Percent for Art

Oregon's Percent for Art legislation guides the acquisition of the state's public art collection, which includes more than 2,500 works of art.


Public art program discussions began in 1975. Initial legislation applied solely to public construction budgets in Marion and Polk counties. In 1977, the program extended to state buildings in all Oregon counties. Oregon Revised Statutes set aside no less than 1% of funds for the acquisition of public-facing artwork in all state building construction plans with budgets over $100,000.

Since then, the Percent for Art program has placed high quality, accessible, and permanent art in public places. The program remains dedicated to the enhancement of public environments and the improvement of the character and quality of state buildings.  

Selection Process

Public Art Program artwork is selected and commissioned by selection committees composed of citizens representing the user agency, community members, arts professionals, and a project architect. The OAC’s Visual Arts Coordinator facilitates the selection process and serves as a non-voting chair of the committee.

The Art Selection Committee evaluates possible styles, materials, locations, and themes in order to select artwork appropriate for each building. Through shared discussion and a thorough review of proposals, the Art Selection Committee makes final selections of artists and works of art for the buildings.

Art Acquisition Process

Artwork for the public art collection may be acquired in several ways:

  • Existing pieces may be purchased; either from an artist or a gallery.
  • Artists may be asked to respond to a Request for Proposals, which may be ‘Limited:’ specific artists are invited to submit proposals, or ‘Open:’ a broad call for proposals is issued and interested artists propose ideas.


Over 160 state construction projects have qualified for Percent for Art funds and more than 1,280 Oregonians have participated on Art Selection Committees. Hundreds of thousands of state workers, citizens, and visitors have noticed, admired, debated, questioned, appreciated, and been in contact with public art all over the state.

There are now over 2,500 pieces in Oregon's state art collection, including drawings, paintings, mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, mosaics, murals, textiles, and both site specific and structurally integrated art installations. Over one thousand artists have been involved with Percent for Art and have earned over $6 million throughout the program's history. 

Oregon Arts Commission

(503) 986-0082 (phone)
(503) 986-0260 (fax)
775 Summer Street NE, Ste 200
Salem, OR 97301-1280