Public Art in MK

Shottlander sculpture image by @Studiostagg

Over the last 50 years, Milton Keynes has developed an excellent reputation for commissioning public art.

The city now boasts over 220 artworks. The culture team leads on and supports the commissioning of new works and works alongside The Public Art Trust to care for and conserve existing works. 

Future commissions

All future commission opportunities are advertised here, via our Twitter and Facebook channels and on the Arts Jobs &  Arts News website.

Public Art – current and recent commissions

Amazing Grace, written in Olney, sung around the world.

Amazing Grace is thought to be one of the most recorded songs of all time, with over 3,000 copies stored in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. For many, the hymn encapsulates feelings of hope and provides an opportunity for one to look towards to the future, as well as reflect on the past. It for this reason, perhaps, that Amazing Grace has endured for so long. The hymn was written in Olney in late 1772 by curate in charge - and former slave trader - the Reverend John Newton to accompany his sermon for his New Year Day morning service at St Peter and St Paul Church on 1 January 1773. 

2023 marks the 250th year of this remarkable hymn and to mark this global anniversary, an inclusive, ambitious and engaging multidisciplinary programme has been developed by Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney.

From a major new commission by renowned baritone Roderick Williams OBE working in collaboration with writer and performer Rommi Smith and performed by Chineke! Ensemble as part of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival in July 2023 to a young people’s conference exploring the relevance of the hymn to young people today – the programme is rich in content and complexity.

In order to ensure that this extraordinary year is captured for a wide range of audiences, Milton Keynes City Council are looking to appoint an experienced and creative filmmaker to work with stakeholders, partners, creative practitioners and communities to capture the process of making and delivering, alongside the impact of the various projects, programmes and commissions, which make up this historically important cultural programme.   

We are looking for a creative, empathetic and inspirational filmmaker who is self-motivated; an excellent communicator and able to hit the ground running.

Download the full commission brief.

Applications to be submitted by noon on Monday 27 March 2023.

The Modernist Glade by Hayatsu Architects and Tue Greenfort

The Modernist Glade is a temporary public art project devised by Hayatsu Architects and artist Tue Greenfort, with curator and producer Aldo Rinaldi.

Inspired by the drawings of Helmut Jacoby which were originally commissioned by the MK Development Corporation in the late 1960s to imagine Milton Keynes, commission celebrates the idea of ‘The Forest City’.

Taking inspiration from MK’s unique grid-road system, 48 trees have been installed marking out a new grid within the Square. At the end of the project, the trees will be replanted throughout MK for all to enjoy.

A wild flower meadow also forms part of the artwork; a new beehive sculpture provides a new home for bumble bees and new seating provides somewhere to rest. 

Future Fossil by Something & Son in Oxley Park (concept design stage)

Aerial shot of the Future Fossil artwork by Something & Son

In 10,000 years, what will be left behind?

Something & Son’s work Fossil imagines a future landscape where civilisation excavates the ground to reveal a still life of early 21st life captured in fossilised form. The work depicts a house from Oxley Park, a typical modern-day neighbourhood in Milton Keynes, that has fossilised through the passage of time, being enveloped by rising water, encroaching deserts and manmade materials that nature has processed and reformed. The house has slowly decayed from the inside out leaving behind an imprint of the Anthropocene era.

The sculpture will be the size a house and by drawing on the city’s pioneering recycling schemes will be made from the materials of time – plastic, concrete and aluminium.

A public programme, curated by Something and Son and delivered in collaboration with the community will take place for the first 12 months, following the artwork's anticipated delivery in Autumn 2022.

Alphonso by Sarah Staton

Alphonso sculpture by Sarah Staton

Inspired by interactions with the community and the heritage of the local area, Staton has designed a 3-sided archway clad with bespoke blue and white tiles on one side and pattern brick on the other which references the former brick making industry in the area.

The sculpture offers visitors a seat to enjoy the view across the local landscape.

Archive of past commissions

A full archive of past commissions and map of public artworks located throughout Milton Keynes is currently being developed.

Culture Team contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ