The Salt Lake City Arts Council is thrilled to announce important amendments made to Ordinance 2.30, which governs the City’s public art and its “Percent for Art program.” This past April 6, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed a landmark revision to this Ordinance that will, among other things, increase the Percent for Art program’s annual budget by 50%. By revisiting this program for the very first time since its inception in 1984, Salt Lake City renews and strengthens its commitment to public art, artists, and our community.
The City’s Percent for Art program provides funding for public art by setting aside a percent of the City’s annual Capital Improvement Project Budget for the integration of public art into our community’s parks, public buildings, sidewalks, city streets, and plazas throughout the city. In its original form, this percentage was set at 1%. The newly amended city Ordinance now increases this number to 1.5%, allowing the Public Art Program to focus efforts on maintenance, long-term care, and restoration of the current collection, as well as to grow and strengthen the City’s ability to invest in public works of art and the artists who create them.
For over 35 years, the City’s public art program has supported a thriving arts community by commissioning thought-provoking works of art that represent a wide range of social, cultural, and historical values and characteristics. Today, our City’s public art collection comprises over 130 site-specific artworks that promote social interaction, business and economic development, civic discourse, and public engagement. Beyond the aesthetic values provided to our City, our public art program strives to create safe and inclusive spaces that make rich connections with everyone in our community, stimulate dialogue between people, celebrate the diversity of its residents, and foster a sense of pride belonging amongst community members. Furthermore, our public art collection seeks to be a catalyst for innovation and positive change as it attracts new residents and visitors to the City, strengthens investment in neighborhoods, and drives people to businesses in the area.
This new change in the City’s existing ordinance comes at an extraordinary time. As our City continues to grow and expand, the public art program continues its commitment to creating new and exciting works of art that truly reflect Salt Lake’s local character, support the artists that create them, and introduce vibrancy into our shared urban environment. More importantly, the increase in funding allows artists to continue creating work that will reflect the uniqueness and stories of our communities.
The Salt Lake City Arts Council is incredibly grateful to Mayor Erin Mendenhall and City Council for their willingness to invest in Salt Lake City’s creative economy, public spaces, neighborhoods, and communities. With Utah being one of the fastest growing states, public art has the unique ability and responsibility to humanize the built environment, as well as foster social, cultural, and economic development and we look forward to doing just that.
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Header image: Sun, Moon, and all Things In Between (detail) by Michael Moonbird and Victoria Lyons