In the state of Utah, over 230 permanent artworks have been placed on sidewalks, parks, city buildings and plazas. Many of these works include sculptures, paintings, landscapes, and installations. The thing that makes these artworks interesting, is that they were all funded by legislation, a statute called the Utah Percent-for-Art Act.
“The statute is written so that one percent of the hard construction cost is added to the cost of the building. And then that one percent is managed by our office the Utah Public Art Office. And we do that in conjunction with a community-based art selection committee,” said Jim Glenn, manager of the Public Art Program.
This committee talks about the project, publishes the information about the project for artists to apply if they’re interested, and then goes through the process of selecting artists based on their past work, or their proposals.
Two of the artworks in Utah have been awarded by Americans for the Arts, a non-profit organization that specifically recognizes exceptional public art in the nation.
One of the works is called Life of Tree, a piece installed in University of Utah’s Crocker Science Building, by a team of artists called Hypersonic Studios & Plebian Design.
“It’s a beautiful piece that talks a lot about scientific discovery and exploration,” Glenn said.
And the other piece was created by Douwe Blumberg, and installed at the Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville.
“It’s a beautiful aluminum piece of a figure that’s sort of being assembled visually. It’s a filigree of cast aluminum rings,” Glenn said.
The Public Art Program has been installing artworks through the Percent-for-Art Act since 1985.
“It’s all contributing to making communities more livable. Both for the people that live there and work there, but also for people that visit. These are visual manifestations of pride of place,” Glenn said.