The installation includes images of more than 40 of the permanent public artworks commissioned through Percent for Art since the program was established
The installation of 40+ images of public artworks commissioned by Percent for Art was installed on construction fencing in front of City Hall
The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Design and Construction have unveiled a new installation at New York City Hall celebrating the 40th anniversary of the City’s Percent for Art program. The installation – featured on a construction fence surrounding the steps of City Hall as they undergo renovation – includes images of more than 40 of the permanent public artworks commissioned through Percent for Art since the program was established. Signed into law by Mayor Ed Koch in 1982 and established in 1983, New York’s Percent for Art program has since commissioned over 400 works of permanent, site specific public art in City buildings and civic spaces across the five boroughs.
“Public art makes our civic buildings and open spaces more vibrant, more engaging, and more reflective of the dynamic city they serve,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “New York’s Percent for Art program has had a transformative impact on the city’s public realm in the last 40 years. From mosaics in our city’s schools, to innovative architectural interventions in our libraries, to iconic sculptures that define how people relate to open spaces, we’re proud of the deep investment in artists and artwork that the program represents. With this new installation at City Hall, we reflect back on the accomplishments of this landmark program, and recommit to collaborating closely with artists and communities to enhance our public spaces for decades to come.”
“Percent For Art is a remarkable program representing a commitment to the aesthetic qualities of public works,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “DDC is one of the leading agencies for implementing Percent For Art through the various public buildings and infrastructure projects we complete throughout the City. Over the years we’ve worked with prominent artists to create public art in many forms, from Pablo Helguera’s ‘Feynman Code’ installation at the new Far Rockaway Library to Tatiana Arocha’s The Hawk and the Heron collage and painting for the new Snug Harbor Music Hall extension in Staten Island.”
The installation will be on view until Fall 2023. Additional programs and initiatives marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the program are planned for later in the year.
The work to City Hall is being completed by DDC in a historically accurate manner for the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and will restore the front steps and portico while increasing accessibility and beautifying the area. Granite treads and risers, echoing the building’s original marble steps, will be replaced and the portico will be rebuilt according to historic drawings. A new lift and new ramp at the lower plaza stair will be constructed in granite with bluestone pavers and metal railings to match the predominant surrounding materials. The project will also install for the first time an electronically controlled door into the building. Beneath the front of the building, supports for the stairs will be rebuilt as well. The project, which began in January, is projected to cost $4.8 million and be completed by the end of 2023.
The text featured on the fence installed at City Hall reads:
The City of New York’s Percent for Art program commissions permanent, site-specific artworks for a wide range of public facilities, making art broadly accessible and visible throughout New York City. In 1982, the Percent for Art law was initiated by Mayor Ed Koch and passed by the New York City Council requiring that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on artwork for City facilities. Administered by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the program began in 1983. Since then, more than 370 Percent for Art projects have been completed with accumulated value of over $65 million in today’s dollars, and there are currently more than 100 new public art commissions in progress throughout the five boroughs.
40 years on from its establishment, Percent for Art has created a remarkable collection of site-specific artworks by a diverse roster of artists, done in a variety of media, whose projects have transformed and enriched the city’s public realm. A collection that fosters civic pride, social engagement, and sense of belonging and ownership in the communities they inhabit. These projects demonstrate how art that is integrated into its site enhances civic architecture and a wide range of public spaces.
The Percent for Art program remains a crucial way for the creative vision of artists to be deeply embedded in our collective civic realm in a way that is collaborative with the agencies, designers, and residents these public projects are intended to serve.
About the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/culture.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.