Public Art One Percent (1%) The City of Denver has a tradition of fostering public art to make public spaces more appealing and enjoyable for everyone. Denver’s Public Art Program, established in the late 1980s, provides opportunities and funding for public art. In I991 the program was revised to strengthen the funding and tie it to new construction and renovation for City projects. One percent (1%) of the design and construction budget of any single City capital improvement project over $1 million must be set aside for the inclusion of art in the new project.
Public Art Bond Projects Overview
The Better Denver program is incorporating public art into qualifying construction projects that are part of the Bond Program. Art is incorporated in a variety of ways in the project; as a stand-alone piece, an architectural feature of a building or facility, or incorporated into landscaping. The art program applies to new construction or improvements to a “building or structure, road, streetscape, pedestrian mall or plaza or park” or any other project which includes “finished space for human occupancy” that will be “available for public view.” About 30-plus bond projects qualified for inclusion in the Public Art Program. New art projects will be announced regularly via www.callforentry.org or visit www.denvergov.org/doca.
Artist Janet Echelman’s 1.26 floating fabric sculpture at Civic Center Park.
Photo copyright by Echelman.
Arts and Venues Denver
Arts and Venues (formerly Denver Office of Cultural Affairs/DOCA) oversees the Public Art Program and guides its activities, which are covered under the Denver Revised Municipal Code [DRMC] 20-85 ordinance. Arts and Venues, with the City Attorney’s office, determines the applicability of the art program for City projects. DOCA is overseen by the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, a citizen group appointed by the Mayor of Denver that advises the City on art and cultural issues.
Program artworks are selected through a public process that includes citizens, artists and design professionals. Each public art project is specific to its location and each selection panel is unique. Panel members are charged with identifying works that speak to a location, a group of people, a time in history, and that represent Denver. Artists are chosen who can create works that engage the viewer, inform the visitor and add vitality to Denver’s cultural landscape. Over the past 18 years, the City has installed over 150 works of art under this program.
Overall Art program Goals
- Each project site is unique
- Encourage creative combinations
- Reach out to emerging artists
- Give artists the tools to apply and succeed
- Design excellence
Contact Arts and Venues with questions about public art at 720-865-4302 or www.denvergov.org/publicart