City of Council Bluffs, Iowa
Public Art Master Plan

Council Bluffs Master Plan

Project overview
Public Art & Practice, LLC, spearheaded the planning process of a Public Art Master Plan for the City of Council Bluffs by guiding local civic leaders (Stakeholder Committee).

The Stakeholder Committee was charged to incorporate Council Bluffs' unique cultural, historical, and geographic characteristics into the creation of a philosophical and procedural public art guide. Specifically, the Committee created a vision statement, identified and prioritized appropriate locations for public art, the appropriate scale and type for each identified site, and determined the art selection process for this program. The members served as proxies for the community and their participation and guidance were invaluable to the creation of the Public Art Master Plan.

This planning process culminated with the Stakeholder Committee determining a system to select artists and acquire specific works of art. The Committee approved a Public Art Review and Selection Process that included the creation of an Artist Selection Panel. The Panel is comprised of 5-7 arts professional and community leaders who were selected to advise or recommend the 1) scope and project criteria for each art location, 2) budgets for each art location, 3) method(s) for soliciting artists, 4) adjudication of competitive proposals, 5) critical aesthetic judgments regarding each site, and 6) on which artist(s) should receive commissions.

Once finished, the Plan provided a flexible guide for commissioning professional artists to create works of art that are contextual and complement existing architecture and spaces and/or become members of future design teams. Artists are encouraged to create both wayfinding opportunities (iconic art utilized as key focal points to use for city navigation) and placemaking, (environments where residents and visitors can congregate to celebrate community events or enjoy quiet contemplation).

The Public Art Master Plan's first four sites are complete - Haymarket Square, Bayliss Park, the Mid-America Center, and the 24th Street Bridge.