Percent for Art Program

More than 350 Percent for Art Programs are active in the United States, fostering access to the arts and increasing the beauty of public buildings and spaces.

History of the Program

In 1967, Hawaiʻi became the first state in the nation to adopt a percent-for-art law with the enactment of the Art in State Buildings Law, which designating one percent of construction costs of new buildings for the acquisition of works of art, either by commission or purchase. The purpose of the law is to beautify and humanize our state buildings and increase public access to the arts. In 1989, State Legislature of Hawaiʻi created the Works of Art Special Fund, expanding upon the provisions of the Art in State Buildings Law to include having works of art available to all state public places. Added to the source of revenues was one percent of the renovation costs to state capital improvement projects.

Our legislators were the pioneers in recognizing the importance of art to the human spirit and development. Today, there are over 300 public art programs nationwide at the federal, state and county levels.

Since the passage of the percent-for-art law, the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has acquired works for the Art in Public Places Collection from artists (local and international) and from juried/curated exhibits across the state of Hawaiʻi, selected by committees and qualified experts. These works of art enhance the physical environment of state buildings while providing educational visual arts opportunities to the public through the Art in Public Places Program.

The statutory authority for the Works of Art Special Fund is found in chapter 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.