NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Your City Defined: Percent For Arts Program

This is the reason you can meet your friends at the Clothespin.

Established in March 1959 by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Percent for Arts Program requires developers to allocate at least one percent of building construction costs of redevelopment projects to the commissioning of original, specific-to-the-site artworks. This was the first legislation of its kind passed in the United States.

The Percent For Arts Program was part of Richardson Dilworth’s vision for Philadelphia. Mayor of Philadelphia from 1956 to 1962, Dilworth presided over Philadelphia’s Modern Golden Age, restored parks and historical sites, reformed public transportation, and established a public housing system, among other things.

Since the inception of the Percent for Arts Program, nearly 400 pieces of artwork have been installed in Philadelphia. These include “Wave Forms” by Dennis Oppenheim (Domus Building 34th & Chestnut Street); “Plateau” by Andrea Blum (University of Pennsylvania, 40th & Walnut Streets); “Open Air Aquarium” by Magdalena Abakanowicz (Dockside, Columbus Boulevard); and “Goldilocks” by Ming Fay (Tivoli Building, 20th & Hamilton Streets).

In an effort to ensure that the artworks are fully integrated into the community, the Redevelopment Authority requires that 5 percent of the Percent for Art contribution goes to educational programming about communities and public art. This “Percent for Community” may take the form of artist workshops, arts education, pamphlets and audio tours.

While this was a groundbreaking program 50 years ago, its model has since been improved by other cities, according to a PennPraxis study commissioned in 2008. Cities seem to have solved issues that plague Philadelphia’s version of the program: lack of funding for ongoing maintenance and conservation of the collection of these public artworks, and the inability of the city to enforce the program and ensure that developers are complying.

Unfortunately, the program has received minimal funding and support from the Redevelopment Authority and several mayoral administrations. With a bare-bones staff and little funding, developers face little punishment if they do not comply with the Percent for Arts Program demands.

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

thephilacitizen @thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#GuestCommentary | "From Boston-adelphia to Detroit-adelphia, we want all of Philadelphia to feel a can-do spirit i… https://t.co/i80snTWT1b 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#Event ⚡️ Join us for an evening with Anand Giridharadas, author of the provocative new book, Winners Take All: The… https://t.co/ujmtztFufe 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#GuestCommentary | "Detroit’s recovery...has been and continues to be a true team effort, a collaboration among the… https://t.co/Amq8GiU9AT 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#DoSomething ⚡️ Visit Philly's magic gardens for an evening of relaxation and meditation among the art. More info h… https://t.co/gRMuKitBKO 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#GuestCommentary | A trip to the Motor City leads The Economy League’s executive director to reflect on how far Phi… https://t.co/OwXGx0XysH 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#CitizenCast | Listen to The Sanctuary Tragedy through our podcast: https://t.co/PqIBpYtyst 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#TheCitizenRecommends | Have you seen @the_barnes collection yet? Get to know it through a fresh perspective with B… https://t.co/cB7ddiwAIK 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
#DoSomething ⚡️ Today is dedicated to island culture with the sounds of reggae, vendors selling authentic Caribbean… https://t.co/ShhTim2khV 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Philly 3.0’s engagement director breaks down Pennsylvania’s surge in youth voter registration: https://t.co/tRR92H9UT5 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Value of the Abatement | The Philadelphia Citizen: https://t.co/d22ChP3TWv 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
As part of a series on the upcoming election, an urban demographer looks at how the state house races are likely to… https://t.co/ZgTRZqHwDL 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
By reacting to Trump like Trump, Mayor Kenney has shed more heat than light in the sanctuary debate. Maybe he shoul… https://t.co/PKq4XmyX77 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story