Boards, Commissions & Committees
City of Pittsburgh Art Commission: Frequently Asked Questions
Art Commission

I was told that I need Art Commission approval before I am granted a permit.  What do I do now?

Your next step is to check the Art Commission schedule and learn when the closest hearing date is.  Your application to appear before the commission is due two weeks prior to the next hearing date.  If you have missed this deadline, you must wait until the next month's hearing to speak with the Commission.

You can download the Art Commission Application Form by clicking here.  If you have any questions about the materials required of you, please contact the City's Public Art Manager, Morton Brown

When are the hearings?

Click here and scroll down for the schedule of Art Commission hearings.

What is 'art' that the Commission would review?

Art in this case includes paintings, mural decorations, statues, bas-reliefs, sculptures, monuments, fountains, arches, ornamental gateways and other structures or items of a permanent and fixed character, intended for ornament or commemoration, both interior and exterior.

My project does not include any 'art'.  Why was I told that I need to gain Art Commission approval?

The Commission also has purview over the the aesthetics and design of any municipal building, bridge, approach, lamp, ornamental gate, fence or other structure erected or to be erected upon land belonging to the city, or other public place under its control.  The Art Commission does not review any temporary works of art. 

Additionally, if your project is an infrastructure project costing less than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00),or a building costing less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00), you do not need art commission approval.


Also, you may not remove or reorder any structure what is currently located on public property without Art Commission approval.  This includes structures, trees, or fixtures.

What is the difference between Conceptual approval and Final approval?

How far along you are in planning your project determines what type of approval you should seek.  if you already have construction documents prepared but have not appeared before the commission yet, you should apply for both Conceptual and Final approval at the same time.

If you are unsure if your project will be approved by the Commission, before you spend money further in the planning process, you can appear before the Commission to be granted Conceptual approval.  Once this is granted, you then need to come to another hearing to request Final approval.

If you are unsure about any aspect of your project, you may contact the city's Public Art Manager at any time.  You may also requst an informal audience with the Commission called a Briefing or Courtesy Review. 

I want to host a festival or event that is art-related, on public property.  How can I do this?

If your event is temporary, you will not need to appear before the art commission and can speak with zoning about obtaining the proper permits.  As all events and projects are unique, please contact Morton Brown, Public Art Manager, with any questions.

I'm constructing a new artwork or structure on private property, and I'd like some advice on how to improve the design.  Can I consult with the Art Commission?

You can request a 'briefing' review with the Art Commission at no cost to you.  You will need to still submit the above application form and all related materials, two weeks before the hearing date that you would like to attend.

Who serves on the Art Commission and how are they elected?

Click here for the main Art Commission info page on the website to see a list of members.  The Commissioners are elected by the mayor and  serve without compensation.  Ex-officio members include the Director of the Department of City Planning and the Director of Public Works.

Members of the commission represent different faculties that contribute to civic design and public placemaking.  The commission consist s of practicing artists, architects, landscape architects and members of the community. 

 

City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning
200 Ross Street, Fourth Floor | Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | 412-255-2200 | E-mail

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