Saturday, July 21, 2012

Public art fees and small public spaces

I recently wrote a brief article on the evolution of public art fees called Percent-For-Art Programs at Public Art's Frontier, which is available here.  The abstract:

The federal government, many state governments, and an estimated 350 local governments have implemented percent-for-art fee programs that require a percentage of a project's construction cost to go towards public art. Historically, this resulted in a permanent, on-site art installation. An increasing number of cities, however, are experimenting with percent-for-art fees that fund off-site or temporary public art installations and performances that reflect changes in public art itself. This Article explores the legal implications of, and provides models for, implementing this new type of percent-for-art fee.

A lot of the article focuses on how public art is changing to assist in activating public space and law's role in assisting those changes.  For those interested in this subject, be sure to check out Minneapolis-based Forecast, which publishes the Public Art Review.  I also strongly recommend the books Public Art:  Theory, Practice, and Populism by Cheryl Krause Knight and Public Art by the Book by Barbara Goldstein.

And for those interested in the broader subject of public spaces, one could do worse than taking an hour to watch William H Whyte's classic The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, which is now available for free online.

Stephen R. Miller

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