide range of public art in the borough; from the 65,000 Photographs (Idris Khan) in Blackfriars, to Three Perpetual Chords (Conrad Shawcross) in Dulwich Park. Southwark Council values public art as it supports us to create places where people want to live and spend time. 

Southwark Council Arts Culture service can:

  • support the commissioning process, ensuring that the best possible outcome is achieved for Southwark residents to enjoy
  • help to develop and ensure that new work is installed safely and securely
  • write clear briefs for any commissions
  • lead on major strategic commissioning projects
  • contribute to the development of section 106 agreements where it is felt appropriate to request public art
  • act as panel members for selection of public art led by partners outside of the council
  • undertake the maintenance and restoration of works where funding allows 
  • undertake decommissioning of works which have reached the end of their life span

If you wish to commission public art

Please arrange a meeting with the service to discuss your proposal by emailing the Culture service.

We have created a how to guide (pdf, 6.4mb) for commissioning public art, which provides an overview of the key things to consider.


Southwark Council does not have a grant fund for public art. However, you may apply for funding through the following Council schemes:

New commissions in Southwark

When commissioning new public art work on land owned by the council we will first identify if there is strategic need and then ensure there is an appropriate budget to commission the work and provide on-going maintenance.

When commission opportunities led by the council arise these will either be advertised through an open call to artists or managed through the formation of an appropriate steering group who may utilise a closed long listing process to address a particular commission aspiration.

For artists seeking opportunities we recommend that you sign up to the Southwark Culture and Events newsletter so that you are aware of such opportunities when they arise.

We are sorry but due to the existing large portfolio of public art, the council does not accept unsolicited approaches or gifts of public art work. New commissions on Southwark Council land will only occur as a result of the process outlined above.

Page last updated: 19 January 2022

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