Art enhances our identity as a community, in valuing creative and diverse expressions. Art serves as a means to build our civic pride, and enriches the lives of the citizens of Galax. Public art serves the community in a myriad of ways: by improving our experience of public spaces, by sensitively preserving or highlighting vistas, by representing the cultural heritage of our beloved City, by preserving historical elements unique to Galax through insightful interpretations of our community’s activities and aspirations, and by promoting community engagement and creative involvement. In sum, public art has the capacity to humanize our urban and suburban environments.


In recognition of the importance of integrating public art into the daily lives of the residents of Galax, Virginia (“City”), the Galax City Council supports a strong public art program and is represented by the Public Art Committee. To this end the City of Galax and the Public Art Committee hereby establishes the City of Galax Public Art Policy (“Policy”) with the following goals in mind:

  • to celebrate our community’s heritage, ethnicity, commonality and civic pride by stimulating collaboration and understanding between artists and the City’s diverse community;
  • to enhance the City’s image locally, regionally and nationally by ensuring the creation of the highest quality public art;
  • to foster the public’s understanding and enjoyment of public art;
  • to promote artists to live and to work in the City and to participate in public presentations of their art in the City; and,
  • to encourage federal, state and private support for the City’s public art program.

Through this Policy and the Public Art Program Guidelines (“Guidelines”) The Public Art Committee seeks to have the City provide opportunities for creating exciting and attractive projects for public spaces to be used and enjoyed by the City’s residents, workers, and visitors



Public art, defined as original or limited edition works of art in any discipline or medium accessible to the public, encompasses the broadest definition of visual art including the imaginative use and interplay of all artistic disciplines. Public art governed by this policy shall be art visually or physically accessible to the public, and acquired by City or grant funds, donated to the City, or provided by a private entity as a community benefit. Public art may possess functional as well as aesthetic qualities


The City of Galax shall authorize the Public Art Committee and City staff to develop detailed guidelines outlining all aspects involved with the implementation of this Policy, including the processes used to:

  • Develop an inventory of existing and approved public art;
  • Develop and update the City of Galax Public Art plans and the Public Art site plans, as necessary.
  • Review and recommend a process for the selection, placement, and implementation of specific public art projects. Guidelines shall be developed by the Public Art Committee and appropriate City staff, reviewed by the City Attorney as to form, and approved by the City Manager.
  • Follow City ordinance regulations.

Sites for public art covered by this Policy are prominent and highly visible locations in the City, identified as suitable for public art projects, and physically and/or visually accessible to and by the public. Public art projects covered by this Policy for which public money is utilized may be located on either public or private property. For a public art project to be located on private property, the owner must grant the City  a permanent easement for access to the City and the public, with a grant of all ancillary rights the City deems necessary in order to implement the public art project according to this Policy. Identification of a piece of property as a public art site shall not relieve the property owner from complying with all applicable City laws and regulations.


The process used to select public art sites shall remain contingent upon the type of project executed.

  1. City Initiated Projects

Working with the Public Art Committee, the City will develop a Public Art Site Plan (“Plan”), prior to acceptance of solicited public art projects. The Plan will identify appropriate and significant sites for the location of public art, as proposed by the Public Art Committee and approved by City Council . The Public Art Committee shall ensure the process of preparing the Plan and any subsequent modifications providing opportunities for public input into site identification. The plan provided must complement and supplement the City’s Comprehensive plan and other planning documents guiding the growth and development of the City of Galax. Furthermore, all plans for project placement shall be submitted for review to the City Manager’s office and approval by the City Council.

The Public Art Committee, working with City staff, will identify the highest priority projects and will recommend those projects as funding allows. As much as possible, these projects should correspond with new construction or renovation projects planned by the City for that year.

  1. Community Initiated Projects

A City community group or neighborhood association may propose a public art project, subject to review and approval from both the Public Art Committee and City Council so as to choose projects which will best benefit the City of Galax.


Public Art Projects may include:

  • The commissioning of permanent works designed for specific public sites in the City;
  • Artists contracted to work as integral members of architectural, infrastructure, and urban design teams
  • Installations, artist-in-residence programs wherein the artist completes a commissioned public art piece, and other short-term projects or planning activities resulting in the creation of temporary or permanent public art.

Each public art project created through this Policy shall include an outreach program to encourage community involvement in the implementation of the project as well as periodically inform and educate citizens about the specific project.


Methods used for artist selection may include open competition, invitational competition, or direct selection but shall comply with all procurement laws, regulations, and City policies governing purchasing when the City is the purchaser. Community involvement in the development of any Public Art Project is crucial and shall be part of the selection process For Public Art Projects attached to private or public construction, the artist selection and approval process must be integrated into the overall project timeline so as not to cause delays.


In general, for City Initiated and Community Initiated permanent works of public art the City shall own the physical work and copyrights. The City shall retain ownership and reproduction rights, as the solicited artwork will be displayed on City property and maintained by City staff through the Public Art Fund. Ownership of public art pieces will afford opportunities for appropriate promotional and educational purposes. Legal title and copyrights in any work of public art funded in whole or in part by direct City funding and/or the Public Art Fund, or donations or loans of public art which are accepted by the City, shall be spelled out in a mutually agreeable contract between the City and the artist and the owner.


The City and the Public Art Committee will be active in applying for non-City public and private funds, as well as grant funding, to support public art projects as appropriate. Individuals, businesses, and organizations will also be encouraged to make contributions to the Public Art Committee for project funding.

All funds for public art received by the City from any source other than the Capital Improvement Program of the City shall be deposited in a public art account established by the City (“Public Art Fund”) and managed by Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. The Public Art Fund may be used to support City Initiated Projects, as approved by the City Manager. The fund shall allow finds to carry over from the fiscal budget year to the next fiscal budget year.



  1. Program and Collection Management — The Public Art Committee is responsible for the administration of the City’s public art policy and the management of the City’s public art inventory. The committee is made up of the following, but not limited to:
    1. Members of Public Art:
      a.         A representative from City Council;

      b.         A representative from the Department of Tourism;

      c.         A representative from Chestnut Creek School of the Arts;

      d.         The City of Galax Grants Administrator;

      e.         A representative from the Galax Downtown Association or a downtown business owner;

      f.          A representative from The Arts and Cultural Council of the Twin Counties; and

      g.         A Community Member (non-City staff, but Galax resident) who shall be appointed by the City Manager or City Council.

  1. Project Implementation Costs -Certain costs of the public art program will be allocated from the Public Art Fund. These costs include:
  • Project consultant fees
  • Programming costs
  • Project implementation costs associated with procurement of public art works
  • Maintenance of installed Public Art by City staff or others, costs which may be offset by funds raised from local individuals/businesses as sponsorship of Public Art pieces.

The City shall be responsible for the maintenance of City Initiated projects created through this policy. All permanent public art projects must have a plan that projects both staff time and funding needed to properly maintain the work. The Committee shall provide the City with a schedule of specific maintenance needed for each project.