The PRA pioneered the Percent for Art Program in March 1959, becoming the first city in the United States to create a program requiring developers to commission art as part of the development process. The PRA’s Percent for Art Program obligates developers who are building on land acquired and assembled by the PRA to dedicate at least one percent of the total building construction costs toward the commissioning of original, site-specific works of art. Since the inception of the Program, hundreds of public art have been installed in all areas of Philadelphia. Works of public art can be found in such diverse developments as high-rise commercial and residential towers, housing for families and the elderly, shopping plazas, parks, hotels, universities, schools and libraries.
The Percent for Art program encourages Redevelopers to conceive of innovative applications for public art, and to create work that engages the public and challenges them to think about their surroundings in new and exciting ways. In addition to the tradition mediums of public art, developers can also commission projects that take less conventional forms, like community, arts and culture-based public programs.
Leo Villareal, "Light Matrix" Image courtesy of Kevin Monko Photography