Mission & History

enhancing the cultural vibrancy of communities

UrbanArt Commission (UAC) is a non-profit organization committed to enhancing the cultural vibrancy of communities through the development of public art. 

About Us

Founded in 1997, UAC worked to establish the percent-for-art program with the City of Memphis, which annually allocates a percentage of the City’s capital improvement funds to public art projects.

The program was ultimately adopted in 2002, and since then UAC has contracted annually with the City to manage the program. UAC’s management includes recommending projects to pursue, identifying and contracting with artists and overseeing the ongoing care of the City’s public art collection. 

Annually through the percent-for-art program, UAC partners with artists and a variety of community stakeholders including neighborhood groups and municipal authorities to produce art works that include a wide range of media. Since its founded in 1997, UAC has commissioned over 100 works of art that have been placed in neighborhoods around Memphis. 

Beyond the percent-for-art program, UAC also manages and is a leading partner on City-led initiatives such as Blight Out, Memphis 3.0, and the District Mural Program, and manages projects for both private developers and businesses to augment the investment being made in our public infrastructure and our artist community. Additionally, UAC is focused on providing professional development opportunities for artists in partnership with other arts groups in the city. 

UAC is committed to racial equity and inclusion and aims to partner with and involve women, people of color, LGBTQIA individuals, differently abled persons, and indigenous peoples across all of its projects and programs. 

UAC staff is available to make presentations to neighborhood groups on topics that include: UAC’s public art process, UAC’s current projects and programs, public art history, blight, and arts advocacy. Please contact info@urbanartcommission.org to request an UAC presentation at your institution or gathering, or for more information about UAC projects or programs. 

Funding & Donations

UAC is funded in part by ArtsMemphis, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Hyde Family Foundation, Assisi Foundation of Memphis, First Tennessee, AutoZone, Plough Foundation, Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, and donations from private individuals.

UAC is an active member of Americans for the Arts, Tennesseans for the Arts, the Public Art Network, and the Greater Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce. All donations to UAC are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.