Community Planning & Economic Development

Public Arts Administration
105 5th Avenue South, Room 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Placing Art on City Property: Artistic Utility Boxes, Painted Intersections and Other Projects

Neighborhood organizations or other groups may apply to place artworks on City property or within the Right of Way. The policies related to these applications are outlined in the City's Public Art Policies and Procedures, for Gifts and Loans and Encroachment Permits, and in other City policies and ordinances on issues such as banner permits, signage, encroachment in the right of way, and special service districts.

Please check out the permit instructions below! The instructions should provide a clear understanding on the opportunities for placing art on city property or in the Right of Way, and the application process for those opportunities.

Table of Contents


Starting a Public Art Project

Here is a list of helpful questions to consider while developing a public art project.

Determine the Property Owner!

Before submitting an application, applicants need to determine whether desired locations are City property or within the right of way. Desired locations could alsobe on private property, Hennepin County property or on the property of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Projects proposed for the Midtown Greenway may be permitted by the City or County, but all are reviewed first by the Minneapolis Arts Commission.


Contact us early in your planning process!

To find out whether your desired locations require City approval, which policies may affect your proposal, which review bodies need to be involved, and what the review timeline may be, contact the City's Public Arts Administrator, Mary Altman.


Most applications are approved!

One of the main purposes of the review process is to educate applicants about technical issues that need to be addressed in order for their projects to be successful. The Arts Commission and its Public Art Advisory Panel often make recommendations to the applicant to strengthen their projects, including ideas like:


Check out The Placemaking Hub!

It's a one-stop-shop with information on how communities and neighborhoods can enhance and beautify their streets and public spaces.



Public Art Permits for 2017

1) Paint The Pavement Projects

These projects allow artistic paintings on sidewalks and residential street intersections! Apply for these projects during the first two application cycles for the best results. The third application cycle is open to these applications, however be aware of the annual fall clean sweeps.

Paint the Pavement Instructions


2) Utility Box Projects

Most city-owned utility boxes operate traffic signals and are eligible for art. There are two options for placing art on utility boxes: Artist-Designed Utility Boxes AND Minneapolis Art Wraps.

Artist-Designed Utility Boxes:

These projects allow commissioned artists to create custom designs for utility boxes. Apply for these projects during any of the three application cycles.

Custom Utility Box Instructions

Minneapolis Art Wraps:

This is the quick and easy way to place art on utility boxes! Choose from one of the 12 pre-approved art wrap designs created by local artists. Applications are accepted ALL YEAR and are not limited to the three application cycles.

Art Wrap Instructions


3) Other Art Projects!

Do you have a different idea? The City also permits a variety of other public art projects such as: artistic banners, bike racks, sculptural works, benches, waste containers, murals, mosaics, etc. These projects may be proposed for City property (like a City-owned building or lot), OR within the city's Right of Way. Apply for these projects in any of the three application cycles!

Art Permit Instructions



Application Cycles

All projects must submit applications during one of the three application cycles!

(Does NOT include the Art Wrap option for Utility Boxes)

Art Permit Timeline 2017Cycle 1Cycle 2Cycle 3
Pre-Application DueApril 7June 9August 11
Confirmation of Eligible SiteApril 21June 23August 25
Arts commission Application DueApril 26June 28August 30
Public Art Advisory Panel MeetingMay 3July 5September 6
Arts Commission MeetingMay 17July 19September 20
Applicant NotifiedMay 18July 20September 21
Encroachment Permit Materials DueMay 19July 21September 22
Applicant Receives PermitJune 2August 4October 6
Earliest Start DateJune 3August 5October 7



Application Forms, Examples, and Helpful Tools!


Pre-Application Example

Utility box pre-application example

Letter of Support Example

VARA artist waiver

Final design example

Scale rendering & context photo example

Certificate of general liability example

Letter of Credit Example


Helpful Tools:

Check the locations eligibility

state road map

traffic signals map


Need Help Finding a Neighborhood Organization or Special Service District?


Materials, can I use this?


Encroachment and Obstruction Permits


Application Forms:

Utility Box Eligibility Form

Custom Art

Paint the Pavement

Artist Designed Utility Box

Art Wrap and Art Wrap Design Selection Table

Consent Form


Last updated Apr 3, 2017



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