About Public Art
Public art refers to artwork or elements of design either temporarily or permanently located in a public space that is free and accessible to all. Civic statuary such as monuments and memorials are perhaps the most recognized forms of public art. The definition of public art is constantly shifting and evolving—not only do artists consider the physical placement of their work in a public space, they also take into consideration the social, cultural and historical contexts in which the art work is situated. There is also great interest in fostering community involvement and civic collaboration during the process of creating public art.
The Maine Arts Commission supports the following public art programs:
- Maine's Percent for Art Program
- Art in the Capitol
- Excellence in Visual and Performing Arts Education
- The Congresssional Art Competition
Maine's Percent for Art Program
Since 1982, this program has generated approximately $7,824,373 in funds for public art in Maine.
Maine’s percent for art program was established by law in 1979 and sponsors public art for publicly-financed buildings. The law decrees that 1% minimum of the budget for construction or renovation costs of buildings funded through taxpayer dollars is appropriated for acquiring works of art. Each project is developed in cooperation with professionals in the local community and installed permanently on the site of the capital project.
Maine is one of 27 states in the U.S. that has an active percent for art program. The Maine Arts Commission oversees the acquisitioning process, advocating for artists to be an integral part of the design process to further enrich our community buildings. These public sites serve as important venues for all of our citizens to appreciate artwork outside the traditional museum or gallery. We campaign for public art because it:
- Makes public spaces more appealing, useful or accessible through the incorporation of artworks
- Directly supports cultural tourism and economic development strategies
- Gives a city/site character an identity that makes it appealing to residents and helps to further attract visitors
- Offers opportunities for artists and designers to respond creatively to design challenges and enriches the vision for the site for all parties
- Provides opportunities and employment for regional artists
If you would like to see the process for commissioning works of art through Maine’s Percent for Art Program, click here.
Current Percent for Art opportunities are listed on this page as they become available. If you would like to receive email notifications as new projects become available, send a message to Julie Horn at the address listed below and ask to be added to the Percent for Art email list.
Please see the sidebar menu of this page for other important facts, maps and an archive of our State’s public art program!
If you have any questions regarding Maine’s Percent for Art Program, please contact Julie Horn - 207/287-2790 - vog.eniam@nroH.eiluJ
The Maine Arts Commission does not have a Percent for Art opportunity at this time. Please check back in the near future.
NOTE: The application process for Percent for Art opportunities has changed.
Detailed information about the application process can be found in the project prospectus..