Toledo has an impressive collection of public art, with large-scale sculptures, murals, and functional structures by noted artists from across the country.
About Public Art
Toledo, Ohio has an impressive collection of public art, with large-scale sculptures, murals, and functional structures by noted artists from across the country. Many of these pieces were acquired through the pioneering 1977 ordinance that set aside one percent of Toledo's Capital Improvement Budget for the purchase, conservation, and public education of art.
The program is administered by The Arts Commission through its Art in Public Places Program, which acquires, conserves and restores the collection. This administration also includes the education of the community related to the understanding and enjoyment of public art.
Toledo was the first city in Ohio to adopt a One Percent for Art program. The 1977 ordinance served as a model for Ohio's Percent for Art program, administered by the Ohio Arts Council, which began in 1990.
Founded in 1959 as the City Culture Commission, The Arts Commission compiled the city’s first comprehensive local arts calendar beginning in 1960. By the end of the decade, the organization was brought under the City’s Division of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry to aid in public art investments at Crosby Gardens (now Toledo Botanical Gardens).
In 1977 significant legislation passed that cemented The Arts Commission’s role in the community with the founding of the City of Toledo’s One Percent for Art program. Overseen by The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Committee, the program allocates a portion of City funds for public art. Toledo’s One Percent for Art program was the first in Ohio, among the first in the nation, and has since served as the adopted model for other regional agencies. It continues to this day and features an impressive collection of public art with work from more than 40 local, national, and international artists installed in nearly every neighborhood in the city.
Inspiring a Vibrant Toledo
Toledo Art in Public Places Field Guide
Explore Toledo's Public Art Collection
The Arts Commission's Art in Public Places program announces a new Public Art Field guide. Over 60 pieces of public art is included in this 33 page guide to City owned work as well as featured pieces from publicly accessible sculptures in other collections. A print version is in production and will be available very soon. A downloadable version is available at the link below.
Toledo Concourse Murals Project
Two new murals are scheduled for installation starting September 28th. Local artist, Ken Dushane, is installing his mural "On The Wings" in the lower concourse entrance to Imagination Station starting the 28th and Los Angeles artist Timothy Smith installs his yet unnamed mural in the Vistula parking garage concourse starting October 20. Both projects are part of a larger suite of mural projects slated as part of Momentum Festival.
Summit St. Public Art Project
The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Program, in partnership with ProMedica, has commissioned a new construction project along the Summit Street corridor in Downtown Toledo. The project request for qualifications sought artists with experience in integrating public art into infrastructure projects. After a formal review, the Summit Street Corridor finalists have been selected. They are Susan Zoccola (Seattle), Studio Hou de Sousa (NY) and Jason Klimoski (Brooklyn). These three finalists will be paid $2,500 to develop a proposal for the site which will entail a project budget of $175,000. The site for this project is a new, pedestrian friendly island that includes a park-like setting located between Adams and Madison. All work for this project is expected to be completed by June 2021.
Toledo Roundabouts Public Art Project
Artist Team: RDG Planning and Design
The City of Toledo, The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and Mercy Health have partnered to commission public art for newly constructed roundabouts as part of the Cherry Legacy Project at the intersections of Berdan Ave., Detroit Ave., Cherry St. and Manhattan Blvd in Toledo OH. On October 30, 2018, The Arts Commission’s, Art in Public Places Program, launched a nationwide request for qualifications. Over 60 submissions were received. Three finalists / teams for the project were selected: Haddad | Drugan of Seattle, Koryn Rolstad of Seattle and RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines IA. RDG Planning and Design's proposal titled "Vessel" was selected.
New Public Art Commission: Close, Closer, Closest
Artist: Randy Walker
"Close, Closer, Closest" includes approximately 350 colorfully painted steel poles representing houses in the immediate neighborhood. The poles stand in a small garden shaped to mimic Close Park’s shape. The poles vary in height and color determined by members of the community. Like the park, the Close, Closer Closest is an interactive life-filled space that changes as it is experienced from different vantage points and as one moves through and around it from season to season.
Veteran's Glass City Skyway Lighting
The Arts Commission worked with the Ohio Department of Transportation and lighting contractors, HLB, to commission lighting sequences from local artists to be added to the schedule of the newly upgraded lighting system on the Veteran’s Glass City Skyway. All of the selected artists are local to Toledo and include Brien Strancar, Natalie Lanese, Gail Christofferon, Imani Lateef and Anthony McCarty. Twelve total designs were developed for the bridge. The designs rotate nightly with special shows for patriotic holidays, highway safety week and other significant dates.
Public Art Collection
Arch With Wedge
Are You Nutty?
Art Tatum Celebration Column
Artifacts of Childhood
Close, Closer, Closest
Clouds of Joy
Fire Station No. 13
From Where I'm From
General James Steedman
Harvard Circle Fountain
High Level Bridge
Houses in Motion
I Got It!
Kids Art in the Park
Lettuce Turnip the Beet
Little Red Fox
Main Entry Gates
Monument to a Tree
Never Does Nature Say One Thing and Wisdom Another
President William McKinley
Revitalization of Man
Richard T. Gosser Memorial
Serve and Protect
Silence and Rust
Small Park with Arches
Soliloquy on the Origins of Aboriginal Abstractions
Strongman the Bike Protector
Toledo Spain Mural
Tower of Light
Union Memorial Park
Viet Nam Peace Arch - Memorial and Plaza
Walbridge Park Arch
Watching for the Wind
Woman with Birds
You Are Beautiful / You Are Doing Great
Conservation and Maintenance
The City of Toledo has charged The Arts Commission with the oversight of its One Percent for Art collection. The Arts Commission through its Art in Public Places (APP) Program maintains and conserves this group of more than 80 original public art works. The APP program utilizes highly skilled maintenance technicians and qualified fine art conservators to complete projects that range from routine washing and waxing to major conservation overhauls. The Arts Commission is proud to serve the City of Toledo in this way and works diligently to ensure the collection remains in the best possible condition.
Public Art Education
The ABCs of Public Art
The ABC’s of Public Art is an alphabet book that features the City of Toledo’s rich public art collection. This beautifully produced publication has been created as a service of the educational component of the City of Toledo’s One Percent for Art Program and is available for free to interested parents, teachers and/or mentors of young children. Anyone who is interested in receiving a copy should contact The Arts Commission for more information. The publication has been distributed through a number of literacy and outreach programs including Reach out and Read, Read for Literacy, Toledo Museum of Art Family Center and Early Intervention MRDD.
City of Toledo
Inspiring vibrant spaces - together.
The Arts Commission is proud to partner with the City of Toledo to inspire a vibrant sense of place and community. Since 1977, The Arts Commission has managed the One Percent for Art public art program on behalf of the City of Toledo. The program is the first public art program of its kind in Ohio and served as the model for the state's own program.
The following language is that which appears in the Toledo Municipal Code defining the process for which public murals are to be approved by the City of Toledo. This process was put in place not to hinder the growth of public art in the community, but to protect the artwork and to help ensure the investment of artists and businesses owners who wish to create public mural projects so that they may be preserved and enjoyed for years to come.
Murals are an integral part of the cultural expression in the City of Toledo. Murals will be created by artists of diverse cultural traditions and backgrounds. The intent is to aid artists and others in understanding issues surrounding the creation of a mural and to apprise parties involved in mural projects of the permit process. All conservation and restoration will be the responsibility of the property owner.
All murals which are on public property or visible from a public thoroughfare within the City of Toledo must receive prior permit approval from the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. Artists or community groups who want to paint murals must obtain permission from the property owner. Murals on public or private property without permission of the property owner will be illegal and punishable by law. The conservation and the maintenance of the murals will be the responsibility of the property owner. This ordinance will not permit any type of illegal sign, irrespective of artistic content. The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo will be responsible for administering the Murals Program.