Public art

Southwark Council values public art and we are fortunate to have a wide range across the borough. It helps us to create places where people want to live and spend time.

Southwark's public art policy

The council created a new public art policy in 2022. It was shaped by engagement with residents and artists. Over 900 people completed a survey, telling us what they want from public art in the borough.

The policy ties in with the Southwark Stands Together programme by encouraging an inclusive, anti-racist approach to public art commissioning.

Download the public art policy 2022 (PDF, 1017kb)

The policy does the following:

  • defines what we mean by public art
  • explains what we want public art to do for the community 
  • gives guidance on how to deliver public art that is inclusive and anti-racist
  • suggests measures to reduce the environmental impact of public art

The role of Southwark Council's culture team

The culture team works with artists and the community to:

  • support the commissioning process and find the best outcome for residents
  • help ensure that new work is installed safely and securely
  • write clear briefs for commissions
  • lead on major strategic commissioning projects
  • contribute to the development of section 106 agreements
  • act as panel members for the selection of public art led by partners outside the council
  • maintain and restore works where funding allows
  • decommission works that have reached the end of their life span

If you wish to commission public art

Please refer to the public art policy and arrange a meeting with the Culture team to discuss your proposal.

When commissioning new public art on land owned by the council, we must identify a strategic need and ensure there is an appropriate budget to commission and maintain it.  

New commissions on Southwark Council land will only occur as a result of this process. Due to the existing large portfolio of public art, the council does not accept unsolicited gifts of public artwork.


Southwark Council does not have a grant fund just for public art, but you can apply for funding through the following council schemes:

New commissions in Southwark

Commission opportunities led by the council will be advertised through an open call to artists or managed by a steering group. Steering groups may use a closed long-listing process.

We recommend that artists sign up for the Southwark Creates newsletter to stay informed of new opportunities.

Page last updated: 23 February 2024


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