City of Philadelphia Public Art Director: Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, City of Philadelphia

The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) seeks a Public Art Director (“Director”) to steward the City of Philadelphia’s Public Art collection of over 1000 works, believed to be one of the largest and oldest city-owned collections in the United States. Located in indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the city, this extraordinary collection reflects Philadelphia’s rich history, diverse communities, and Philadelphia’s long-standing commitment to the arts. The City of Philadelphia’s public art is located in every neighborhood and is one of the City’s greatest assets.

The Director is tasked with establishing and enforcing the City’s public art policies; ensuring that the requirements of the Percent for Art Ordinance are met; managing the process of commissioning new artworks as required by that ordinance; overseeing conservation and collection management; and performing research, fundraising, public relations, and communications functions pertaining to the City’s collection of public art.

The Director reports to the City of Philadelphia’s Chief Cultural Officer.


Percent for Art Program:

The Director oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the City’s Percent for Art Program.

  • Identifies capital-eligible projects for Percent for Art funding, implements the Percent for Art Ordinance as required, and manages artist competitions;
  • Works with representatives of various City departments, site representatives, project architects, and community representatives to discuss the building design, site plans, materials, artwork locations and aesthetics to successfully integrate artwork into each site;
  • Develops and distributes all Requests for Qualifications and Request for Proposals;
  • Works with the internal City operating departments to develop the contracts and ensure compliance with equal opportunity goals;
  • Oversees the assembly of the Percent for Art Committee for each public art commission that is responsible for the selection of the artists and the artworks.
  • Facilitates the integration of the art project with the design and construction process;
  • Manages ongoing correspondence, meetings, and approval of artwork at specific milestones; and
  • Facilitates conversation with the public through community engagement events such as workshops, virtual and in-person meetings, open houses, and surveys.

Conservation and Collection Management:

The Director oversees the conservation and restoration of City-owned artwork.

  • Seeks capital and outside funding for conservation and restoration activities;
  • Drafts conservation Requests for Proposals, manages the contracting selection and implementation process;
  • Manages condition assessments, collection files, public art inventory databases and utilizes them for short and long-range project planning including future deaccessioning, conservation, and relocation;
  • Coordinates and manages conservation work as well as temporary and permanent relocation of City-owned public art;
  • Contracts with and oversees art handlers, riggers, and conservators;
  • Ensures the routine maintenance of the City’s collection of public art including emergency treatment, removal of graffiti and acts of vandalism to artwork; and
  • Ensures that conservation treatments and collection management activities are performed per scope of proposal and treatment report.

Donation Management:

The Director manages the policies and processes related to proposed donations of public art, memorials, and monuments to the City of Philadelphia.

  • Serves as the point of contact for organizations and individuals intending to establish memorials or other public art for placement on City-owned property; and
  • Liaise between the potential commissioning entities and the City Agencies and Commissions required to review and approve such proposals.


The Director will further foster the relationship between Philadelphians and the City’s public art collection.

  • Develop an accessible public facing database;
  • Responds to requests from the public and the media, providing information and raising awareness of the City-owned public art collection;
  • Updates and testifies before City Council on needs or projects related to public art;
  • Provides content and approves of public art related printed and digital material; and
  • Ensures public art related activities and news on the website is up-to-date and accurate.

Committee Participation: 

The Director participates in an advisory capacity on several committees.

  • Serves as City’s public art liaison to the Philadelphia Art Commission for the approval of artworks commissioned through the Percent for Art Program, and for conservation treatments and maintenance of existing city-owned artwork;
  • Acts as an advisor to the Philadelphia Art Commission regarding recommendations on the public art collection; and
  • Serves as staff to the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Committee – Public Art Subcommittee and to the Conservation Advisory Committee.


Demonstrated Knowledge of: 

  • Art in public spaces
  • Project management
  • Managing timelines and deliverables
  • Preparing and monitoring budgets
  • Computer and database literacy

Ability to: 

  • Multi-task and monitor multiple projects simultaneously
  • Communicate effectively (both written and verbal) for internal and external purposes and with communities
  • Problem-solve with limited supervision
  • Work effectively under pressure to meet deadlines and changing priorities
  • Excel in a fast-paced and demanding environment
  • Manage time efficiently and have excellent organizational skills
  • Demonstrate sound judgment and make informed decisions
  • Record, track, organize, and analyze data and documents

Training and Experience: Bachelor’s degree in relevant field required, Master’s degree preferred. A minimum of 6 years of administrative experience in public art, arts non-profit management, city planning, art history, curatorial work, creative industry, and/or government organization are required. Demonstrated proficiencies in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are also required. Experience in any or all of the following is a plus: conservation, history, education, research, cataloging, grant writing, community engagement, and willingness to work on a full range of tasks – from analytical to administrative-is a must.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements: Must be a Philadelphia resident, must be able to work remotely while COVID-19 restrictions are in place and to meet on-site at indoor and outdoor project locations throughout Philadelphia at various times. The possibility for additional evening or weekend hours will occur during program-heavy weeks. Candidate must pass a background check.

Physical and mental demands: Position requires a high level of mental concentration and commitment.

Compensation: This is a full-time exempt position with an annual salary range of $87,000-97,000. The City of Philadelphia offers a generous benefits package that includes medical insurance, prescription coverage, dental and optical coverage, flexible spending accounts, paid leave, life insurance, deferred compensation, and retirement benefits.

Education Level:
Bachelor’s degree in relevant field required, Master’s degree preferred.
To Apply

Please send a resume, 3 samples of previous projects you coordinated, 2 writing samples (one page each), and a cover letter to: with a subject line Public Art Director. Phone calls will not be accepted. Application materials are due April 23, 2021.