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Public Art Commissions - Current

Dublin City Public Art Programme supports artists working in all artforms, and all forms of expression, permanent, temporary and time-based.

The Public Art Programme offers opportunities for artists to engage with the city, making new work that responds to the context of Dublin as capital of Ireland, international city, and city of communities and localities. The Programme intends to create connections and collaboration between different areas of the city council’s work and interconnection between art, city and the public.



Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO - Draft Report  




Dublin City Council intends to launch a new public art programme in autumn 2020.  Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO will be in place for five years.    


The Approach 

To embrace the diversity of public art practice while being deeply committed to engaging with communities and localities.   

To engage with the city in its entirety through the five electoral areas. 


Per Cent for Art Scheme  

Funding for the programme is principally through the Per Cent for Art Scheme.  

Commissioning will follow the National Guidelines for the Per Cent for Art Scheme. 


Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO 

The Programme has three distinct but interlinked strands: PUBLIC + ART + CITY. 

To commission new artwork across all artforms, temporary, time-based or permanent.   

Public engagement and consultation will underpin the delivery of the programme. 



Places the public at the centre of the commissioning process for public art. 

It is based on the values of relevance to the local community, high artistic quality and non-hierarchical collaboration. 

Each commission will engage with a new social housing scheme and its neighbourhood.   

Built over long-term engagement with communities and neighbourhood.  . 



Offers opportunities to artists to respond to the city by proposing commissions which make connections between communities and localities in the city. 

Modelled on Strand 2 of the first public art programme, this strand will be organised through an open-call competition two stage process. 

Proposals can include any artform and different ways of working.   

The value will be set by the applicant between €20,000 and €80,000. 



Designed to respond to once off strategic opportunities which directly relate to the core objectives and values of Dublin City. 

Commissions will be initiated by Dublin City Council or undertaken in true partnership.   



The arts have been particularly impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.   

Public art offers opportunities for the creation and presentation of art in ways and settings which go beyond the traditional places for art. 


The Dublin City Public Art Programme, launched in 2012, was the first programmatic approach to public art in Dublin City Council. Up until that time Per Cent for Art Commissions were organised on a commission by commission basis. The introduction of the Programme offered opportunities to take a more strategic approach to commissioning in the city. Having reviewed the first programme it is now proposed to announce Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO in the autumn of 2020. Dublin City Council is conscious of the impact which the COVID 19 Pandemic has had on the city and on the arts community and hopes that the new public art programme will offer renewed opportunities to engage with art in the city.   


The Per Cent for Art Scheme 

The Per Cent for Art Scheme was established by Government in 1984 and extended to Local Authorities in 1986. Since the introduction of the Per Cent for Art Scheme into local authorities and its subsequent expansion in 1997 to include all artforms and different forms of expression, public art has become recognised as offering opportunities for the public to encounter art outside formal settings. The publication of the National Guidelines for the Per Cent for Art Scheme in 2004 was also a landmark in the development of public art practice in Ireland. These remain the guiding principles under which the Per Cent for Art Scheme is operated nationally and locally.    


How it applies to Local Authorities. 

Under the Scheme local authorities can apply for Per Cent for Art funding for all capital projects funded by a Government Department or Agency. In the context of local authorities, this includes housing developments, engineering, infrastructure, buildings and road construction, etc. Funding is allocated on a once off basis per project and the amount of funding is related to the scale of the construction project.  Per Cent for Art is ring-fenced and therefore can only be spent on art.    


National Guidelines for the Per Cent for Art Scheme 

The National Guidelines for the Per Cent for Art Scheme were published to guide commissioners and in particular first time or once of commissioners, such as schools, health care settings, etc. The Guidelines set out the key principles and procedures for the commissioning of public art.  Key areas covered in the guidelines are; the scope of the scheme, funding, commissioning procedures, and selection processes (procurement) etc.1 


Applying for Per Cent for Art Funding 

DCC Department of Housing and Community Services and City Architects have been exemplary in the manner they have consistently applied for Per Cent for Art funding for capital expenditure on social housing. It is emphasised that Per Cent for Art funding does not take away from any element of the capital expenditure but is an add-on as a line in the budget. (See Appendix 2, page 42 of the National Guidelines.)    


Funding under the Per Cent for Art Scheme 

Funding levels were set out in the 1994 guidelines as follows with allocation of 1% of capital construction projects, subject to limits as follows: 

Construction projects costing up to €2,550,000 should include a minimum art budget of 1% of net construction costs i.e. €25,500. 

Projects costing between €2,550,000 and €6,300,000 should include an art budget of 1% up to a maximum of €38,000. 

Projects costing between €6,300,000 and €12,700,000, should include an art budget of €51,000. 

Projects costing in excess of €12,700,000 should include a minimum art budget of €64,000. 


New Funding Levels 

In 2019, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht announced new funding limits, recognising that they had not increased since 1994.  It is not clear how these are being implemented. The new limits came into effect on the 1st of January, 2020 and are as follows:  

Projects below €5,000,000:  1% of the cost of the project to a maximum of €50,000 (1% of upper limit) 

Projects between €5,000,000 and €20,000,000: 1% of the cost of the project to a maximum of €125,000 (1% at median) 

Projects between €20,000,000 and €50,000,000: 1% of the cost of the project to a maximum of €350,000 (1% at median) 

Projects in excess of €50,000,000:- up to €500,000 being 1% of the lower level scale and declining as projects increase in scale. 


Pooling of Funding 

The principle of pooling of Per Cent for Art funding was established in Dublin City Council in 2009 with the creation of a capital cost centre. There was precedence for pooling of funding and implementation of a public art programme with South Dublin County Council implementing this policy since 2000 through their In Context public art programme. Subsequently, there have been three further In Context programmes. Other precedents for pooling Per Cent for Art funding include: Breaking Ground, the public art programme for the regeneration programme in Ballymun; Dún Laoighaire-Rathdown County Council’s Place and Identity programme, and Fingal County Council’s public art programmes.   



All commissioning processes for the Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO will follow the National Guidelines for the Per Cent for Art Scheme2 and Dublin City Council Public Art Policy3. As stated in the National Guidelines, ‘Commissioning bodies, can develop projects through a variety of public art procurement processes.  These include: Open Competition; Limited Competition; Direct Invitation or Purchase. Commissioners may wish to utilise a number of public art procurement processes on a particular project.’ (National Guidelines Page 28 Section 5.2). These procurement procedures also guide the OPW which commissions art for the state. 


Dublin City Public Art Programme 

The pooling of funding enabled the development of the first public art programme.  The rationale for the public art programme was to create a more coherent citywide public art commissioning programme which would benefit the city as a whole and offer a greater profile for Dublin City Council and the Irish Government than would be gained from a range of separate and unconnected commissions. The programme was designed to offer opportunities for departments and sections in the City Council to be part of the delivery of the public art programme. The first Dublin City Public Art Programme was launched in 2011. The invitation to make proposals was undertaken on an open call basis and resulted in 116 proposals and a range of art commissions in different artforms and different ways of working, from deep engagement with the City Council to artworks with great visibility.   


Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO 

Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO offers opportunities to commission new artwork across all artforms including architecture, dance, film, literature, music, opera, poetry, street art, street spectacle and circus, theatre, verbal arts, and visual art; including all aspects of contemporary arts practice such as performance, live art, multimedia, video art, sound art, etc. In addition to the work of individual artists there is scope for collaborations, collective responses and interdisciplinary practices.  There is also respect for different forms of art expression and their duration, encompassing temporary, time-based or permanent work. 


The Programme has three strands PUBLIC + ART + CITY. Individually, these strands have distinct characteristics but when combined are intended to offer a cohesive approach to Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO. The programme will create connections and collaboration between different areas of the Dublin City Council’s work and interconnection between public, art and city. The approach of the programme is to embrace the diversity of public art practice while being deeply committed to consultation and engagement with communities and localities. Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO will be in place for five years.    


Dublin City Council is committed to reinforcing the links between art commissions and the public. Public consultation and engagement will underpin the delivery of the programme and communities will be consulted with regard to intentions to undertake commissions in particular localities. Dublin City Council will devise a public engagement programme for each commission during the lifetime of the programme.  Recognising that public art spans a wide spectrum of practices from collaborative and participatory practice to commissions which are conceived and delivered with little direct involvement of the public, commissioned artists and teams will be required to work with Dublin City Council in devising or advising on how a public engagement programme can be delivered alongside the commission.   


Each commission will be comprehensively documented to facilitate promotion and also as a legacy and record of the work. Ongoing evaluation of the programme will be undertaken to assess areas of achievement or potential development.   



It is planned to launch Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO in autumn 2020.  

Dublin City Council is particularly conscious of the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has had on artists and the arts sector. The pandemic has particularly impacted on the arts in that collaboration, participation and audience are vital to their success. Many artists and arts workers have had their livelihoods threatened and arts organisations and venues are left assessing their futures. Programming which would normally have taken place in theatres, music venues, cinemas, and other spaces is now greatly impacted by social distancing requirements. The public art programme could give opportunities to artists to create new work at a time when opportunities are limited. Public art offers opportunities to present art in settings and ways which are less impacted by the pandemic such as in the public realm rather than more formal settings such as theatres, music venues or cinemas, etc.   



STRAND 1 - PUBLIC focuses on designing a commissioning process within communities and neighbourhoods. This commissioning strand will be rolled out through a number of pilot projects titled Public Art/ Public Voice in areas where the City Council is undertaking major housing initiatives. The intention is to place the public at the centre of the commissioning process for public art.  STRAND 1 – PUBLIC will be based on the values of relevance to the local community, high artistic quality and non-hierarchical collaboration. It provides a ‘safe’ place to experiment with traditional hierarchies in the area of regeneration and planning within the city, brokering new relationships and new methodologies. 

While communities (of place or context) are often consulted with, or collaborate and participate in public art commissions, the intentions here is that the process is built over long-term engagement with communities and neighbourhood. The ambition is to enable members of the public to take a central role in defining the structure and nature of public art commissioning process. While Per Cent for Art Commissions are often ‘ring-fenced’ within a particular housing development or context, here the intention is to embrace individuals and communities from the wider neighbourhoods in each location.  


Based on the intention that the public art commissions will be of ‘high artistic quality’ the participant Citizen Commissioners will be encouraged to be ambitious in their ideas and objectives. It is proposed that a ‘working group’ composed of local councillors, representatives of the community and city officials will be formed for each of the commissions. This will ensure that the aims and ambitions of the public art programme and STRAND 1 – PUBLIC are kept in focus.    


As Public Art / Public Voice is a new approach to public art in Dublin City, it is proposed to develop the commissioning process through a series of pilot projects across the city. The selection of developments and locations will be based on close interaction with the Dublin City Council Department of Housing and Community whose knowledge of the city will greatly inform these selections. It is proposed that a new housing development at Sarsfield Road and its neighbourhood in Ballyfermot will be the location for the first pilot Public Art / Public Voice. 


The following steps will guide the process in a journey to commissioning: 

Where possible Public Art / Public Voice will be introduced as early as possible in the planning and development stages of the housing scheme.  This will enable the involvement of staff from across different Departments and Sections in Dublin City Council. This approach also offers the public to have a more fundamental role in the commissioning process.   

The success of Public Art / Public Voice will depend on the interest and involvement of the public. Understanding the community and neighbourhood is key to achieving this. It is understood that not all members of a community or neighbourhood will necessarily be interested in taking part in this commissioning process but Dublin City Council is committed to an openness and interest in reaching a wide range of individuals and groups within the neighbourhood. Step 2 will focus on making contact with as many individuals and groups as possible to form a group to be known as Citizen Commissioners. This search will be assisted through the local area office, community development and local contacts and in association with the Dublin City Council Culture Company.   

Public art offers opportunities for a range of artforms and practices. It is proposed, that the Citizen Commissioners will explore different artforms and processes through Culture Club taster sessions. Exploration will also include ‘field trips’ and visits to experience different types of art and ways of making art. The idea of undertaking small ‘taster’ commissions across different artforms as part of the developmental process will be considered.  

The Citizen Commissioners will decide on the artforms, nature of the commission/s and these will be framed within the briefing document for potential artists. In addition, theirs will be an important voice at the briefing meeting to further inform artists interested in making proposals for the commission. 

Citizen Commissioners will be given the opportunity to be actively engaged in the development of the commissioned artwork.  





STRAND 2 - Art offers opportunities to artists to respond to the city by proposing commissions which make connections between communities and localities in the city. There is a broad understanding of the term ‘communities’ and they can be communities of interest or place. This strand is modelled on Strand 2 of the first Dublin City Public Art Programme which included the following commissions: The Lost and Found Sound Assembly by George Higgs (music) The Boys of Foley Street by Anu Productions (drama) Revisions by July Merriman (visual art) Things We Throw Away by Wide Open Opera (opera) The Manual for Acoustic Planning and Urban Sound Design (MAP) by Sven Anderson (sound art) and Dublin Ships by Cliona Harmey (digital visual art).   


Commissions in STRAND 2 - ART can include work in any artform and can be achieved through once off interventions, residencies, collaborative projects, inter-disciplinary responses, and time based work, etc. Curators, artistic directors and creative producers can also make proposals. This gives opportunities for proposals which reflect the wide ranging contemporary artistic expression while offering potential for the development of ideas and practice. 


In order to ensure that STRAND 2 - ART commissions are not all concentrated in one area of the city, artists will be asked to indicate the type of place, context or situation in which they would like to work. The programme will be organised to spread the commissions across the five electoral areas of the city. The Arts Office (and where relevant other City Council staff) will be consulted in this process, as will short-listed artists.   


In recognition of the fact that art does not necessarily come in neatly bundled packages, there is flexibility for those making proposals. The commissioning value will be set by the applicant between €20,000 and €80,000. This gives scope for budgets to be related to the scale and nature of the proposed commission. The proposed budget has to include all costs relating to the commission. Funding from other sources can be added to the total funding requested from the Dublin City Public Art Programme but clear indication of the sources and methods of gaining these funds is required at the initial stages of each commission.    


STRAND 2 - ART will be organised on an open competition two stage basis. The first stage invites submissions which outline the proposed artwork and how it will be created and brought to the public. An initial selection process will be undertaken by public art and artform specialists from across the arts which will devise a long-list of up to fifteen proposals from the first stage submissions. These will then be considered by a selection panel composed of arts specialists, elected representatives, city officials, and community representatives. In stage 2 artists and teams will be invited to undertake further research and development of their proposals and fees will be paid for this work.  


The criteria by which each proposal will be assed are the following:   

Artistic quality and originality of ideas. 

Nature of connection with community/locality. 

Proposed process. 

Technical quality and feasibility. 

How the proposed funding costs relate to the nature of the commission.  

Capacity to develop, manage and deliver the project within the proposed timeframe and within budget. 

Track record/potential of the artist(s). 




STRAND 3 - CITY is designed to respond to once off strategic opportunities to undertake public art commissions which directly relate to the core objectives and values of Dublin City Council. Commissions under this element of the programme will be initiated by Dublin City Council or undertaken in true partnership.  The selection of artform and process will directly relate to the focus and strategic objective of the proposed commission and how best to achieve it.   


All proposals for commission under STRAND 3 - CITY will be examined under the following criteria to ensure that they are compatible with the values of the Dublin City Public Art Programme TWO.   

Clear relationship and relevance to Dublin City Council.  

Quality of the proposed commission as it relates to art.  

Consultation and engagement with the public. 

Nature of the partnership or collaboration with / within Dublin City Council.  

Funding sources and association.  


STRAND 3 – CITY offers opportunities for Dublin City Council to enter into true partnerships within Dublin City Council, and externally with Government Departments, State Agencies and Semi-State companies for example the OPW, The Arts Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) National Transport Authority (NTA). Proposals from other external companies or groups will on exceptional circumstance be considered if there is evidence of true partnership. Examples of previous commissions are Library Words (2018) by Alan Phelan for Kevin’s Street Library in partnership with Dublin City Libraries and Archives and with funding under the Per Cent for Art Scheme from the Government of Ireland and, Travelogue (2012) by Theresa Nanigian with funding under the Per Cent for Art Scheme from the National Transport Authority and in partnership with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin County Councils  


Proposals to enter into partnership have to demonstrate  

Developmental Approach: That the commission will be devised and developed from the outset in partnership with the City Arts Office.    

Quality of Art: That all commissions will have artistic ambition and strive for excellence and originality.  

Dublin City Council: That all processes and commissions will be directly aligned with the core values, objectives and work of Dublin City Council.  


Commissions under STRAND 3 – CITY will be primarily funded through the Per Cent for Art Scheme with funding from Departments and Agencies of the Government of Ireland.  Funding from external sources will have to be in place before commissions are approved and proceeded with.   





Voices of Memory

By Christina Kubisch

A riverside sound art installation in the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.



The Goethe-Institut Irland, in partnership with Dublin City Council, through the support of the OPW and the Trustees of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, is commissioning a sound artwork by internationally renowned artist Christina Kubisch. Located along the banks of the River Liffey at the Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin, Voices of Memory is a contemporary remembrance of the more than 49,000 Irish people who died in the First World War.  In 1923, these names were published in Ireland’s Memorial Records 1914-1918. Consisting of eight volumes, these records, beautifully designed and illustrated by Irish artist Harry Clarke, are housed nearby in the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.

Almost the entire list of these names was read by volunteers of different ages and accents from across Ireland.  The sound installation is based on the flow of these male and female voices playing over the banks of the river. Playing over four speakers by the river the piece also incorporates contemporary sounds of the River Liffey that were recorded with the use of a hydrophone (underwater microphone).The installation will be on display from 30th June 2016 from 12-8pm until the end of September. The opening will symbolically coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme (July 1st 1916). For more information visit:


Public Art Commission in The Liberties

Dublin City Council, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, is seeking applications from interested parties for a public art commission in The Liberties area of Dublin. This is a two stage open competition aimed at any artist who is interested in making proposals for a series engaging sculptural flagstones to be located along the thoroughfare that runs from High Street to James Street in Dublin 8. These works form part of a programme of public realm improvements to these streets which are now part of The Dubline – a major discovery trail through the city. The total amount available for this commission is € 75,000 including VAT. This amount is fully inclusive of all costs including fees to the artist, any necessary research, production/realisation, insurance, documentation and VAT.  All short-listed artists will be paid an honorarium of €1,000 for completing the stage 2 submission / application process. 

Deadline Stage 1 was June 9th 2016. Applications can no longer be accepted, Shortlisted Artists have now been contacted. To download the brief please click here.
Briefing Meeting


Kevin Street Library Public Art Commission

Dublin City Council Public Art Programme is pleased to announce that Alan Phelan has been selected as the artist to carry out the Kevin’s Street Public Library Public Art Commission.

Following consultation with Dublin City Council Libraries Service and the architect leading the renovation of the library, it was decided that a permanent visual artwork be commissioned to be displayed within the Kevin Street library’s interior.  The artist was selected through limited competition with nominations for a long-list from two external visual arts curators and the Arts Office.   Alan Phelan’s proposal was selected by the final selection panel which included representatives of the Libraries and Archive Services, City Architects, Arts Office, Public Art Manager and an external art expert.  His proposal was selected for the excellence of the artwork, its direct connection to the library and an interest in working with library staff in the final development of the artwork. 


Continuous Drift

Continuous Drift, an interactive public artwork by Dublin-based artist Sven Anderson, is a sound installation integrated into the giant ‘umbrellas’ in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar which is controlled by members of the public through their mobile phones. 

Anyone entering the square can use their phone to change the sounds projected into MHQ through the project site, where they select different ‘sonic atmospheres’ that will play back in the space, for everyone to hear. These atmospheres are sound works that Anderson commissioned from 21 other artists and collectives, both Irish and international*. Each piece is an artwork in itself and they range from environmental recordings of far-away places, to delicate ambient music, to spoken texts, some lasting a mere 45 seconds and others over an hour.

Continuous Drift was expanded in Spring 2016 to include newly commissioned works. The six new additions, subtitled 'An Introduction to Work and Energy', was supported by the Arts Council of Ireland through the Curator Residence Scheme.

Dublin Ships

Dublin Ships is a commission by artist Cliona Harmey which displays in ‘real time’ the names of ships entering and leaving Dublin Port. The display changes as ships enter and leave Dublin Port, giving an insight into the shipping traffic and activity in the port, which for many citizens and visitors, is a hidden but vital element of our capital city. 

The public installation on the Scherzer Bridges on the North Quay was taken down in December 2015. However, live streaming continues on Twitter under the handle @dubships and the pdf of the website related to the commission is still available for viewing here.