Metro Nashville is interested in supporting artistic and cultural activation throughout the city.

Metro allows artists or organizations who are working with a professional artist(s) to install artworks in the Metro Right of Way. Artworks, with prior approval and appropriate agreement, may include signal box covers, sidewalks, retaining walls, or other locations deemed appropriate by Metro.

An agreement, appropriate permits and final artwork design must be approved in writing before installation begins. Metro shall also have the final determination on where artwork can be located.

Artwork Criteria

Artworks in right-of-way will not be approved, if the artwork design violates any of the following:

  • Artwork is not allowed to contain inappropriate or offensive images or words.
  • Artworks that convey messages appearing to advertise or promote a commercial entity (corporation or for-profit business) will not be accepted.
  • If the artwork promotes an organization or non-profit entity, a sign permit may be required.
  • Images that create a driver distraction or could be confused with traffic control devices will not be accepted.

In addition to the Artwork in the right-of-way agreement, applicants will be required to obtain a permit for any activity occurring in the right-of-way. This may include temporary sidewalk or traffic lane closures.

Physical structures (sculptures or objects) planned to be located in the right-of-way will require an encroachment permit. Encroachment permits must be approved by the Metropolitan Council. An artwork with a below ground foundation also requires an excavation permit.

Details and requirements related to permits. (General Liability insurance is a requirement of the ROW permit)

Applicant must notify, in writing, any abutting property owners (street, road, alley or right-of-way or fee owner of easement) and the district member of council representing the area of such artwork before Metro approval and agreement may be executed. Documentation of such communications may be required.

Installation, Safety and Maintenance Requirements

  • By approval of an Artwork in the Right of Way, Metro does not accept ownership of said artwork nor any responsibility for future maintenance. Any on-site liability of the artwork or installation of artwork is assumed by the applicant/artist.
  • No artwork can obstruct or cause American with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in the right-of-way.
  • Any art placed on a sidewalk must be made of an anti-skid resistant material. The material must comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
  • All artwork materials used should be designed for use on the particular surface to be painted (or adhered to). Metro reserves the right to review and approve any materials.
  • The applicant shall clean and prime surfaces prior to the application of materials unless this requirement is waived in the agreement.
  • Paint and other materials shall be applied according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Vinyl wraps must be professionally installed.
  • Ventilation channels on utility boxes shall not be covered with paint or other materials.
  • Anti-graffiti coatings are encouraged. Removal of graffiti often results in the removal of the anti-graffiti coating as well so it may need to be reapplied.
  • If artwork is tagged with graffiti or damaged within the time period approved in the Artwork in Right of Way agreement, Metro will contact the applicant to repair. The applicant has 3 days from notification to abate graffiti and 30 days from notification to repair any other damage. If graffiti is not removed within 3 days, Metro reserves the right to paint over the portion of the artwork where the graffiti is located.
  • Metro reserves the right to remove or cover any artwork if it is determined to be a safety hazard, is too large, interferes with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, creates a maintenance problem, interferes with public service or other activities in adjacent areas or is otherwise inappropriate for the space.
  • If the Metro-owned property including utility boxes, retaining walls, sidewalk, etc. needs to be repaired or replaced -in part or whole – while the artwork is in place, there is no obligation on the part of Metro to replace, repair or reinstall the artwork. However, the applicant will be given notice so that the artwork can be removed or relocated – should that be possible.

Procedure

  1. Applicant/artist submits application form, plus attachments to Metro Arts.
  2. Metro Arts reviews in collaboration with Metro Public Works.
  3. Both teams make a joint recommendation for approval or disapproval.
  4. If approved, applicant/artist to install artwork must submit signed agreement form and obtain any other required permits.
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