Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University, UK


  1. Each year the Council pursues a capital programme across a number of committees. These schemes involve new buildings and developments, renovations, housing schemes, environmental improvements.

  2. A certain amount of this expenditure would be in schemes inappropriate to the application of a 1% for art - because of the nature or context of the work or because 1% would yield too low a figure of the total to make an art work feasible.

  3. Capital expenditure and projects would be assessed by the Public Arts Programme Working Party and an allocation made directly for the Working Party to implement. It is therefore imperative that the Public Arts Programme Working Party can continue a membership comprising relevant political and officer membership as well as the external appointees ensuring artists' participation and the input of appropriate people working in various capacities in the visual arts.

  4. From surveying capital budgets a number of sites and schemes would single themselves out. A 1% for art scheme would mean that the Public Arts Programme Working Party would be looking at a pro rata allocation in relation to the proposed budget of the scheme, eg a 1,000,000 scheme would yield a commission or commissions for art work to the value of 10,000.

  5. In certain schemes (eg the North American Alaskan model) a building project costing less than a determined amount is deemed to yield too small a sum to commission work and instead the 1% is deposited into an Art in Public Places Fund as in the 1% from any new facility not designed to be used by the public and this fund in turn provides art for existing public buildings and spaces. This sort of policy could be adopted by the City since as in (3) above there will always be capital schemes within certain areas of a Programme Committee which are deemed inapplicable for '1% for art' projects.

  6. The Public Arts Programme Working Party, liaising with the appropriate Programme Committees, would see through the commissioning procedure involving
    • Advertising the commissions to invite artists to tender and determining what is the appropriate type of art to commission for a particular project and site.
    • Co-opting the job architects and planners working on the schemes onto the selection process.
    • Attracting supplementary funding from the Regional Arts Association, the EEC, or private sponsorship, where appropriate.
    • Liaising with community and user groups, ensuring the formulation of the right commission and its progress involving the community.
    • Selection of artists to proceed to a model or maquette stage, where appropriate.
    • Commissioning with contractual and professional obligations (the type of contract used in existing schemes is comparable to a standard architectural or engineering contract).

    All these stages need to be worked out in detail by the Public Arts Programme Working Party to provide an operative framework once the principle of 1% for art is adopted by the Council as a policy.

  7. Existing 1% schemes, operating in, for example, North America, ensure that the 1% is reserved exclusively for the commissioning of art or craft work. There is also protection ensuring that the scheme is used for original works of art by living artists. It cannot be used on reproductions or by architects/interior designers/landscape architects for decorative features. Remuneration to the artist under a 1% scheme should take into account not only fee but materials, employment of assistants, installation costs, overheads, with the artist nonetheless designing to the maximum amount available for the project.

[This document was written in 1989 and is reproduced by kind permission of Sheffield City Council.]

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