2.3 Writing an artist brief


A clear and concise artist's brief is essential for a successful public art commission. In order for the artist to respond to the initial project idea they will need to know the project's aims, budget and timescale. As with the partners project summary it will be used again to guide the project upon the selection and contraction of the artist.

Artists possess a wide range of skills beyond their immediate artistic skills and can work in numerous ways so it is important to take this into consideration when developing the brief.

Public art is about more than physical form, it can be used to instigate change, inspiration, connections and shape people's views and perceptions. It can be a tool for debate, discussion, regeneration, intervention or celebration. An artist's role might include project management, running community workshops, undertaking a residency, developing research or consultation.

With all the potential outcomes and processes it is vital for the artist to understand from the brief what exactly is expected of them, their role should be clearly established from the outset. A brief should be clear and informative without being overly prescriptive; an artist should be able react to it with a range of ideas and proposals.


Checklist for artist's brief

What the artist role will be (including creative inputs)

Background to the project, including any relevant information on the site/ community/ issues.

Details of who will be managing the project.

Details of partners involved.

Details of local community involvement/engagement as well as establishing who will be responsible for this.

Timescale for the project, including any key dates.

Details of the artist selection and interview process (including dates)

Budget, including where the funding is coming from.

Any potential restrictions or limitations (including planning permission if known) related to the project.

Maintenance or durability requirements for (permanent long term works)

Clarification of work ownership

Evaluation and documentation requirements.

Examples of artist briefs are available at: