Submittable Spotlight: Public Art Organizations

Public art is meaningful for a number of reasons. Not only does it support community identity and pride, enhancing creative and aesthetic delight; public art also funds artistic ingenuity and enriches long-term civic value (both economic and perceived). Submittable’s social impact software is used by over forty organizations to facilitate public arts programming and services. We’re excited to spotlight five exceptional groups contributing in this regard to their community and visitors.

It’s worth noting that four of the following organizations (denoted by *) utilize percent-for-art programs to fund their public art endeavors. Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places, for example, was included in a New York Times article about percent-for-art ordinances in 27 states. These ordinances support public art projects by allocating a portion of construction or renovation project funding—usually around 1%—to the purchase and installation of artwork.

*MTA Arts & Design

Serving 8.7 million people that use New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subways and commuter trains, MTA Arts & Design is devoted to offering a museum-class art experience for commuters, with over 300 works created in mosaic, terra cotta, bronze, glass, and mixed-media sculpture. MTA Arts & Design also coordinates Music Under New York, Graphic Posters, Poetry in Motion, Digital Arts, the photographic Lightbox Project, special events, and industrial design projects.

Since 2016, MTA Arts & Design has used Submittable to facilitate 22 calls for public art—the organization has received over 5,700 submissions from 3,424 individual submitters.

MTA is North America’s largest transportation network and MTA Arts & Design was launched in the 1980s, in tandem with a large-scale rehabilitation program, to coordinate artists and the installation of permanent artwork. MTA Arts & Design has hosted artist calls for its NYC lines, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Railroad, and Staten Island Railway using Submittable. Currently, MTA Arts & Design is seeking projects in metal for MTA Metro-North Railroad’s Fulton Avenue and 3rd Avenue Bridges. This call closes on April 10, 2019, and the project budget of approximately $125,000 includes an artist fee of up to 20% of the final cost.

*Boston Arts and Culture Department

The City of Boston’s Arts and Culture Department is focused on enhancing “the quality of life, the economy, and the design of the City through the arts.” To this end, the department facilitates public art projects, artist fellowships, residencies, opportunity funding, organizational grants, artist awards and certification, and exhibition opportunities, among other types of programming. As part of the Arts and Culture Department, the Boston Arts Commission, founded in 1890, supports public art in the city’s civic spaces.

The City of Boston’s Arts and Culture Department has used Submittable among a team of 158 individuals to process 4,100 submissions since adopting the software in 2016.

The Arts and Culture Department has hosted public art calls through Submittable for the Engine 42 Fire Station, the Dudley Branch Library, the Vine Street Boston Center for Youth and Families, Boston City Hall, and the MLK and Coretta Scott King Memorial. Among so many innovative and valuable programs, one recent project is especially compelling. The Peters Park Art Wall in Boston’s South End was declared a legal graffiti wall in 1986 and in 2017, the Arts and Culture Department solicited proposals for a mural project seeking to honor and preserve the history of the Art Wall, in partnership with neighborhood associations.


The ARTS@MSP program, a partnership between the Airport Foundation MSP and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, was launched in 2008 to celebrate visual and performing arts at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Arts@MSP initiatives include art, music, and film programming, commissioned artwork, rotating exhibits, and art restoration to enhance the airport visitors’ experience (more than 37 million people per year) while highlighting what makes Minnesota unique.    

Arts@MSP began using Submittable in 2018 to coordinate airport exhibition proposals, art installations, and performing artist applications.

Arts@MSP recently ended a call for its Caribou MSP Airport North Terminal Art Installation. A partnership between Francicorp, Inc. and Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., Arts@MSP sought a two-dimensional wall installation design made of natural materials, 13 feet long by 9 feet high, for a forthcoming Caribou coffee house. A budget of $12,000 will support an individual or team in completing this project by mid-October of 2019. Arts@MSP also has an ongoing call for rotating exhibition proposals displayed in 15 locations throughout the airport.

*Miami-Dade Art in Public Places

A program of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs established in 1973, Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places works to transform public spaces through collaboration and creative arts projects aimed at enrichment, preservation, and “artistic and civic pride.” Miami-Dade Art in Public Places has acquired or commissioned over 700 artistic works through its Trust, including projects at the airport, zoo, parks, police stations, libraries, public housing developments, and as part of the Metrorail and Metromover stations.

Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places has received more than 3,500 submissions and used over 30 submissions forms since adopting Submittable software in 2016.

Miami-Dade Art in Public Places is highly-regarded, having been one of the first programs in the United States to commission fully integrated, site-specific works of public art. The organization also facilitates The Southern Florida Cultural Consortium Grant for visual and media artists, the largest regional, government-sponsored artists’ grant in the country. The Consortium has awarded over $4 million to more than 300 artists since it was established in 1988.

*Metro Arts

Started in 1978, Metro Nashville Arts Commission (or “Metro Arts) serves the city of Nashville and Davidson County. Metro Arts is dedicated to community arts access, working for Nashvillians directly through an extensive variety of endeavors including public art and placemaking programs, grants, and training and development opportunities.

Since they began using Submittable in 2016, Metro Arts has utilized 35 application forms, received over 1,000 submissions, and shared the platform between 32 team members.

The Metro Arts THRIVE program has funded over 600 Nashville-based arts and 120 projects within the community since it began in 2014. For the public art and placemaking category, up to $9500 and five awards are available per fiscal year. Another endeavor, Artwork in the Right-of-Way, allows individuals and organizations to partner with professional artists to generate public artwork proposals for locales such as signal box covers, sidewalks, and retaining walls. A recent national call for public artists received over 100 proposals and allocated $250,000 for design work on the 600-acre Southeast Davidson Regional Park.


Submittable is proud to support organizations like these with software that simplifies the administrative process. With Submittable, it’s easy to launch a call for artist proposals in just minutes. The review process is streamlined for even large juries and special features like Gallery are perfect for visually-focused campaigns. Submittable also engages a creative submitter network of over 600,000 individuals, making it easy to access talent with promotion services and Discover. Not to mention that Submittable’s customer experience team offers unparalleled technical support to submitters, as well as organizations, saving everyone time.

Interested in finding out more about how Submittable can serve your public arts initiatives? Please reach out anytime.

Header image sourced 
“Ventana Solar and Porton de Sentimientos”
Artist: Alves, Carlos
Artist Website: Carlos Alves Studios
Location: Tenth Street/Promenade Metromover Station, 2 / North Platform Canopy; 1 / Elevator Shaft
Medium: Mosaic and metal; in two parts

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is a Special Projects Editor at Submittable. She also writes and teaches poetry. Connect with her on LinkedIn.