Art in State Buildings

    Art in State Buildings brings art into the public spaces where Iowans study, work, visit and live. For more than 35 years, the program has provided artists, students, educators and the citizens of Iowa with opportunities to participate in and experience public art.

    Iowa was among the first states in the nation to adopt a percent for art law. In 1974, after persuading their colleagues of the importance of the fine arts to Iowa, Republican Senator John Murray of Ames and Republican Representative Philip Hill of Des Moines amended bills for two new state office buildings to include the purchase of art. Five years later, in 1979, the Iowa Legislature enacted and Governor Robert D. Ray signed into law the Art in State Buildings program, ensuring that fine art would be integrated into all future state building projects.

    Today, 25 states and the District of Columbia have a similar law, and more than 300 public art programs exist at the local level across the U.S.

    Funding for Art in State Buildings is generated from ½ of 1% (0.5%) of the state’s portion of total construction costs for new and renovated state buildings, an efficient and cost-effective method of enhancing our built environment.

    The Art in State Buildings program is jointly administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, the Iowa Board of Regents Institutions and participating state agencies.