DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING

Art Commission

The Art Commission works to improve the aesthetic quality of the City's public spaces. The Commission is comprised of seven members appointed by the Mayor, with each member representing a discipline in the arts or design field. 

The Art Commission is mandated to review the urban design, architectural, and landscape features of structures that are erected on or above land owned by the City. These are structures or landscapes within the public realm, under its' control, and in which City funds are invested (including parks and bridges). The Art Commission administers the review process, which includes preliminary and final approvals. 

The Art Commission is also mandated to review all works of art owned by the City of Pittsburgh and also works proposed to be acquired by the City. For more information about the Art Commission, please contact the Public Art and Civic Design Division at pacd@pittsburghpa.gov.

 

 

Virtual Art Commission Instructions

Art Commission meets virtually on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 2:00 PM. These meetings are hosted on Zoom and streamed on YouTube Live. Please see the instructions below about how you can view or attend.

If you are not planning to testify, please watch the YouTube Live stream to allow more space for those testifying to join the Zoom meeting. 

  • To stream the meeting live please visit our YouTube Channel at the time the meeting is scheduled to begin.

 

Review Upcoming Presentations and Provide Comment

Art Commission Hearings are open to the public. Community members are welcome to provide in-person (live in virtual meetings) or written statements about items on the Art Commission agenda each month.

Agendas, presentations, and project information for upcoming meetings are posted on our Notices and Upcoming Meetings webpage for review and to accept public comment leading to the Board or Commission meeting. To provide public comment regarding an agenda item, you can:

  • Email pacd@pittsburghpa.gov - Email testimony will be accepted until the business day before the meeting at 12 p.m. 
  • Mail a letter to 200 Ross St., 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 - Mailed testimony must be received by two business days before the meeting. 
  • Join the Zoom Meeting - Use raise hand function to request to speak during the relevant agenda item. 
  • Call into the Zoom Meeting on your phone - Press *9 to use the raise hand function, and be called on to speak during the relevant agenda item.

 

Commissioners

  • Andrew Moss, Vice-Chair/Secretary
  • Sarika Goulatia
  • Richard Parsakian
  • Peter Quintanilla
  • Janel Young
  • Christiane Leach
  • Open Position

Ex-Officio Members

  • Marcelle Newman
  • Karina Ricks

 

Art Commission Process

Art Commission Application Instructions:

  1. Applications must be submitted electronically.
  2. Download the Submission Guidelines for detailed instructions on how to apply.
  3. Then, download the Art Commission Application to get started.
  4. Remember, a full application package as described above must be received by 4:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, three weeks prior to an upcoming Commission meeting, in order to be included on the next agenda.

 

Approved City Standards

The following Citywide standards have been approved by the Art Commission:

 

Art Commission FAQ

 

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 to determine the date of the meeting at which you wish to present. For your application to appear before the Commission, it must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, three weeks prior to the upcoming Commission meeting you plan to attend. If you have missed this deadline, you must wait until the next month's hearing to speak with the Commission. 

Download the Art Commission Form (PDF). If you have any questions about the materials required of you, please contact the Public Art and Civic Design Division at pacd@pittsburghpa.gov.

 

When are the hearings? 

Art Commission meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. See the Boards and Commission Calendar on the Boards and Commission Homepage.

 

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, that are intended for ornament or commemoration, both interior, and exterior.  Among its' purposes are also to secure the free light, air, and prospect of the streets and open spaces of the City, and to prevent the obstruction of the same by unsightly structures though lawfully erected. 

 

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

The Commission also oversees the 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 places under its control. However, this section shall not apply to bridges costing less than $500,000, nor to buildings costing less than $200,000. 

Also, you may not remove or reorder any structure that 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. A conceptual review is mandatory unless Public Art & Civic Design staff determine that the project complies with all of the guidelines set forth for a final review. The purpose of the initial (conceptual) review is to allow the project to receive feedback, suggestions, and/or design critique before a substantial investment of time or finances have gone into final design and/or construction-level documents and engineering. 

If you are unsure about any aspect of your project, you may contact the City's Public Art and Civic Design Manager at any time. You may also request an informal audience with the Commission called a Courtesy Review, by filling out an application to appear before the Commission at the next upcoming Hearing.  Please review Art Commission Guidelines for more information. 

 

I want to host a festival or event that is art-related and 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 email the Zoning Office at zoning@pittsburghpa.gov with any questions. You may also find more information about events on the City of Pittsburgh Special Events webpage.

 

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 Courtesy Review with the Art Commission at no cost to you. You will need to still submit the above application form and all related materials three weeks before the hearing date that you would like to attend.

 

What is a Development Activities Meeting and when do I have to have one?

If the site of your project is within the boundaries of a Registered Community Organization (RCO), the Pittsburgh Administrative Code requires that a Development Activities Meeting (DAM) be held at least 30 days before the Hearing. You can identify areas covered by RCOs using this GIS Map. The full guidelines for Development Activities Meetings can be found on our Development Activities Meeting (DAM) webpage.

 

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

The Commissioners are elected by the Mayor and serve without compensation. Ex-officio members include the Director of the Department of Public Works and the Director of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. Members of the commission represent different disciplines that contribute to the quality of civic design and the public realm. The commission consists of practicing artists, architects, landscape architects, and other professionals with related design practices.