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Culver City Art in Public Places Program


Public art can contribute to defining a city’s identity and to unifying a city’s vision. Culver City’s Art in Public Places Program (also referred to as Public Art Program) was established by Ordinance in 1988, with the view that cultural and artistic resources will:

  • Enhance the quality of life within a city;
  • Increase real property values; and,
  • Stimulate economic development.

By engaging the urban landscape, Culver City’s Public Art Program brings the experience of art to a broad and diverse group of people. The goal of the program is to balance the community’s physical growth and revitalization with its cultural and artistic resources, resulting in improving the general welfare of the City, and increasing the availability of art to the public.

New residential development projects of five (5) or more units, and all commercial, industrial and public building development projects (with certain exceptions) with building valuations* exceeding $500,000, and rehabilitations exceeding $250,000, are subject to the City’s public art requirement. The art requirement can be met in one of four ways:

  1. By placing an approved art work with a minimum value of one percent of the total building cost on the site; or

  2. By having the building architecture (or component thereof) be considered art for purposes of fulfilling the City’s public art requirement; or

  3. By paying one percent of the total building cost into the Art Fund; or

  4. By donating art work which values at least one percent of the total building cost to the City.
Options B, C, and D all require City approval (at the staff level, from the Cultural Affairs Commission and in some instances, from the City Council). Option B (the option of having the building architecture be considered art), also includes stringent review of the project design by a peer panel.

Developers whose projects are subject to fulfillment of the Art in Public Places requirement, must complete and submit an application form together with their project plans (either through the Building & Safety Division or the Planning Division). If the developer chooses to pay the 1% in lieu fee to the Art Fund, please be advised that this must be done prior to issuance of a Building Permit.

Developers who choose to commission original art work or have the building’s architecture (or a component thereof) considered as art, are advised to meet as early as possible with the City’s Public Art Coordinator. The design development and approval process can take from three to six months, depending on the complexity and size of the project, and in many instances the public art component may need to be included in construction drawings submitted to the City for Plan Check. No final Certificate of Occupancy will be issued until the art requirement has completed.

Art work on both private and public property becomes part of the permanent public art collection and diversity within that collection is highly encouraged. Public art can incorporate elements that also serve a specific function (such as windows, railings, lights or gates) but in order to be considered public art, they must be designed by a professional visual artist and custom fabricated for the site.

To date, there are nearly 80 pieces of public art in Culver City. Approximately half are on private property and the other half on public (City) owned property. In the summer of 2005, City staff began inventorying all pieces of art work commissioned through the Art in Public Places Program with the goal of making it publicly available at all times. The collection can be browsed either by artist’s last name, location, or by date of the art work.

For additional information about the Art in Public Places Program, please contact:

Christine Byers
Public Art & Historic Preservation Coordinator
9770 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 253-5776 (direct)
(310) 253-5779 (fax)

*The minimum percent for public art contribution is based on the valuation as appears on the City-issued Building Permit.