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Glossary of Terms



GSA: The General Services Administration (GSA) is a federal agency that commissions public art throughout the United States, applying a portion of new federal building projects to new works of art. 



Invitational Competition: A process that provides the opportunity for submission of proposals for a project to selected artists who are invited to apply. In Minnesota, the Artist Registry at the Minnesota State Arts Board is a place that invitationals draw upon for potential invited artists. Forecast also maintains a database of qualified artists for invitationals.




LED: Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a relatively new form of energy-efficient lighting. LED lights use less energy and last many times longer than conventional light fixtures.

LEED Certification: A nationally adopted certification designation awarded to buildings meeting energy efficiency standards, including the use of sustainable materials, cost-effective heating and cooling systems, and recycled materials. Artists working with architects and engineers are now asked to consider the environmental impact of their projects.


Maquette: A scale model of a proposed project, often used to help selection panels visualize the final product. More recently, computer-aided design (CAD) is utilized more frequently to adequately visualize proposed projects.


National Association of Development Organizations: (NADO) provides advocacy, education, peer exchanges and research for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities. NADO can be a great resource for how programs affect small and rural communities and provide information about how a public art project can integrate with a larger community development project.

New Media: A general term used to describe new directions in art utilizing technology, video, projection computers, the Internet, geo-locational devices, and other recently developed tools and technology, typically of an electronic nature. New media public art often involves interactive technology and audience-activated artwork.

Nonprofit Organization: While much of the public art in the US is funded through government agencies, there are a number of nonprofit arts organizations that support artists working in the public realm, or engaging in community arts activities. Recognized as educational service or presenting organizations by the IRS as tax-exempt, nonprofits are generally supported through individual donations, government and foundation grants, memberships and earned income. In Minnesota there are several nonprofits engaged in public art, including Forecast Public Art, Public Art Saint Paul, Juxtaposition Arts, Intermedia Arts, Kulture Klub and others.



Open Competition: A process in which a public art opportunity is promoted broadly within a region or nationally. A selection process is used to determine an artist to commission. This method can employ an RFP or RFQ process, however RFPs are no longer considered ethical by most artists.


Featured Article

Public Art Review Issue 38SERVICE MEDIA: Community as Collaborator

How can artists engage others beyond the accepted aesthetic norms of public art? This engaging and collaborative form of public art, which I call "service media," is very different from typical group object-building art workshops, not to mention the simple plopping of a statue on the square. And it is gaining ground.

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Featured Image

1000 Print Summer1,000 Print Summer

Artist Dave Machacek facilitated printmaking workshops at public festivals throughout the state, using a small steamroller as a printing press.