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Scottsdale Public Art

Scottsdale Public Art is a department of Scottsdale Arts, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that administers the city’s arts and cultural affairs through a City Council-approved agreement.

The mission of Scottsdale Public Art is to serve as a leader in defining art in the public realm through creative place-making, signature cultural events, exhibitions, and installations—contributing to the community’s creative, cultural, and economic vitality.

Scottsdale Public Art focuses on commissioning and maintaining large-scale permanent and temporary public art, curating exhibitions at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, caring for, diversifying, and displaying the portable works collection, and implementing numerous public art events throughout the year, including Canal Convergence.

Please Contact us with any questions not addressed here or on our Resources page. 


We Strive To:

  • Promote a strong sense of place and a unique identity for Scottsdale.
  • Be nationally and internationally recognized for our innovative approaches to public art.
  • Promote quality urban planning and design, working with city staff and private developers.
  • Contribute to tourism and the economic vitality of the city.
  • Both preserve and create history.
  • Support and encourage a strong, vital regional artist community.
  • Develop innovative partnerships to maximize the program’s reach and budget.
  • Continue leading the national field in the care and maintenance of the city’s public art collection.

Since 1987, Scottsdale Public Art has managed the city’s public art program, which includes: 

  • The Art in Public Places public art program, using funds from the city’s capital projects; 
  • The Art in Private Development public art program, guiding private developments inclusion of public art onto their property; 
  • Care and management of the city’s Portable Works and Permanent Public Art Collections; 
  • Exhibitions at Scottsdale Civic Center Library; 
  • Special programming including temporary public art projects and Cycle the Arts; and  
  • Canal Convergence, a 10-day temporary public art event every November. 

How does the city pay for public art? 

The City of Scottsdale pays Scottsdale Arts to manage and administer the public art program, including special events such as Canal Convergence, and to conserve and maintain existing public art.

Scottsdale sets aside 1% of the approved budget of each publicly visible capital improvement project for new permanent public art.

Some private development projects are required to make a 1% contribution for public art. For more information, please visit here.

Note: Scottsdale Public Art also receives some earned and contributed revenues from private sources. 

What city ordinances provide the fund allocation for the public art program? 

Ordinance 1836, passed in 1985, established policy on the use of 1% of public (city) building funds for public art. The Art in Public Places policy has been amended multiple times over the years with the most recent changes occurring in 2008 (Ordinance 3781) to offer clarity and further define language for different aspects of the program.

Ordinance 2018, passed in 1988, established the Cultural Improvements Program (also known as the Art in Private Development Program) for downtown Scottsdale, designating that developers allocate 1% of their building valuation for new permanent public art on their property or into a cultural trust fund for use toward public art elsewhere in the city.

Does the city have a dedicated tax for public art?


What was the first public art piece commissioned by Scottsdale? 

Scottsdale’s first commissioned public sculpture was finished in 1973. Louise Nevelson’s sculpture Atmospheres and Environments XIII (more commonly known as Windows to the West) was completed with a combination of city funds, citizen donations, and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Windows to the West is located at the Gateway Plaza of the new Civic Center, near the AZ88 restaurant.

The first public art commissioned after the implementation of the 1985 percent for art ordinance was Mustang Wall, by Ken Williams, in Mustang Library. It was completed in 1989.

What websites can I access for more information on Scottsdale Public Art? 

For information about various aspects of the public art program, click on the menu at the upper-right-hand corner of this website.

For information on Canal Convergence, visit

For information about the city’s permanent collection, visit

For public art and exhibition opportunities, visit

For additional resources, visit

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