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Public Art/Percent for Art

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Frequently Asked Questions



What is Percent for Art? 

The Maine Percent for Art law was enacted in 1979 to provide for art in public buildings. Under the law, an amount equal to one percent of the construction budget is set aside to purchase original works of art for new or renovated buildings receiving state funds. 


Who chooses the art?

The contracting agency has final authority over the selection of artwork. The art selection committee is made up of two representatives appointed by the contracting agency, two arts professionals appointed by the Maine Arts Commission, and the project architect. The committee recommends artwork to the contracting agency for final approval. All committee meetings are open to the public and Non-voting representatives of the contracting agency are encouraged to attend.


Where do we find the artists?

The selection committee chooses the type of artist-call the process will have. The selection committee may choose to consider only Maine artists, regional artists, or to keep the competition open to national and international applicants. The project is advertised in various media and in the Maine Arts Commission Newsletter, email listserv, Facebook and website. 


What may be purchased with Percent for Art funds?

The art selection committee may consider all permanent art forms. Paintings, stained glass windows, ceramic murals, sculpture, fiber art, photography, and prints are just some of the choices available to the selection committee. 


What is the Commission’s role?

The Maine Arts Commission provides leadership, resources, and materials to facilitate the art selection process. Following the approval of the contracting agency, the Maine Arts Commission approves the art selection process.


How many sites have taken advantage of this program?

Since 1979 there have been more than 400 Percent for Art projects. It has generated almost eight million dollars in funds for public art in Maine. It has employed over 800 artists and can be seen in 175 communities and all 16 counties. It has generated approximately 850 works of art for Maine citizens to enjoy. 


How do I learn more?

For other questions, contact the agency's Visual Arts Director, Julie Horn at or 207-287-2790.