Learn more about the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Public Art Program.
The Chicago Public Art Collection includes more than 700 works of art exhibited in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries, and CTA stations. As part of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Public Art Program administers the Chicago Public Art Collection and implements the City’s Percent for Art Ordinance. The Collection provides the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment and enhances city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists.
In 1978, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved the Percent for Art Ordinance, which stipulates that a percentage of construction and renovation costs for municipal buildings and public spaces be set aside for original artwork, and that at least half of the commissions be awarded to Chicago area artists. 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.