Percent for art

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The term percent for art refers to a program, often a city ordinance, where a fee, usually some percentage of the project cost, is placed on large scale development projects in order to fund and install public art. The details of such programs vary from area to area. Percent for art programs are used to fund public art where private or specialized funding of public art is unavailable. Similar programs, such as "art in public places", attempt to achieve similar goals by requiring that public art be part of a project, yet they often allow developers to pay in-lieu fees to a public art fund as an alternative.



In Finland, the percent for art principle was first introduced as an official government policy in connection with the construction of the Finnish Parliament building in the early 1930s, though it was not implemented until 1939. In 1956 the government extended the principle to all public buildings, and during the 1960s individual municipalities also drew up their own schemes. In 1981 the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, an advocate for all Finnish municipalities and regions, recommended extending the principle to all aspects of the urban environment. In 1991 the City of Helsinki became the first city to adopt the policy for all building projects, which led to a vast growth in urban art, even within suburban areas. In 2015 the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture funded a handbook available to the sponsors of public art work under the title "The Handbook of the Percent For Art Principle in Finland", which is also published in English.[1]

In France, one percent of the cost of all public works must be allocated to commissioning a work of art since 1951.

In Ireland, one percent of the cost of all public works can be allocated to commissioning a work of art. The scheme was introduced in 1978, and extended to all government departments in 1997.[2][3] Percent for Art is also promoted for construction and infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland.[4]

United States[edit]

From 1934 to 1943, the Section of Painting and Sculpture in the United States Department of the Treasury followed a policy requiring one percent of the cost of federal buildings to be applied toward art and decoration. In 1959, Philadelphia adopted the first such municipal ordinance in the United States.[5] Other jurisdictions followed suit, including Baltimore in 1964, San Francisco and Hawaii in 1967, and Seattle in 1973.[6][7][8]

More than half of the states now maintain percent-for-art programs.[9] On the federal level, since 1963 the General Services Administration has maintained the Art in Architecture Program, which allocates one-half of one percent of construction cost for art projects.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Handbook of the Percent For Art Principle in Finland" (PDF). Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Per Cent for Art Scheme". Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  3. ^ "PUBLIC ART: PER CENT FOR ART SCHEME GENERAL NATIONAL GUIDELINES" (PDF). 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  4. ^ Department of Finance (Northern Ireland), Procurement Guidance Note PGN 01/17 (as amended), Art in Government Construction Projects, p. 9, reissued 4 April 2019, archived on 23 January 2022, accessed 12 March 2023
  5. ^ Lloyd M. Abernethy (1988). Benton Spruance, the Artist and the Man. Associated University Presses. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-0-87982-517-1.
  6. ^ Alan J. Stein, "Seattle's 1 Percent for Art Program", HistoryLink, October 18, 2013.
  7. ^ Tom Finkelpearl; Vito Acconci (January 2001). Dialogues in Public Art. MIT Press. pp. 20–21 & passim. ISBN 978-0-262-56148-8.
  8. ^ Roger L. Kemp (29 October 2004). Cities and the Arts: A Handbook for Renewal. McFarland. pp. 13–15. ISBN 978-0-7864-2007-0.
  9. ^ "State Percent for Art Programs", National Association of State Arts Agencies (accessed 2015-07-03).
  10. ^ "Art in Architecture Program", General Services Administration (accessed 2015-07-03).

External links[edit]




United Kingdom

United States

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