Percent for Art Program
Enacted in 1999, the Louisiana Percent for Art program's enabling legislation(1) stipulates that whenever more than $2,000,000 in state funds is to be spent by a state agency for the construction or renovation of a state building, 1% of the state money shall be expended for the project to acquire, conserve, or restore and install works of art for display in, on, or on the grounds of the state building.
A "work of art,"(2) for purposes of the Percent for Art program, includes all forms of original creations of visual art, including but not limited to:
1. Paintings, including all media and both portable and permanently affixed works of art such as murals.
2. Sculpture, including bas relief, high relief, mobile, fountain, kinetic, environmental, electronic, and in-the-round sculpture.
3. Prints, calligraphy, drawings, stained glass, mosaics, photographs, and works in fiber or textiles, wood, metal, plastic, or other materials or combination of materials.
4. Mixed media, including any combination of forms of media.
5. Any craft as defined in R.S. 25:897(C).
The Louisiana Percent for Art program provides the citizens of Louisiana with an improved public environment by investing public buildings with works of high quality. The program adds visibility to the cultural heritage of the state and its people. The overall goals of the program are to create a collection of public art for Louisiana citizens and to attract visitors to the state; to create economic opportunities for Louisiana public art artists; and to train public art artists in Louisiana to develop into a more successfully competitive cultural industry in and out of state.
What is Public Art?
Public art is a mirror that reflects the environment, cultural values, and artistic vitality of a community in which it exists. At its best, public art is more than just art installed in public places. It is a broadly based process of dialogue, involvement, and participation involving all segments of a community. Public Art enhances the quality of life for citizens by encouraging a heightened sense of place, enhancing a community's prestige, and enlivening the visual quality of the built environment. Successful Public Art is site specific and responds to the concept of place-making.
What is the benefit of connecting communities to public art?
Public art at its best reflects the local environment, cultural values and artistic vitality of the community in which it is placed. It is much more than art installed in public places. It is art that involves "the public." Public art can tell a community's story, reminding residents and visitors of what makes the place different and special. Public art enhances the quality of life for citizens by encouraging a heightened sense of place and enhancing a community's prestige and visual quality.
Public art programs nationally
Louisiana is one of 27 states with Percent for Art legislation guiding the inclusion of works of art in new public construction. In addition to statewide programs, there are more than 130 active public art programs which are managed by counties, cities, boroughs, transportation authorities, redevelopment authorities and private non-profit agencies.
Who manages the Louisiana Percent for Art program?
The Louisiana Division of the Arts (LDOA), on behalf of the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cultural Development (Assistant Secretary), manages the Percent for Art program. The LDOA works cooperatively with the Division of Administration, Office of Facility Planning and Control to identify all state building projects that are eligible for the Percent for Art program.
How are public artworks selected?
Under Louisiana state law, contracts for personal services (e.g., sculptors, painters, art restoration, etc.) may be entered into directly, without necessity of competitive bidding or competitive negotiation.(3)
Further, R.S. 25:900.1(E) provides: "Each work of art acquired, restored, or conserved as provided in this Section (i.e., the Louisiana Percent for Art program) shall be selected or determined by the assistant secretary of the office of cultural development of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism who shall request the advice of and consult with the contracting agency (i.e., the Division of Administration, Office of Facility Planning and Control), the state agency who will occupy or operate the building, the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the project architect. When selecting such works of art, preference shall be given to works of art of Louisiana artists."
Therefore, by law, a contract to create, restore, or conserve a work of art may entered into directly, so long as the Assistant Secretary has consulted with representatives of the parties listed above. Should the project call for the acquisition of existing works of art, the Assistant Secretary must still consult with the parties listed in R.S. 25:900.1(E) and then normal procurement rules apply.
Though not required by law, the LDOA has found that in many instances, it serves the best interest of the state and the goals of the Louisiana Percent for Art program to issue a general or limited call to artists (e.g., a request for qualifications, a call for nominations, or other competitive selection process) to help select an artist to create, conserve, or restore a work of art. The LDOA will often convene a project-specific panel to discuss and recommend to the assistant secretary possible styles, materials, locations and themes for each project, as well as review artists' proposals submitted in response to a call, for artistic merit as well as suitability to the project.
On a case-by-case basis, depending on the size, scope, timetable, any particular limitations, specifications, or restrictions applicable to the project, and any other relevant factors, and in accordance with best practices in the public art community, the LDOA staff will recommend to the Assistant Secretary for approval, a selection process for each project. To ensure fair and reasonable notice of selection opportunities when a competitive process is used, projects will be announced on the LDOA website along with a description of the project requirements, evaluation criteria, and other details of the approved selection process.
What are maquettes and renderings? Why are they important?
Project maquettes and renderings are models of the proposed artwork. In a maquette, the scale is often 1" to 1'. Most importantly, project maquettes and renderings show all the relevant elements of a proposed work of art. Maquettes and renderings enable the Public Art Selection Panels to have a solid, tangible understanding of what the final artwork will look like.
If you have specific questions regarding Louisiana's Percent for Art program or if you wish you have your name added to the mailing list to receive notification when project announcements are issued, contact the Louisiana Division of the Arts at 225-342-8180. Available projects will be announced at www.crt.state.la.us/arts
Revision notes This information was updated in March of 2012 to accommodate LDOA staff reductions and reorganization, while ensuring continuing compliance with the program's legal mandates and policy goals.
(1) Act 1999, No. 1280 by then-Representatives Diane Winston, Francis C. Thompson, and Pinkie C. Wilkerson and Senator Jay Dardenne, enacted R.S. 25:900.1, which was later amended and reenacted by Acts 2003, No. 972, §1, eff. July 1, 2003 and Acts 2006, No. 91, §1, eff. May 25, 2006.
(2) 2 R.S. 25:900.1(B)(4)
(3) La. R.S. 39:1495