About the Public Art Archive



The Public Art Archive™ (PAA™) is a totally free, continually growing, online and mobile database of completed public artworks. Launched in 2009, the growth of the PAA is made possible through a variety of initiatives.

• PAA supports the standardization and adoption of best practices in cataloging public art.

• PAA database unites records from public art organizations and artists into one comprehensive    resource.

• PAA raises awareness about the value of public art and advocates for public artists.

• PAA helps make it possible for stakeholders to advance the professionalism of public artists and    practitioners in allied fields.



The Public Art Archive is unlike any other resource of its kind.
Here's why:

• Totally free to contribute to and interact with from your desktop, tablet or mobile device.

• Managed by a team of curators, public art administrators, information specialists, web developers,    graphic designers, and arts advocates.

• A program supported by a 40-year old nonprofit arts service organization, the Western States Arts    Federation (WESTAF). Learn more at www.westaf.org.

• Currently home to almost 12,000 artworks, representing over 1,000 collections, with over 30,000    images.

• Every copyright holder retains their rights for any data and media that the Archive displays.    WESTAF retains copyright over the compilation that is the Public Art Archive™ service.

• Built on a standardized and highly rigorous metadata structure and controlled taxonomies to    describe artworks in a consistent manner. Providing accurate documentation is a main goal of this    database.

• Integrated with Google Maps, which allows for advanced mapping features for virtual or on foot    exploration.

• Searchable with filters that aid in research and education.




The Current Scope of Documentation:

The Public Art Archive recognizes the wide variety of practices and forms that public art takes. Thus, every submission to the database must fit into both of the following criteria.

• Public works of art that are publicly viewable.

• Sanctioned artworks commissioned, placed, or displayed through a commissioning process or    acquired through an official acquisition process.

Beyond that, there are no requirements regarding the following criteria:

• Worktype

• Duration

• Funding or ownership


What is Public Art?



WESTAF Public Art Archive Map © Kenny Be












While there are many existing definitions of public art, the following guidelines, from The Practice of Public Art, by Cameron Cartiere and Shelly Willis (Cartiere, Cameron and Shelly Willis, ed. The Practice of Public Art. Routledge, 2008, p.15) is the standard definition that PAA uses to determine if the artwork fits the criteria.

Public art is art outside of museums and galleries and must fit within at least one of the following categories:

in public: in a place accessible or visible to the public

public interest: concerned with or affecting the community or individuals

public place: maintained for or used by the community or individuals

publicly funded: paid for by the public

When an artwork’s eligibility for inclusion in the Archive is unclear, final determination will be made by the Public Art Archive staff.



You Can Contribute, Adding Your Collection is Free and Easy.

PAA accepts content submissions to the Archive from both collection managers and artists. Everything you need to get started can be found on the Guide Page on the Public Art Archive. The PAA team works with individuals to advise on how to tackle this sometimes overwhelming project. We do the data entry for you at your pace.


Showcase Your Collection!

Once your collection is in the database, you may choose to subscribe to the Collection Showcase feature for $750 annually.

This feature will allow you to:

• Generate a website instantly

• Reinforce your brand

• Customize multimedia content as often as you’d like

• Connect people on the go with your collection through the mobile PAA site

• Simplify your work

• Integrate social media channels to drive traffic to your website

• Encourage and publicize exploration of your collection






Stay Up-to-Date.

Join the PAA mailing list.

Follow @PAArchive on Twitter, "like" the Facebook page, and follow our Tumblr Blog.

Connect to PAA Mobile™.

Find public art near you on the go with PAA Mobile. Take a virtual tour, learn more about the artwork you see every day, and experience public art while you’re on the move, for free!

PAA Mobile

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Checkout the FAQ pages here

Follow Us