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. 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.

Percent-for-art programs are used to fund public art where private or specialized funding of public art is unavailable.


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.[1] Other jurisdictions followed suit, including Baltimore in 1964, San Francisco and Hawaii in 1967, and Seattle in 1973.[2][3][4]

More than half of the states now maintain percent-for-art programs.[5] 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.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lloyd M. Abernethy (1988). Benton Spruance, the Artist and the Man. Associated University Presses. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-0-87982-517-1. 
  2. ^ Alan J. Stein, "Seattle's 1 Percent for Art Program", HistoryLink, October 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Tom Finkelpearl; Vito Acconci (January 2001). Dialogues in Public Art. MIT Press. pp. 20–21 & passim. ISBN 978-0-262-56148-8. 
  4. ^ Roger L. Kemp (29 October 2004). Cities and the Arts: A Handbook for Renewal. McFarland. pp. 13–15. ISBN 978-0-7864-2007-0. 
  5. ^ "State Percent for Art Programs", National Association of State Arts Agencies (accessed 2015-07-03).
  6. ^ "Art in Architecture Program", General Services Administration (accessed 2015-07-03).

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