City of Chicago Percent for Art program

Posted by
Percent for Art program / Riverview – by Jerry Peart

Percent for Art program works at the Federal, State and the Municipal levels.

GSA “Art in Architecture” program (at Federal level)

State of Illinois CDB “Art in Architecture” program (at State level)

City of Chicago “Percent for Art” program (at Municipal level)

This post is about the City of Chicago “Percent for Art” program.


City of Chicago Percent for Art program

Bulk of the city’s collection of public art comes from the Percentage-for-Art program. In 1978, the City Council of Chicago passed the Percent-for-Art Ordinance. It mandates that 1% [ increased to 1.33 %   since 1987] of the construction or major renovation budget of a city-owned or city-financed building or structure or certain outdoor improvements is to used to acquire or install permanent artwork at that site.  At least half of the works must be created by Chicago-area artists.

Later that year the Chicago Public Art Program was established to implement the city’s Percent-for-Art Ordinance. Also an account was created to be used solely for the commissioning or purchase of artwork(s), administration of the Public Art Program, and maintenance of artwork in the Public Art Program. This account was called the “Public Art Program fund.” No more than 20 percent of the Public Art Program fund allocation for an artwork shall be applied to maintenance of that artwork and general administrative costs of the Public Art Program. Any funds that have been or may be allocated for an artwork, and that remain unspent after completion of the artwork, shall be preserved in a special account within the Public Art Program fund for the maintenance and preservation of artworks installed as part of the program.

Nine years later, in 1987, 49th Ward alderman David Orr introduced amendments to the ordinance. The percentage to be set-aside was raised from 1 percent to 1.33 percent of construction costs,  or renovation projects “affecting 50 percent or more of the square footage of a public building.” Also, advisory panels needed to be created to include community residents for projects in excess of $5,000.

Since the ordinance’s inception, more than 500 artworks have been permanently installed in parks,  libraries, community centers, fire stations, police stations, and other public venues throughout the city.




Below is a small sample of more than 500 artworks installed under the the city’s Percent-for-Art program, in libraries, community centers, fire stations, police stations, and other public venues throughout the city. Most of these artworks are installed indoors making it difficult for me to photograph them.






Jetty (1980) – by Barry Tinsley… click here..

Riverview (1980) – by Jerry Peart… click here..

Rescue (1980) – by Jill Parker.. click here..

Untitled – by Amir Nour .. click here..

Pyrix (1981) – by Bruce White .. click here..

Spiral Rain Form (1981) – by David Morris… click here..

Crossing (1998) – by Hubertus von der Goltz… click here..

Stepped Arch (1982) – by Linda Howard .. click here..

Flight Forms (2001) – by Richard Hunt.. click here..

Meridian VII (2002) – by Ed McCullough.. click here..

Stained Glass (2004) – by Mike Hill .. click here..


Written by

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply