Public Art Program

On the heels its $9.5m streetscape revitalization, the City of Sanford has focused on promoting public art as a way to promote and showcase Sanford's history.

A vocal champion of the public art initiative, Mayor Chet Mann notes that art not only adds charm and character to Sanford, it also functions as economic development. "This initiative will bring positive notoriety to Sanford as it unlocks our history and heritage for all who come here to live, work, or play," he says.

While most of Sanford's current public art was funded by private donations, Rep. John Sauls advocated for Sanford to receive a $40,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce in the 2017 session of the N.C. General Assembly. That grant was then matched by Sanford City Council.

An established budget means residents and visitors can expect to see more forms of public art popping up throughout the city, steered by the city's Appearance Commission and Planner Liz Whitmore.

"Sanford hasn't received the acclaim and attention it deserves for its rich history of artists and potters," Mann says. "The time has come to celebrate and promote our talent. This community's support and demand for public art will be its defining symbol."

Sneak peek: View a presentation of conceptual ideas that could take root in Sanford.

Ghost Signs

The Appearance Commission has undertaken to restore several "ghost signs" around Sanford. A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. See restored signs here.

Interactive Art

Sanford has become known for its engaging interactive art. From a downtown scavenger hunt to sharing your dreams with the world to securing your love with a lock, there are several ways our guests can become part of our art. Get more information here.


The Appearance Commission has focused on bringing historical murals to Downtown Sanford and Historic Jonesboro. Seven of an anticipated 12 murals are complete. More information is available here.

Otocast Art Tour

Residents and visitors can explore Sanford’s thriving art scene right from their smartphones using the Otocast app. It features artist commentary, videos, and photographs. Each of Sanford’s murals, sculptures, and other public art objects are included. 


Sanford's railroad history and its beloved characters have been memorialized in sculpture. There are currently three installations with more to come. Find them here.