The City of New Haven's Percent for Art in Public Spaces Program was established by municipal ordinance in 1981. It requires that one-percent of the city's construction costs for new or renovated municipal buildings be allocated towards the purchase of commissioned artwork. Hence the program's name, Percent for Art.
The program's goal is to visually enhance municipal facilities with quality works of art by professional artists and is administered by the New Haven Cultural Affairs Commission. The program adds visibility to the artistic and cultural heritage of New Haven and its people. It also provides monetary support, recognition, and pays tribute to Connecticut's living artists by honoring and preserving their work on display. The program has exposed city children to local artists while adding creative touches to schools and municipal buildings, adding a fun and imaginative aesthetic to these learning environments.
In its first twenty-years, the program has commissioned [31+] artworks--murals, sculpture, stained glass, etc. by many of the area's most talented and inventive artists, for many of the City's public schools, fire stations, parks, libraries, and other public buildings and spaces. New Haven was the first city in the State to enact such legislation; only two other cities in Connecticut have since established Percent for Art Programs. Over 26 states and 90 counties and municipalities in the United States currently have Percent for Art Legislation.
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