A History of Cultural Innovation
Public Art in Kansas City
Since its inception, the One Percent for Art program has brought the work of great local, regional and national artists to the residents of Kansas City.
With this program, established by unanimous City Council vote on December 11, 1986, Kansas City followed in the footsteps of many other municipalities in 1970 when the City Council approved a resolution allotting one percent of the construction budget of any municipal building to “features of aesthetic ornamentation and adornment.”
The City’s forays into public art were at first limited to a few pieces, but thanks to the advocacy of a dedicated group of Kansas Citians, the City Council approved City Ordinance #60321, advocated by Councilmember Katheryn Shields, on December 11, 1986. The ordinance established the City’s Public Art Fund and provided a means by which the Kansas City Municipal Art Commission could administer the construction of dozens of pieces of public art across the city throughout the 1990s and into the present day.
The One Percent for Art program, one of more than 350 such programs in the nation, allocates one percent of each City building construction/renovation project’s budget to the creation of original art connected to that project. The program has generated a variety of work from local, regional and national artists, with each piece adding a unique twist to the Kansas City cultural landscape.
The one Percent for Art program has fostered artistic growth and aesthetic excellence in our community, and has enhanced the vitality of Kansas City and enriched the lives of its citizens. This program has brought art to every corner of the city, and has helped establish Kansas City’s reputation as an Art City.