It is essential to set a realistic budget for any new commission covering the full commissioning process – from inception through to realisation and maintenance.  Arts involvement must not be sought too cheaply and it can be worth researching comparable commissions to understand how their funding was secured and what level was required (see case studies for some examples). Artists must always be paid and their fee should be ring-fenced within the budget.

Identifying costs:

  • Identify costs through the different stages of the process, to include:
  • Organisational costs such as project management
  • Selection costs, as appropriate
  • Development costs including test materials or equipment on site
  • Project costs: artist’s and other fees, materials, installation, tranport
  • Consultation and evaluation costs including exhibitions, education and community programmes, documentation
  • Publicity, information and launch costs including signage and information for the project and launch event
  • Contingency – there are many variables in public spaces.

Budget holders:
The budget holder needs to be aligned with risks and liabilities involved in the project. It can be better for the commissioner to hold the budget and the artist be paid their fee and the fabricator the production costs.

Types of opportunity:
Costs will vary depending on the scope of the opportunity, temporary or permanent. For permanent commissions, it is important to identify a budget line early on in the development process, which can be augmented, if appropriate, by other material budget lines. Included here is a focus on budgets for temporary and permanent opportunities.

Download 'key steps' flow charts for budgets (PDFs):
Permanent for building projects
Temporary projects