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:
- Cleaner Greener Safer
- Neighbourhood fund
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