City of Indio 

Public Art

The Public Art Division is an important part of contributing to the City of Indio’s social and cultural vibrancy. As part of our services, we endeavor to safeguard the cultural and historic resources of the community; celebrate the arts as an opportunity to enjoy and enrich community life; support our local arts community; provide world-class public art and cultural activities making the City of Indio a great place to live work, play and visit. 

The City of Indio is the oldest City in the Coachella Valley. Celebrating 75 years of incorporation, the City has a rich and diverse history. Art has played an important role in the City’s history by preserving our cultural heritage. Art can make a statement to all about who and what a city is, how it views itself, and how it is viewed by others. The Art in Public Places Program provides for the integration of artworks throughout the City in public and private development to enrich the social environment. 

The goals of the Art in Public Places Program (the “Program”) are to create an artistic harmony between the buildings, landscaping and open spaces as well as to serve the people of the community and visitors by bringing art into daily life. 

The City of Indio has prepared these guidelines to provide the public with the necessary information and requirements pertaining to the placement of art in accordance with the Program. 

Through its Public Art Ordinance, the City requires that its own Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), including the City Redevelopment Agency (RDA), and private development projects contribute a percentage of the overall project construction budget (excluding land costs) to enhancing the visual appeal of the project and the city. An Art in Public Places Fund was established as a depository for public art in lieu fees paid by City departments and private developers who elect not to participate in the program. Thus, this in lieu fee is not required or may be refunded if an artwork has been either placed on the development site or donated to the City. The in lieu fee remains in the Art in Public Places Fund for the use of artwork in the City. City generated funds may be pooled with other unspent funds and spent offsite upon the completion of the project. 

  • Program Requirements 

    No permanent or temporary Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued for any structure in the City unless the Art in Public Places requirements have been satisfied. Artwork located on private property shall remain the property of the owner. Ownership of the work will transfer to any successive owner of the property. Once the artwork has been accepted by the City and installed, it cannot be removed or altered without specific written approval of the Arts Commission. Projects subject to compliance are: All individual residential construction, rehabilitation or expansion with a building permit valuation of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more which is assessed and amount equal to one quarter of one percent (1/4%) for that portion in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. 

    • All other residential development, including two or more single-family dwellings being built concurrently in the same track by the same owner or contractor which is assessed an amount equal to one quarter of one percent (1/4%) of the total building valuation.

    • All public, industrial, or commercial development which is assessed an amount equal to one-half of one percent (1/2%) of the total building valuation, excluding land acquisition and off-site improvement costs.

    • The total building valuation is computed by using the latest Building Valuation Data as set forth by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO).

  • Developer Options 

    Several options are available to the private developer to meet the Program’s requirements. 

    1. Artwork On Site 

      Upon assessment of the public art fee, the Developer may elect to site a permanent public artwork as part of the development project. Using this option, the Developer may: 

      § Utilize the City’s artist registry to find artists; 

      § Select the artist directly; 

      § Hire a professional consultant to select artists to commission site-specific, architecturally integrated artworks; 

      § Purchase artworks for permanent placement. 

      Artworks may be: 

      § Singular; discrete objects (sculpture); 

      § Artist designed amenities (streetscapes, paving treatments, lighting standards and treatments, benches, wayfinders, architecturally integrated water features, artist designed landscape treatments or other artist-designed amenities or aesthetic treatments). 

      § Artworks must be located in publicly viewed locations. 

      § Upon completion and installation of the artwork on site, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued and the art fee will be returned to the Developer. 

      The Artwork On Site approach allows the Developer to: 

      § Maximize and return the outlay of art in lieu fees by bringing a signature artwork to the development as an identifying and prestige feature; 

      § Increase the scope of work of a particular project or feature within the development by using art allocations to supplement and enhance the budget, (for example, bringing an artist in to design an already budgeted water or entry feature); 

      § Keep the artwork on site. 
    2. Art Donated to the City of Indio 

      Upon assessment of the public art fee, the Developer may elect to purchase an existing artwork or commission an original artwork for donation to the City of Indio’s public art collection. Donations to the City are reviewed by the Art in Public Places Commission and City Council to determine the aesthetic quality of the donation, the work’s maintenance requirements and the appropriateness of the donation to the overall goals of the Art in Public Places Commission. 

      This approach allows the Developer to: 

      § Increase public awareness of the Developer and development as civic benefactors. 
    3. Fees In Lieu of Artwork 

      Upon assessment of the public art fee, the Developer may elect to pay the to the Art in Public Places Fund with no intention of placing artwork on site or donating a work of art to the City. Funds are subsequently used by the City of Indio and Art in Public Places Commission on publicly sited projects of their choosing. 

      This approach allows the Developer to: 

      § By-Pass completely the public art process.


  1. Eligible Public Art Location 

    Artwork may be placed in any of the following locations: 

    § On commercial or residential buildings and adjoining plazas, parks, sidewalks, traffic islands, public buildings, entrances to the development and similar public areas. 

    § On exterior spaces visible from public areas. 

    § On surface treatments of buildings, retaining walls, bridges, and bridge railings. The definition of “location” can also be expanded by an artist’s ability to extend the possibilities for public art, and would then be determined on a case-by-case basis. 

    § Projects can also include artist-designed features that might otherwise be provided by commercial sources such as gates, water fountains, tile and surface materials, doors, clocks, lighting fixtures, and railings. 

  2. Eligible Public Art Components 

    The Art in Public Places Program is receptive to the broadest definitions of art and encourages imaginative interpretations of media. The possible media and materials, which might be used for permanent or temporary installation, decorative or functional purpose, include: 

    § Sculpture: Free standing, wall supported or suspended; kinetic, electronic, etc., in any material or combination of materials. 

    § Painted and mosaic murals. 

    § Fiber works, (must be encased), neon, glass, mosaics, photographs, creative signage and architecture. 

    § Standardized fixtures such as gates, streetlights, signage, etc., may be contracted to artists for unique or limited editions.


  1. Eligible Costs 

    All artworks created by artists are considered eligible expenses for the Program, including the structures which enable the display of artwork. 

    The Artist’s budget for the artwork project may include: 

    § Professional fees for the artist(s). 

    § Labor of assistants, materials, and contracted services required for the production and installation of the artwork. 

    § Any required permit or certificate fees. 

    § Business and legal costs directly related to the artwork placement. 

    § Communication and other indirect costs (insurance, utilities). 

    § Travel expenses of the artist for site visitation and research. 

    § Transportation of the work of art to the site. 

    § Preparation of site to receive artwork. 

    § Installation of the completed work of art. 

    § Documentation (color slides and black and white photographs) of the artwork. 

  2. Ineligible Costs 

    § Directional elements such as supergraphics, signage, or color-coding except where these elements are integral parts of the original work of art. 

    § “Art objects” which are mass-produced of standard design such as playground equipment, fountains, or statuary objects. 

    § Reproductions, by mechanical or other means, of original works of art, except in cases of film, video, photography, printmaking or other media arts. 

    § Decorative, ornamental, or functional elements that are designed by the building architect as opposed to an artist commissioned for this purpose. 

    § Landscape architecture and landscape gardening except where these elements are designed by the artist and/or are an integral part of the work of art by the artist.


The following guidelines shall be considered for the placement or donation of artwork: 

§ Whether the art component will be concentrated in one area or distributed throughout the public spaces for which the artwork is intended. 

§ Whether the proposed project or artwork program is a collaborative effort with other developers or property owners. If so, specify the participants, responsibilities, and proposed arts budget allocation to non-arts components, if applicable. 

§ How will the art component function within the whole development? Will the artwork fill a space? Provide a landmark? Serve a function such as a gateway or setting? 

§ Who are the primary and secondary audiences for the artwork (pedestrians, building users, tourists, or automobile traffic)? 

§ How has the anticipated audience influenced the choice of artwork. 

§ How the artwork will conform to safety and other functional requirements. Who will assist on these requirements? 

§ The plans for fabrication and installation of the artwork. 

§ The needs and plans for ongoing maintenance or program development responsibilities. 


  1. Maintenance 

    All privately sited artworks shall remain the property of the owner for the life of the Certificate of Occupancy. Title and ownership of the artwork shall transfer in whole or in part to any successor in interest of the structure. The owner of the artwork shall provide all maintenance necessary to preserve the work in good condition. In addition, the owner of artwork shall maintain in full force and effect fire and extended insurance coverage, including but not limited to vandalism coverage, in a minimum amount of the purchase price of said artwork. Failure to maintain the artwork will make the owner subject to possible liens against the real property, should the City be required to maintain the artwork. 

  2. Removal or Alteration of the Work 

    Public art installed onto or integrated into a private construction project shall not be removed or altered without the approval of the City Council. If the art is removed or altered without prior approval from the Arts Commission, the Certificate of Occupancy may be revoked pursuant to section 109.6 of the California Building Code. In addition, if artwork is removed by the property owner without the approval of the Art In Public Places Commission, the City may require the owner to contribute funds equal to the original public art fees, or replace the work with another of equal value, as approved by the City.


General criteria for the selection of an art site include:

  1. Location, Installation and Identification 

    § Artworks for public and private projects must be located in an area, which is viewable to the public at all times. 

    § Installation of the artwork should be planned to complement the work and allow for unrestrained viewing from a variety of vantage points. 

    § Potential obstruction of growing trees, shrubbery, or future construction should be taken into account. 

    § The artwork shall be a permanent, fixed asset to the property. 

    § Each artwork shall be identified by a plaque stating the artist’s name, artwork title, and date the artwork was dedicated. The plaque will be placed in an appropriate location near the artwork that can be easily viewed by pedestrians. 

  2. Public Placement 

    § Artwork sites for public projects are selected for its aesthetic possibilities as recommended by the Arts Commission or by the City Council. 

    § Sites may include urban gateways, monument signs, vistas, public spaces and plazas or other exterior, publicly accessible places. 

    § Particular attention will be given to providing artwork at major intersections, corridors and entrances to the City. 

    § Artwork sites for Capital Improvement Projects including RDA projects or private donations may include public facilities such as the Civic Center, Senior Center, schools, parks and recreation buildings or other sites as appropriate. 

  3. Private Placement 

    § On-Site: The artwork shall be displayed in one or more of the following locations on the site of the commercial structure: 

    • Architecturally integrated into the structure or hardscape. 
    • Placed as a discrete object in any exterior location open and available to the public, in a manner, which complements the artwork and site.

    § Off-Site: At the request of the applicant for a Certificate of Occupancy, the artwork may be located on a site other than that of the development provided, however, that the site be selected by the Art In Public Places Commission and approved by the City Council.


  1. Selection Criteria for Artists 

    General criteria for the Arts Commission or developer to consider in selecting artists for public or private projects should include: 

    1. The aesthetic and technical quality and originality of the artist’s previous work as evidenced by slides and other supporting materials; 

    2. The artist’s previous experience with public art projects of a similar scale and scope; 

    3. The artist’s demonstrated ability to execute and complete a project in a timely and professional manner; 

    4. The appropriateness of the artist’s proposal to the particular project and its probability of successful completion; 

    5. A wide variety of nationally known artists as well as local artists. 

  2. Selection Criteria for Artwork 

    General criteria for the Arts Commission or developer to consider in selecting artwork for public or private projects should include: 

    1. Quality: artwork demonstrates originality, artistic excellence, and quality; 

    2. Style: artworks of all schools, styles, and tastes should be considered; 

    3. Response to Site: artworks and art places should be appropriate in scale, material, form, content, and value for the immediate, general, social, and physical environments with which they are to relate; 

    4. Durability: consideration should be given to structural and surface integrity, permanence, and protection against theft, vandalism, weathering, and excessive maintenance and repair costs; 

    5. Elements of Design: consider that public art, in addition to meeting aesthetic requirements, may also serve to establish focal points, terminate areas, modify, enhance, or define specific spaces or establish identity; 

    6. Public Liability: artworks and art places should be examined for unsafe conditions or factors that may bear on public liability; 

    7. Diversity: strive for diversity of style, scale, media, artists, community values, forms of expression, and equitable distribution of artworks throughout the City. 

  3. Selection Methods 

    Artworks for public and private projects may be selected in a variety of methods. In addition to advertising for projects, the Art In Public Places Artist Registry is a resource for the review and direct selection of an artist or artwork. Selection methods may include but are not limited to: 

    1. Open Competition: The project is advertised locally, regionally, nationally or internationally and through the AIPP artist data bank. Interested artists may submit materials for review, which include slides, letter of interest, resume and supplementary materials such as reviews, articles, books or brochures. 

    2. Limited Invitational: A selected number of artists are invited to submit materials for review. Finalists may be selected to submit detailed models for the project for which they will be paid a fee. 

    3. Invitation: One artist is invited to submit materials for review, and may be commissioned to create a detailed proposal. 

    4. Direct purchase: An existing work is purchased for a specific project. 

      Selection of the artwork for City sponsored projects is subject to the artist(s) providing materials and performance bonds, as well as completing a contract approved by the City Attorney.


  1. Art In Public Places Commission (Pending Council Review of all Commissions) 

    The Arts Commission would serve in an advisory capacity providing recommendations for art placement to the City Council. 

    Membership of the Arts Commission would be made up of five arts professionals who are residents of Indio. Arts professionals for these purposes are defined as curators, visual artists, art critics, art historians, art collectors, architects, landscape architects, art educators and other persons with visual arts backgrounds respected in their field and willing to engage effectively in a panel process. Commission appointments shall be made by City Council who may on occasion appoint a non-resident visual art professional whose expertise is required for the program. 

    A City Council liaison appointed by the Mayor and a Staff liaison appointed by the City Manager serve as ex-officio members to the Commission. 

    Membership appointments will be limited in order to (1) promote equal opportunity to the membership to serve in a leadership role; (2) bring a diverse aesthetic perspective; (3) bring diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives to the program; (4) most precisely match the project’s program to the expertise of the panelist. 

  2. AIPP Responsibilities 

    The AIPP is charged with the responsibility to: 

    1. Serve as the selection panel for all City initiated public art projects; 

    2. Serve as the first review body for all privately initiated public art projects; 

    3. Provide technical and aesthetic recommendations for all public and private public art projects for City Council; 

    4. Review artist applications for participation in the Art In Public Places Artist Registry; 

    5. Create and recommend cultural policy for the visual arts for the City of Indio.


  1. City of Indio Public Process 

    1. Artists solicited (solicitation process dependent upon selection method as determined by the Arts Commission); 

    2. Materials reviewed by the Arts Commission, finalists short listed (as appropriate) with selection forwarded as recommendation for commission or purchase to the City Council; 

    3. Review by City Council with direction to staff to proceed with contract if approved; 

    4. City Council determination of final acceptance upon project completion. 

  2. Private Development Process 
    1. Public Art Developers Guide received upon contact with Planning 


    2. Art In Public Places Program contacted; 

    3. Public Art in lieu fees paid to receive building permit if an onsite artwork or proposed donation of artwork is not part of the application; 

    4. Pre-Design consultation; 

    5. Artwork site/artwork selected; 

    6. Art In Public Places application submitted; 

    7. City review/approvals of artwork site and artwork (AIPP and City 

    8. Artist/artwork commissioned/donated/purchased; 

    9. Artwork installed; 

    10. City notified of completion/Certificate of Occupancy application; 

    11. Application for refund of in lieu fee.