Public Art Program
Public Art Collection
The public art collection currently contains 56 works of art that are permanently installed throughout Portland. Several new works were added in 2004 and again in 2013 through 2015 with several gifts. The collection contains works of historical significance that date from the nineteenth century, as well as contemporary pieces that reflect the diversity and spirit of the city.
The Portland Public Art Committee administers the Portland Public Art Program. The responsibilities of the Art Committee are outlined in Article XI of the City Code (Public Art Program). The Art Committee utilizes the Guidelines for the Public Art Ordinance (Volume 1, Number 1 – adopted May 2001) for direction in administering their responsibilities.
A key element of the Portland Public Art Program was the establishment of a percent-for-art ordinance. Under that ordinance, the city allocates ½ of 1% of the city’s annual Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget for the restoration or acquisition of permanent public art.
Information about the Portland Public Art Program can be obtained from Department of Planning and Development, City of Portland, 389 Congress Street, Portland, Maine 04101, by phone at 207-874-8901, by email, or by visiting the Public Art Committee website.
CONGRESS SQUARE PUBLIC ART (OCTOBER 2020)
The artist Sarah Sze completed design development of the new commission, Shattered Sphere, which will be created as part of the Congress Square Redesign project. The work includes two sculptures that form a gateway into the park space. The spheres include a still image of the sky on the concave side and a reflective metal surface on the outer shell providing an interactive engagement with the concept of time and passing activity.
The project partners - City of Portland, Friends of Congress Square Park, and Portland Public Art Committee - hope to hold a public meeting in 2021 to present the most recent designs for the park and public artwork.
The project received funding to proceed with Phase I construction of the intersection in 2021. Also in 2021, Phase II and public artwork will go through construction document phase to complete the design. For more information, visit the project page: https://www.portlandmaine.gov/1113/Congress-Square-Redesign
DEERING ROUNDABOUT PUBLIC ART (APRIL 2021)
The artist Mark Pettegrow was selected in 2019 for the new public art commission for the Deering Roundabout project. The first phase of the roundabout was completed in 2020 with phase two construction to begin spring 2021. The artist is currently fabricating the artwork which will also include lighting and landscape features.
The artwork, titled "Passing the Torch," includes three bronze flame sculptures mounted on Maine granite boulders within the center of the roundabout. Additional granite pieces will appear on the outer edge of the roundabout for seating within a new plaza space. The work will be installed summer 2021.