Downtown Public Art

Established in 2015 by City Council, Downtown Rocky Mount Public Art seeks to create a rich, diverse, environment that reflects, celebrates and invites all to experience the arts.

What is Public Art?

A distinguishing characteristic of great cities is the interweaving of art into the urban fabric. Public Art is artwork in the public realm, and can include all types of objects, from sculptures, paintings and mosaics to manhole covers, paving patterns and other functional elements created by an artist. Public Art creates a sense of space and improves the quality and design of buildings, streetscapes and public places, giving a stronger feeling of identity.

With over 350 public art programs in North America that actively commission artists to create public art there are many approaches to Public Art. The traditional approach of placing stand-alone sculptures, murals or other artworks in buildings, plazas or parks is one methodology. Another is to blur the boundaries between art, architecture and landscape, allowing artists to work as part of the project design team with the architects, engineers and landscape architects.

Rocky Mount is among the great cities that uses public art to inspire, educate, beautify and give character to public places. A Downtown Public Arts Commission was established and, together along with city staff, developed policies for the development of artwork that creates a unique image and sense of place for Rocky Mount. Through the public art process, we celebrate historic events or people, and provide opportunities to facilitate our community values of inclusion, civic pride, cultural diversity and appreciation of the creative spirit.

Please review the Art in Public Spaces Ordinance prior to filling out the Public Art Application

Please submit any questions about downtown public art electronically to Alicyn Wiedrich, Curator Maria V. Howard Arts Center at

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