The History of the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

In 1985, the Phoenix City Council established the Phoenix Arts Commission to “preserve and enhance the natural beauty of Phoenix, its cultural and artistic heritage and to encourage the proliferation of the arts in all facets of the public and private sectors.”   The creation of the commission marked the city’s commitment to the key role art can play in building a better city. The program has since expanded to become the Office of Arts and Culture.  Its work is supported by the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission, a body of volunteers who advise the City Manager and City Council on the city’s cultural programs and efforts.

Today, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture works on behalf of residents and visitors to foster a sense of cultural identity, celebrate diversity and ensure an outstanding quality of community life.  The office manages Phoenix’s acclaimed public art program, a national model for involving artists in the design of city infrastructure. The office also administers a grants program; promotes arts learning; conducts research; advocates for the arts; provides information and technical assistance to artists and cultural organizations; and oversees the city’s cultural planning. The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture staff collaborate with other city departments that manage cultural facilities and programs, and facilitates a growing number of public-private cultural partnerships.