The International Award for Public Art (IAPA) was initiated in 2011 by the College of Art and Design, University of Shanghai (now SAFA), in partnership with two international journals devoted to contemporary public art – Public Art magazine (China) and Public Art Review (United States). The research, jury process and award ceremony are now overseen by the Institute for Public Art (IPA) which is a partnership between Network for Public Art Ltd and Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA).
Executive group of IPA and IAPA:
Lewis BIGGS, Chair, IPA and Network for Public Art Ltd. (UK); Prof WANG DaWei, Director, Network for Public Art Ltd.; Jack Becker, Director, Network for Public Art Ltd.; Vice-Dean JIN JiangBo, Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA); Diane DEVER, Director, Network for Public Art Ltd.
John McCORMACK (Auckland); Derrick CHERRIE (Brisbane); Jay PATHER (Cape Town);
Associates (former Jurors): Katia CANTON (Sao Paulo); Rhana DEVENPORT (Adelaide); Tamsin DILLON (New York); Fulya ERDEMCI (Istanbul); Chelsea HAINES (New York); Yuko HASEGAWA, (Tokyo); Mary Jane JACOB, (Chicago); Bill KELLEY Jr. (Mexico); Ute META BAUER (Singapore); Jasmeen PATHAJAR, (Bangalore); Pooja SOOD (New Delhi).
The Award acknowledges the highest achievement in public art with a focus on art-led urbanism / place-making / community building / social practice. The Award draws attention to the major contribution made by artists around the world to the quality of life, our shared environments and the importance of developing space to nurture citizenship and public wellbeing.
The Award recognises a specific art-led urban project (not a person or a practice. A representative of the art project team is invited to accept the Award on behalf of the team).
In addition to recognising and celebrating quality, a primary goal of the Award is to stimulate debate about the value, articulation and qualities of public spaces among artists and allied professions, and among decision-makers in urban planning and design.
A related goal is education, supported by the sharing of information about projects, best practices, and innovative work around the world.
Although there is a single Award, the focus of the process is on creating visibility for a range of projects within each of the seven global regions defined. The jurors recognised that the theory and practice of public art is very different in different cultural contexts, and therefore they select a 'highly commended' project from each of the seven regions.
The IAPA 2021 award ceremony took place in January 2022 in Qingdao, China, the overall winner was Teeter Totter Wall.
The Sixth IAPA will be awarded at the end of 2023.
Previous overall winners of the Award have been Tiuna el Fuerte Cultural Park in Caracas, Venezuela, (awarded 2013, Shanghai, China); Talk to Me, New Delhi and other locations in India (awarded 2015, Auckland, New Zealand); Pimp My Carroça, São Paulo, Brazil, 2012 (awarded 2017, Hong Kong, SAR China); Perception, Cairo, Egypt, 2016 (awarded 2019, Shanghai, China).
No, it does not. However, the Awards do bring international recognition - and work - to members of the team awarded. And it's clear that even to be short-listed by the jurors for the Award draws favourable attention to a practice, and this will in turn lead to future commissions, grants, or career opportunities for members of the short-listed teams. There will continue to be considerable global demand for public art and artists involved with place-making in the next decade, especially in developing regions. Projects considered of sufficient excellence for review by the IAPA jury are gathered on the website - currently more than 500 case studies are available to view.
- Artworks / projects must have been completed within a seven year period ending 1 January of the year in which the Award research and jury process takes place. For the 2023 Award, for instance, projects should have been completed between 1 January 2016 and 1 January 2023. (They may have been initiated earlier – maybe many years earlier.)
- Artworks / projects may be long-term or temporary provided they demonstrably contribute to place-making or community building. This focus favours projects that have a long-term impact, and the judges will seek evidence from the research process concerning the on-going strength of the project’s impact on the community, neighbourhood or environment.
- Art led urbanist projects in any location by artists of any culture and nationhood are eligible. Ephemeral, audio and cyber projects are eligible provided they fulfil the award criteria
The Award will recognize a project of art-led urbanism (not an individual artist, although the contribution of the artist to the work of the project team is clearly fundamental to the concept of the award). The recognition provided by the Award is intended to benefit all the collaborating partners in the project. Criteria for the award include the following:
- Completed within a 7 year period leading to the Award process (see eligibility criteria box).
- Demonstrates excellence in art-led urbanism, place-making, community building, or social practice (concept, narrative, engagement etc).
- Reflects best practices, innovative design, and high-quality execution (technical, material, aesthetic).
- Demonstrates highly positive impact, potentially long-term, on the area in which it’s sited.
IPA seeks nominations for the Award from its network of independent unpaid experts, as well as accepting nominations from artists, arts administrators, arts organizations, and the general public, provided the nominations adequately describe the project nominated.
Before research is undertaken, nominations are subject to preliminary screening by the IPA for duplication, non-compliance, and appropriateness.
Paid Researchers are contracted and managed by the IPA to gather data and write case studies on the nominated projects. This research feeds the Award jury process; through this website, it also disseminates information about, and promotes, the projects researched. Please see the page ‘Awards Process’ for a fuller description.
Please see, for example, the projects so far commended by the jurors in previous awards. The following projects would also qualify for the jurors’ interest if they had not been ineligible by being completed more than seven years prior to the award:-
Maya Lin, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC (1981)
Lily Yeh, Village of Arts and Humanities, Philadelphia (1986-2004)
Some artists led parts of Millennium Park, Chicago (2004)
Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses, Houston (ongoing, established in 1993)
Peter Eisenmann and Buro Happold, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin (2005)
Luis and Juan Pelaez, Plaza de Cisneros, Medellin (2005)
IPA forms a Jury of seven experts (artists, curators, academics, Biennial directors, public art agency directors) to contribute their experience and cultural perspective from the seven geographic regions (see opening paragraph above). Jurors may be invited as a result of the excellence of the nominations they have put forward.
The Jury selects a shortlist of around 35 projects from the 140 case studies researched. It then chooses one project from each region to be ‘commended’, one of which is selected as the Awarded project.
Nominations are accepted until 31 December of the year before that in which the research and jury process takes place.
For the 2023 Award, the research takes place during the spring of 2023, and nominations close 31 December 2022.
To nominate an artwork, please complete the nomination form online here. If you have any issues with the form, or you have any questions about completing it, please get in touch directly at [email protected].
1. OCEANIA (Australasia & Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia)
2. EAST & SOUTHEAST ASIA (China, Mongolia, HK, TW, Korea N&S, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore)
3. WEST, CENTRAL & SOUTH ASIA ('Beirut to Bangladesh' including the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Kazakhstan, central Asian republics)
4. EURASIA (including the Russian Federation)
6. LATIN AMERICA (including the Caribbean)
7. NORTH AMERICA (USA, Canada)