Public Art

Last updated December 3, 2022

Have you noticed artworks when you’re out and about in the heart of downtown Montréal? By turns stunning, playful and compelling, public artworks by local and international artists spark curiosity and promote access to art. Learn about Montréal’s public artworks.

What is public art?

Public art is art that’s woven into the fabric of our daily lives, on the streets we walk. Public artworks can be found in urban spaces, including in public squares and parks, and they also include works that are integrated into buildings and are accessible to residents.

Montréal, open-air art gallery

There are more than 1,000 public artworks across the city, on property owned by various owners. Most are listed on the Art public Montréal Web site, which invites residents to discover them through thematic, historical or playful tours. A unique opportunity to (re)discover the city through its artworks.

Map of tours

A map, printed in French and English and featuring some 100 public artworks and five tours, is also available. The map is available at the Infotouriste Centre, the tourist welcome office in Old Montréal, Place des Arts, the McCord Museum and the Musée Pointe-à-Callière.

Municipal public art collection

The municipal collectionincludes more than 360 artworks, the oldest of which dates back to 1809. Spread out over 19 boroughs, the works are installed on public property or integrated into municipal buildings.

Murals are an important part of this collection. They are funded by the city. You can find them on the Montréal tout en murales website (in French).

Acquisition of public artworks

The city’s Bureau d’art public is dedicated to acquiring, preserving and promoting this collection.

The city enriches its collection in 2 distinct ways:

  • Through competitions, public notices or invitations geared towards professional artists. The only exceptions concern the acquisition of works by foreign artists under cooperation agreements between Montréal and certain foreign cities. Contemporary works that the city acquires in this manner are generally created specifically for the places or buildings into which they are eventually integrated.
  • Thanks to donations, with submissions subject to rigorous review by the Bureau d’art public.

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