Apply for a Public Mural


We have a number of public murals throughout the community, including several downtown murals. Before completion, each mural must be approved through the Salem Public Art Commission application process. We encourage participation in the creation of original works of art, which reduce the incidence of graffiti and other crime, while increasing community identity and fostering a sense of place. The purpose of the application process is to:

  • ensure that murals in the Public Mural Program enhance the aesthetics of the City,
  • provide avenues for original artistic expression in the City,
  • provide public edification through access to original works of public art.

Public Mural Application

Public Mural Program Policy

The Public Art Commission reviews applications using a selection criteria, including:

  • Strength of artist's concept for, and originality of, proposed public mural.
  • Demonstrated craftsmanship of artist.
  • Appropriateness of the mural's scale to the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Architectural, geograpical, socio-cultural and/or historical relevance of the mural to the site.
  • General support and advocacy for the mural from the building owner or user, surrounding neighborhood, adjacent businesses, and arts community.
  • Demonstrated ability to complete the proposed public mural on time and within budget.

Historic District Location: In addition, if the proposed public mural will be located in a historic district, the mural must be on a building or structure that is "non-historic non-contributing" under historic preservation laws and will not be located on the building facade. The facade is defined as the wall that contains the main entrance to the premises.

Dwellings: Public murals will not be located on a single family dwelling, duplex, or multi-family dwelling. As used here, this definition does not include mixed-use buildings that contain residences.

Moving parts: Public murals will not contain electrical components, three-dimensional elements, flashing or sequential lighting, interior lighting elements, automated methods that cause movement, or any method that causes periodic changes in the appearance ofthe public mural, changes the mural image, or changes the message.

Public access: Public murals must be located so that they are accessible to the public.

Conditions of Approval

The Public Arts Commission must grant approval of any public mural before its creation can begin. The artist must agree to donate the public mural to the City's public art collection as provided in SRC 15.090. 

Public murals must be maintained and remain in place for a minimum of seven years without alteration.

Approval and acceptance of each public mural is contingent on conveyance of a public mural easement to the City from the owner of the building where the public mural will be located. The City will prepare the easement and record it after it has been signed. The easement will grant the right to create the public mural on the wall of the building and provide that the person granting the easement will maintain the public mural and, if necessary, restore the mural to its original condition for the period of the easement. Upon expiration of the easement, the property owner agrees to remove the mural and restore the buildiing to its prior condition. 

Before approving a public mural for the City's public art collection, the commission will hold a public hearing where members of the public may comment on the proposed public mural. After the hearing, the commission will make the final decision by majority vote of a quorum.