In 1978, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved the Percent for Art Ordinance, which stipulates that a 1.33% of the cost of constructing or renovating municipal buildings and public spaces be devoted to original artwork on the premises; it also stipulates that at least half of the commissions be awarded to Chicago area artists to provide opportunities to the local arts community. At that time, Chicago was one of the first municipalities, and the largest, to legislate the incorporation of public art into its official building program. Today, there are more than 200 similar programs throughout the United States, due in large part to the success of the Chicago ordinance.
See the Percent for Art Ordinance
The Public Art Program implements the ordinance’s mission to provide the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment through the enhancement of city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists. The Program maintains the Chicago Public Art Collection, which now includes more than 700 works of art exhibited in 150+ municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries and CTA stations.
The Public Art Program commissions each site-specific artwork through a community-based process. The program staff partners with aldermen, City agencies, and the Chicago artists' community to administer design competitions for the selection of artwork. The Public Art Program hosts a minimum of two meetings in the community to solicit suggestions for artists and types of artwork for consideration for each Percent for Art project. Notices about the meetings will appear in the Alerts section below.
As a primary resource for the selection of artists for these projects, the Public Art Program maintains an artist registry open to all living, professional artists, free of charge.
Apply to Chicago Artist Registry
The Public Art Program also:
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