The City of Carlsbad’s Art in Public Places program, which began in 1985, was the first public art program established in San Diego County. The program is designed to expand residents’ appreciation of art, reflect the city’s aspiration to improve the quality of life, and to enhance and identify Carlsbad as a unique community. Tied to the city’s capital projects budget and plan, the program is administered by the city’s Cultural Arts Office, which follows a set of policies and procedures that guides the entire process, from artist selection through to final installation of the work. A key component of Carlsbad’s program is an emphasis on public participation during the process, ensuring that the artworks are integrated into the physical and social environment of the city and reflect the broad range and interests of the community.
The first public artwork in Carlsbad, 'Crown Lair' created by artist Lloyd Hamrol, was installed at Stagecoach Community Park in 1989. Over the years, the public art program has become an integral part of Carlsbad’s vibrancy and sense of place; as of 2009, there are 29 works of art in the city’s public art collection.