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Program Services  

New Hampshire's Percent for Art ProgramAdopt a Public Artwork

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About the Percent for Art Program:New Horizons, Clowes Sculpture

The Percent for Art Program was enacted by the New Hampshire State Legislature in 1979 through RSA 19-A:9 & RSA 19-A:10 and authorizes one half of one percent of the Capital Budget appropriation for new state buildings (or significant renovations) to be set aside in a non-lapsing account for the acquisition or commissioning of artwork.*

The Percent for Art Program is dedicated to aesthetically enriching our state funded buildings, enhancing the effectiveness of the services provided in state buildings through the art that is displayed there and making the arts more available to our citizens.

The program takes a unique approach to the acquisition of artwork by creating a Site Selection Committee that engages in a process where planners, architects, state employees, art professionals and private citizens collaborate in the selection, commissioning or purchasing of works of art by artists and craftspeople for state buildings. The themes developed by the committee and the artwork selected often help the agencies housed within the building to better meet their mission.

Site Selection Committees & RFPs to artists:

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts oversees the process for selection of artwork by convening a Site Selection Committee made up of site and art advisors. Site advisors include representatives from the agency or agencies housed in the building; the project architect if available; a representative from the Bureau of Public Works: Design & Construction; users of the building; and sometimes a state legislator from the district where the building is located. Art advisors include one to three individuals representing professional artists, craftspeople, art educators, or gallery directors. The meetings are facilitated by one or more staff members from the State Arts Council.

The Site Selection Committee first identifies the primary locations where the public will have the greatest access to the artwork and also identifies themes they want the artwork to address.  The NHSCA issues Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the artists to respond to. Rules call for preference to be given to artists residing in New Hampshire and the Northeast.

The Site Selection Committee reviews proposals submitted by artists and makes recommendations to the State Arts Council for the selection of artwork based on the following criteria:

  • Quality, appropriateness, and suitability of the proposed artwork in relation to the RFP
  • Design considerations: artworks must be durable, require minimal maintenance, meet safety standards, and adhere to building codes, and other state regulations
  • Medium, forms, and themes: suitability of the proposed medium, forms, and artistic concept to the stated themes
  • Suggested locations: suitability of the proposed artwork to the location
  • The artist’s ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule. Assessment is based on evidence of successful projects undertaken and completed as noted in the artist’s resume and work samples.

Memory Lane, Gordon CarlisleIn accordance with the Percent for Art guidelines, up to 80 percent of the amount generated is applied to the acquisition and/or commission of art work for display in the building generating the funds. The balance is utilized for costs related to convening committees, labeling, and the periodic acquisition of art work for the Arts Bank Collection so that other state buildings may benefit from the program.

Stewardship of the State Arts Collection is the responsibility of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the State Arts Council and meets professional standards of collection management. Repairs to artwork in the State Arts Council’s collections are funded through the state arts fund and through Department of Natural and Cultural Resources allocated Conservation funds.

*New Hampshire’s Percent for Art legislation applies to the first $15,000,000 of the bid contract price of each new building or major addition authorized by the capital budget to be paid from the general fund. “Major addition'' is defined as any addition which increases the square footage of the building to which it is being added by 25 percent or more. Contracts for the following projects are excluded: repairs; the University system of New Hampshire; projects paid for by the highway fund, fish and game fund, or federal funds; and self-liquidating projects.

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A National Perspective:

Untitled mural, Alan PearsallThe Percent for Art legislation was visionary and like all good legislation, was intended to withstand the test of time. Many other states and municipal governments support public art through similar legislation. New Hampshire is one of 27 state and 35 municipal Percent for Art Programs around the country. Among these, New Hampshire is currently 1 of 4 that allocate 1/2 of one percent of the bond price of construction for artwork. Many programs allocate a full percent or more.

  • Download a list of state Percent for Art Programs: PDF only

The federal government supports public art through the US General Services Administration’s Art in Architecture Program, established in 1963. Through the program, GSA reserves ½ of one percent of the estimated cost of each new federal building for the commissioning of works of public art.

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Sample Projects:
The Percent for Art Program makes a significant impact on the overall quality of state construction and the way the agencies housed in the buildings are able to amplify the services they provide. Here are a few examples.

  • Department of Revenue Administration, Concord: PDF
  • Laconia Courthouse, Laconia: PDF
  • McAulliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord: PDF
  • Merrimack Courthouse, Merrimack: PDF
  • National Guard: Building F, Concord: PDF
  • NHTI’s Grappone Hall, Concord: PDF
  • Hampton Beach State Park, Hampton: PDF
  • Hillsborough County Courthouse, Manchester: PDF

The following Requests for Artists Proposals (RFPs) are posted for reference: PDFs only

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Who to Contact:

General Program Information & Requests for Artist Proposals:

Conservation of existing artwork questions & Adopt an Artwork loans from the Arts Bank Collection:


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Last updated: February 3, 2023

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