Established in 1898 as the Art Commission, New York City's design review agency was renamed the Design Commission in July 2008 to better reflect its mission. The Design Commission reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over City-owned property. The Commission also acts as caretaker and curator of the City's public art collection and maintains an extensive archive documenting the history of New York City's public works.
The Commission is composed of eleven members, seven of whom are appointed by the Mayor from a list submitted by the Fine Arts Federation of New York. Terms are for three years or until a successor is appointed. Commissioners serve without salary, and membership must include a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a landscape architect, three lay members, and representatives of the Mayor, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library. Public meetings are held every three weeks.