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City Art: New York's Percent for Art Program
On View April 28 – September 24, 2005
Gerald D. Hines Gallery, Public Resource Center

See Michael Kimmelman's 08/19/2005 piece in The New York Times on the Percent for Art Program

David S. Allee

photograph: David S. Allee

katul katul, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Queens Family Courthouse. Architects: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners/Gruzen Samton


David S. Allee



David S. Allee




This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from Target logo

Additional funding was provided by The Fund for the City of New York, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Gruzen Samton Architects, and Richard Dattner & Partners Architects.

The publication City Art: New York’s Percent for Art Program (Merrell Publishers, London and New York) was made possible by a generous grant from The Joy of Giving Something, Inc. Additional publishing support was provided by Furthermore: A Program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.



New York’s Percent for Art program is one of the largest municipally funded public art programs in America. Over the past two decades, it has commissioned and installed over 200 site-specific, permanent public art works throughout the City’s five boroughs.

In 1982, as New York City emerged from a financial crisis, Mayor Edward I. Koch initiated the Percent for Art law, which was then passed by the City Council and put into effect in 1983. Administered through the Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art directs one percent of the City's budget for eligible construction projects toward funding public artworks in public schools, courthouses, day care centers, police precincts, firehouses, hospitals, transportation terminals, detention centers, parks, and other sites throughout the City.

Public art is a complex and collaborative process. Artists are challenged to make permanent works of art that respond to the needs and values of New York’s diverse communities, and that are practical within the realities of city-sponsored construction. City Art invites viewers to consider the role public art plays in our daily lives and communities, and in shaping our identity as New Yorkers. The exhibition also explores the process of creating public art, and the unique opportunities and challenges that individual artists encounter working in the public realm.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with the release of the book City Art: New York's Percent of Art Program, published by Merrell Publishers (London, New York).

Public Programming at the
Center for Architecture

Wednesday, May 11, 6:30–8:30pm
The Making of City Art
Learn about the creation of City Art: New York’s Percent for Art Program – the book and the exhibition – and how 22 years of public art in New York City has been captured by the curator and photographer.
With: Charlotte Cohen, Director, Percent for Art Program; Marvin Heiferman, Exhibition Curator and Editor; David Allee, Photographer

Wednesday, May 25, 6:30–8:30pm

Making Public Art That Stands the Test of Time
Examine how artists realize their creative visions while addressing the long-term preservation needs of their artwork.
With: Michele Cohen, Director of Public Art for Public Schools, New York City Department of Education; Luca Buvoli, Artist; Krzysztof Wodiczko, Artist; Albert Albano, Conservator

Wednesday, June 1, 6:30–8:30pm

A Conversation With Henry Cobb, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Eleanor Heartney
A discussion about how architects and artists, in the words of Henry Cobb, “make room for the other.”
With: Henry Cobb, Architect, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Ursula von Rydingsvard, Artist, Queens Family Court House Percent for Art Project; Eleanor Heartney, Art Critic, Essayist for City Art

Tuesday, June 21, 6:30–8:30pm

A Conversation with Artist Cai Guo-Qiang and Jane Farver
Cai Guo-Qiang is an internationally renowned artist who curated China’s first official pavilion for this year's Venice Biennale. Jane Farver curated Cai’s 1997 solo exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art.
With: Cai Guo-Qiang, Artist, Bronx Criminal Court House Percent for Art Project; Jane Farver, Curator and Director of the List Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Monday, June 27, 6:30–8:30pm
Fresh Kills Landfill: Art + Engineering = Public Art
Explore the art of collaboration across design disciplines as environmental art is created on a vast scale.
With: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Artist, Fresh Kills Landfill Percent for Art Project; Phillip Gleason, Assistant Commissioner, New York City Department of Sanitation; Peter Reed, Curator, Museum of Modern Art

Wednesday, July 6, 6:30–8:30pm

Public Art: The Architect’s Perspective
Two architects with extensive experience with the Percent for Art program discuss the design process and how their work differs from that of an artist.
With: Susan Chin, FAIA, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs; Charlotte Cohen, Director, Percent for Art Program; Richard Dattner, FAIA, Richard Dattner & Partners Architects; Gerald Vasisko, AIA, Partner, Gruzen Samton Architects

Saturday, July 23, 12:00 noon–3:00pm

Family Day with the Center for Architecture Foundation
Children and their parents explore public art around the city in schools, parks, libraries and public spaces, then work collectively to design and construct their own.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30–8:30pm

Technical Workshop for Artists: The Percent for Art Process
Workshop to help guide artists through the process of creating a portfolio for the Percent for Art slide registry, preparing for interviews with artist selection panels, and developing a public art proposal.
With: Charlotte Cohen, Director, Percent for Art Program; Catherine Behrend, Deputy Director, Percent for Art Program; Robyn Love, Artist; Philemona Williamson, Artist

Exhibition Credits
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York
Patricia E. Harris, Deputy Mayor
Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs

Curator: Marvin Heiferman
Featured Photography: David S. Allee
Exhibition Design: Dennis Vermeulen

Exhibition Coordination for the Department of Cultural Affairs: Sara Rutkowski, Director of Public Affairs; Caitlin Nish, Assistant Director of Public Affairs
Susan Chin, FAIA, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs
Percent for Art: Charlotte Cohen, Director; Catherine Behrend, Deputy Director

Special thanks to: Diane M. Coffey, Ronay Menschel, Agnes Gund and the members of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, City Store, Enterprise Lighting Sales, A & L Lighting Limited, and Osram Sylvania