News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release: 
March 15, 2024


Mayor Issues Proclamation Declaring March 14, 2024 “Percent for Art Day” in the City of New York

View the new, interactive map and website 
here. Photos from the celebration are available here.

NYC Cultural Affairs gathers at Gracie Mansion with a proclamation for Percent for Art.
City celebrates the 40th anniversary of the NYC Percent for Art program at Gracie Mansion. Photo by Matthew Lapiska/NYC DDC.

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Commissioner Laurie Cumbo today launched an interactive map and website showcasing artwork commissioned over the course of the program’s history and declared March 14, 2024 “Percent for Art Day” in the city of New York in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Percent for Art program. The interactive map, which was developed in close collaboration between DCLA, the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), and Esri, spotlights 40 permanent public art projects for New Yorkers to explore across New York City’s five boroughs. It also features an audio tour with the voices of figures who have supported the program since its inception, including artists, commissioners, and directors of the program.

“Public spaces aren’t just a luxury — they’re an economic and social necessity,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “Public art is one powerful way that we enliven these spaces, and invite New Yorkers in, and to see themselves and their communities reflected in them. I’m proud to preside over the 40th anniversary of this remarkable program, and I look forward to seeing what the next 40 years bring.”

 “Artists are the heart and soul of New York, and the Percent for Art program is one of the most powerful ways that we invite them to help design and define our public spaces,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development & Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “As the program reaches its 40th year, we have a unique opportunity to reflect on the profound role that the arts play in our city, and to explore the results of this decades-long collaboration between the city, its residents, and artists from across the five boroughs and around the globe.”

“The Percent for Art program has transformed NYC’s public spaces over the last four decades,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “We are proud to invest in the artists and projects through our Percent for Program that enhance our city’s landscape to continue shaping public art that resonates with the diverse voices and stories that make up our dynamic city. This new map provides a perfect entry point for New Yorkers to explore these permanent artworks throughout our city, and to engage a little more deeply with the public spaces that define our communities.”

“DDC is one of the leading agencies for implementing ‘Percent for Art’ and we recently celebrated the program with a historic exhibit at City Hall,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “This new interactive map will allow people to experience virtually works such as ‘The Hawk and The Heron' by Tatiana Arocha at the Snug Harbor Music Hall on Staten Island and the impressive ‘Unity’ sculpture by artist Hank Willis Thomas in Brooklyn. We look forward to adding future installations to the collection, including ‘Wings of Everchange’ by artist Jennifer Wen Ma at the new 70 Mulberry building in Chinatown.”

“This thoughtful immersive map showcases the transformative impact of New York City's Percent for Art program over the past 40 years,” said New York City Public Design Commission Executive Director Sreoshy Banerjea. “The Public Design Commission has had the privilege of working closely with DCLA to review and approve hundreds of permanent public artworks that reflect the diversity and creativity of our great city. We share a commitment to ensuring that vibrant public art remains a vital part of New York City’s future.”

The new, interactive map and website come four decades after the Percent for Art program was signed into law by Mayor Ed Koch and implemented in the following years. Administered by the DCLA, the program sets aside one percent of the budget for eligible, city-funded construction projects to be spent on artwork for city facilities. Since then, Percent for Art has worked on more than 450 projects throughout the five boroughs, including more than 100 ongoing commissions. The accumulated value of completed projects is over $65 million in today’s dollars. 40 years on, Percent for Art installations exist in libraries, schools, courthouses, playgrounds, parks, plazas, streets, and other open spaces and public facilities across the five boroughs.

On Thursday, Percent for Art project artists and project partners gathered at Gracie Mansion for a celebration in honor of the program’s 40th anniversary. Commissioner Cumbo unveiled the new map and website at the event, which highlights 40 artworks in all, including 34 fully installed works and previews of six projects poised for future installation. The interactive map allows users to search projects by artist name, borough, and project type, and is housed in a new integrative website for the Percent for Art program. Each point on the map guides users into a world of discovery, directing them to detailed project pages with enriching content, from comprehensive descriptions of the works to artist statements, audio recordings, personal accounts and insights. DCLA will continue to add audio recordings to the site for a dynamic user experience.

There are currently over 100 commissions currently in progress, representing a vast range of projects that will continue to partner artists with architects and communities to collaborative design permanent artworks for New York’s public realm. These include What Do I See Except Myself by Oasa DuVerney for Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway Library; Resonances by Christopher Myers, slated for the Brownsville library; and Jennifer Wen Ma’s Wings of Everchange 易之翼 a three-part installation for 70 Mulberry Street, a historic facility in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, which was home to a number of community cultural, and social service organizations before a fire severely damaged the building in January 2020.

The Percent for Art program proudly showcases a roster of exceptionally talented artists, many of whom have garnered prestigious awards and accolades. Artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for co-designing Our Democracy Our Destiny, a monument of Shirley Chisholm for the entrance at Prospect Park and the “Silver Lion” at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In 2023, it was announced that artist Jeffrey Gibson, commissioned to design Nephelococcygia (Cloud Cuckoo Land) for P. S. 264 in Brooklyn, will be the first Indigenous artist to represent the U.S. Pavilion in a solo exhibition at the 2024 Venice Biennale. In 2023, artist Hank Willis Thomas – who designed Unity in Downtown Brooklyn through Percent for Art - was awarded the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts by the U.S Office of Art in Embassies program for his work advancing cultural diplomacy.

The 40th anniversary map and new website come as a part of the city’s larger, celebrations for the program, which included a 2023 installation featuring photographs of Percent for Art projects surrounding the steps of New York City Hall in partnership with the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the New York City Public Design Commission. DCLA is also working with Bloomberg Connect to feature Percent for Art on their platform, further expanding access to this vital, publicly-owned art collection.

“The Percent for Art program has provided the opportunity to showcase an incredible variety of site-specific artwork in our public spaces, enlivening them and giving voice to artists both emerging and illustrious. Launched in 1985 at East Harlem Art Park with Jorge Luis Rodriguez’s work Growth, Percent for Art commissions can now be found in more than 20 of our parks. Bursting with creativity, these works range from topiaries in Prospect Park to whimsical fishes at Coney Island Boardwalk to a stately Frederick Douglass statue in Manhattan,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “The new interactive map will help connect New Yorkers with this unique public art program as well as our amazing parks and open spaces. We commend Percent for Art on its 40th anniversary!”

“Public art inspires New Yorkers, beautifying our streetscape to foster dynamic communal areas, and enhance our pedestrian corridors. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) remains committed to growing public art initiatives through the Percent for Art and NYCDOT Art programs, ensuring that both locals and visitors alike can enjoy public art installed throughout our cityscape,” said NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.

“We are thankful to the leadership and staff at the DCLA for their unwavering support and we are elated to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Percent for Art Program today. Through DCLA’s 35-year partnership with SCA’s Public Arts for Public Schools, we've commissioned hundreds of artworks that inspire students and spark creativity,” said Nina Kubota, president and CEO, New York City School Construction Authority (SCA). “Here at the SCA, we have the only public art program in the country dedicated to delivering artwork in schools and seeing several artworks that we’ve commissioned being highlighted today is a showcase of what we will continue to deliver through our partnership for the scholars of this city.”

"This was my first suspended sculpture, my first sculpture in plastic, and my first Percent for Art project,” said Ursula von Rydingsvard, artist, work katul katul installed at Queens County Family Court. The presence of the sculpture is experienced in large part by the way the sculpture contains, transmits, and negotiates the light throughout the five floors. There’s a huge range of what feel like movements of a cloud formation that vary underneath the dome as the light from the skylight goes through the layers of plastic during different times of the day. The Percent for Art program is a crucial part of our city as it allows more people to experience art."

“As an artist and educator, I am immensely proud that my artwork ‘Settings’ lives permanently in New York City’s public schools,” said Jean Shin, artist, work Settings installed at PS/IS 276 in Manhattan. “Every child deserves to see and make art every day, inspiring the next generation to tell their stories. My project invited families and communities to participate, creating a shared sense of belonging.”


About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit