PAN Year in Review Update

Due to feedback from our members we are in the process of evaluating our programs. We will announce next steps for the PAN Year in Review once we have information to share. For questions about PAN Year in Review, contact Director, Creative Community Advancement Patricia Walsh at [email protected].

About the PAN Year in Review

Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) founded the PAN Year in Review recognition program in 2000 to bring greater visibility and appreciation to the work of artists and the communities served by public art across the country. Through a jury selection process, the PAN Year in Review annually recognizes outstanding public art projects that represent the most compelling works created in the prior calendar year. Hundreds of project applications are reviewed and up to 50 are selected which highlight excellence, trends and accomplishments for the field. The selected artworks are then presented during the Americans for the Arts Annual Public Art Preconference and Main Convention each year. The selected artists and commissioning agencies are supplied with a letter of acknowledgement, certificate of recognition and invited to participate in a blog salon to discuss the stories about the projects. New in 2018, the selected projects are presented gallery-style throughout the annual Public Art Preconference and Annual Convention to over 1,000 attendees. The information about the selected projects are included in the Online Database and materials about the jurors and presentations are listed on the Annual Presentations page. The application and presentation schedule for the current submission process is listed above.

About the Online Database

The Online Database allows users to search and find details about past works recognized by the PAN Year in Review. The database contains curated, categorized, and searchable examples of the best in public art projects from across the country and beyond that received PAN Year in Review recognition. As such, it serves as an information and advocacy tool for public art administrators, artists, and allied professionals, gives greater visibility to the field of public art, and provides photographic examples of works along with information such as materials, budget, location, funding source and more. This reference tool was designed to help inspire and inform other projects across the country and support the development of burgeoning public art programs in communities nationwide. The database provides invaluable data to assist public art initiatives advocating for passage of percent-for-art ordinances, helps promote the talented artists whose work is featured in the database, and increases the visibility of the role of public art and artists in developing and improving our communities. Search the Online Database.

Application Eligibility & Timeline

To be eligible for PAN Year in Review, permanent artworks must have been completed and open to the public by December 31st of the calendar year under consideration, and temporary artworks must have been open and accessible during part or all of the calendar year that is under consideration. For example, a permanent public artwork completed and open to the public in 2016 would be submitted for the 2017 PAN Year in Review. Projects associated with years that are not under consideration cannot be submitted the PAN Year in Review.

Public artworks are considered temporary if the planned life of the project is up to 2 years.

In addition to the above, public artworks being considered for submission must reach the following criteria:

  • Creativity in project design and approach
  • Excellence in concept, skill and implementation of a unique, artistic vision
  • Innovative use and suitability of materials for intended duration of project
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness to site and its context, and physical and social conditions
  • Success with which the project is perceived to resonate with and engage its intended audience

Applications are open from January to February and are accepted through an online submission form only. Membership to Americans for the Arts is not required to apply for the PAN Year in Review. Applicants are notified of the selection results in May and the public announcement of the selected works is held in June in conjunction with the Annual Public Art Preconference and Main Convention.

To be notified when the next PAN Year in Review application opens become a member of Americans for the Arts and join the PAN Listserv. 

Juror & Artwork Selection

Up to three jurors are selected each year based on recommendations from the PAN Advisory Council. The jurors review the hundreds of applications and are asked to select up to 50 public artworks to highlight the most compelling public artworks. The jurors are selected from the public art or related fields. Typically there is one public artist, one public art administrator, and a professional from a complementary field such as curation, planning, art history, architecture and the like.

Jurors are selected with care to their professional backgrounds and relationship to the public art field. Americans for the Arts and the PAN Advisory Council support in full the selections made by the jurors.

To select the artworks, the jurors are asked to consider the above criteria and are provided with a mission statement and guidelines to support their selection process while encouraging a balanced listing of exemplary projects.

The mission for the jurors is as follows:

The PAN Year in Review honors and recognizes exemplary permanent and temporary public art completed during a calendar year. The survey of outstanding projects reflects a broad range of artistic responses and approaches to the challenge of creating art in the public realm. PAN Year in Review selections should be innovative and imaginative art projects that fulfill their public goals and are inspiring to their intended audience, which includes artists, commissioning agencies and their communities. Selections are to demonstrate ways artists can engage site, community and social spaces.

The criteria and mission provided to the jurors help to clarify the intention of the PAN Year in Review based on recommendations from the PAN Advisory Council and supported by Americans for the Arts. It is the goal of the PAN Year in Review to represent excellence in the field. To that end, the jurors are encouraged to select a balanced group of exemplary projects that represent the public art field in its breadth and diversity. While it is understood that the outcome is dependent upon the quality of the submittals and fully respect the curatorial choices of the jurors, the jurors are asked to consider a balance of projects from different budget categories, comparing projects of similar budget size and to select a balance of permanent and temporary work as each type of project represents their own unique challenges.

Jurors are asked if they have or have had a direct relationship to the design or development of an artwork, such as project manager, artist or director of a program then they are to recuse themselves from reviewing and voting on the applications associated with that public art project.

What is Public Art and What Makes it Such a Community Treasure?

The term “public art” may conjure images of historic bronze statues of Generals on horseback in a park but today, public art can take a wide range of forms, sizes, and scales—and can be temporary or permanent. Public art can include murals, sculpture, memorials, integrated architectural or landscape architectural work, community art, digital new media, and even performances and festivals! Today's public arts is often highly collaborative and seeks to engage the community. Public art is no longer the random piece of art in the park but instead a source of community pride and engagement. Public art artists endeavor to create works that generate a dialogue with the community, at times about the issues central to their lives. As you read through the descriptions of the art works feature in the PAN Year in Review Database you'll start to see this common theme emerge and will find the stories behind the works of art as fascinating as the images displayed.