Pittsburgh and Allegheny County ordinances include provisions requiring 1% and 2% of the costs of a publicly-funded building or renovation project, respectively, be set aside for the inclusion of art. Public Art laws are already on the books, but are largely ignored and not being enforced. Many cities in the U.S. have thriving "Percent for Art" programs thanks to active legislation, but Pittsburgh and Allegheny County do not.
By enhancing and enlivening public spaces, Public Art can engage residents, welcome visitors, raise visibility and improve the livability quotient of city life for all. Enforcing these existing laws to fund art in public spaces will brand Pittsburgh as a more nationally competitive city.
With a viable Percent for Art program, Pittsburgh will become more livable by presenting economic opportunity to working artists, architects and skilled laborers. The presence of a healthy arts community—a critical mass of active and interacting artists and skilled craftspeople—will drive jobs, development, and the revitalization of Pittsburgh as a whole.
We ask Pittsburgh's Mayor, Allegheny County's Executive, Pittsburgh City Council members, and candidates for mayor and city council to make a pledge: "I will enforce Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Percent for Public Art Laws."
Why is this important?
The economic opportunities that come with Percent for Art projects: 60% of public art budgets routinely go towards the fabrication and installation of an artwork; 20% towards the artist's authorship. Examples of people who work on fabrication and installation are plumbers, electricians, welders, carpenters, general contractors, plus workers with expertise with tile and concrete. Essentially, this insures that artists get paid to think and to build on a large scale, engaging the eyes, ears, and interest of all citizens.