Percent for Art Reform

The Washington Street Advocacy Group attempts to maintain this tracker of DCLA monument projects to assist City Council oversight. Please contact Todd Fine at if you learn any updates:

The Washington Street Advocacy Group has advocated for transparency and reform at the Percent for Art program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Despite reform legislation passed several years ago, it remains very difficult for the public to ascertain the current status of Percent for Art commissions. Selection meetings often take place in secret or without public notice, in violation of the Open Meetings Law. The Washington Street Advocacy Group, therefore, does regular FOIL requests to try to ascertain the current status of the City's public art commissions. The Department of Cultural Affairs does not maintain "trackers" as other agencies do.

The Percent for Art program is also desperately underfunded. Despite having hundreds of projects outstanding, the program only has three staff members, many fewer than analogous public art programs in cities across the country. Although Mayor Bill de Blasio further tasked the program to work on up to 12 major monuments, beyond its normal responsibilities for public art, the program has not received additional funding. Although the pandemic puts great constraints on future funding, the Percent for Art resources must be increased significantly if it is going to be tasked so heavily.

The Public Design Commission also now requires that privately donated artworks be designed through the Percent for Art program. However, if the Percent for Art program is not funded, this essentially serves as a moratorium against new public art funded by private groups.

Video of City Council Hearing on Percent for Art Reform, December 17, 2019:

The Gotham Center, May 7, 2020:

Copyright, Washington Street Advocacy Group, 2021