Percent for Art in Public Spaces Program was created as a result of legislation passed by the Connecticut General Assembly allowing any municipality to enact Percent for Art
legislation (Public Act No 81-164). It requires one-percent of new construction costs to be spent on the artworks for the new space. New Haven was the first city in Connecticut to pass Percent for Art legislation as an ordinance entitled ‘Municipal Funds For Works of Art,’ on December 20, 1982
. These artworks are intended to enhance the buildings, as well as bring to light the city’s artistic and cultural history. This program pays tribute and gives recognition to living artists. The Percent for Art
idea stems from the New Deal and Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. When the Public Works Art Projects ended in 1934, the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture was created. The Treasury Department program set aside approximately one percent of the cost of a federal building to adorn the building with art.
The mechanism of this process involves multiple steps all of which can influence the final piece. When a new building or location is slotted for a Percent for Art project a committee is formed consisting of representatives from the construction committee, architectural and, community members, representatives from the cultural affairs office, professional artists, and persons who will occupy the new space. At the first meeting, this committee lists requirements they believe would be best for this location. Artists submit their names and slides of their artwork to the Percent for Art
program. Thirty artists are chosen for their ability to work within the requirements. The group then revises this selection of artist’s profiles and slides narrowing the choices to three artists. These artists are given building specifications. They then meet with the architects and learn about the people involved in the new building. These three artists create models of their proposals, estimate costs, and then present their proposal to the committee. These presentations are put on display in a public space where people from the community are invited to view the proposals and write their opinions. At the final meeting the community’s comments are read and the voting members vote on the artwork to be created for the new space.