City Light 1% for Art Fund – City Light

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Above, center: “Transforest” (2019) by Lead Pencil Studio

Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to pass an Art Percentage Ordinance in 1973. City Light’s 1% Art Fund allocates up to 1% of construction funds to fixed assets eligible for the inclusion of art. Since then, City Light has built a solid collection of over 400 permanently installed works of art and over 3,000 portable works of art. To explore the city’s civic art collection, visit the Bureau of Arts and Culture website.

The City accepts responsibility for expanding the public’s experience with the visual arts. Such art has enabled people in all societies to better understand their communities and individual lives. Artists capable of creating art for public places should be encouraged and Seattle’s position as a regional leader in public art strengthened. A policy is therefore established to guide the inclusion of works of art in the City’s public works.

Seattle City Code 20.32.010

A work of art showing a man facing to the right with a long tongue and vessels or wires on either side of him

Above: “In disease and health: flow” (2001) by Dan Corson and Lyn McCracken

The Seattle Arts Commission has a Public Art Advisory Subcommittee to oversee the program, and the city’s Bureau of Arts and Culture commissions works of art to add to the public art collection of City Light using the resources of the City Light 1% for Art Fund. The works of art in the collection are commissioned through a public process with panels made up of visual artists as well as community and city representatives.

Public artwork for Seattle City Light must have a strong connection to City Light’s core purpose of providing electrical services to our taxpayers.

Artistic projects having a ‘sufficiently close connection’ to the main objective of public service include:

  • Art used to beautify utility offices and customer service facilities
  • Art used in the construction or renovation of utility installations
  • Art that educates the public about conservation or other specific utility programs
  • portable works of art as part of a utility’s portable collection purchased for display in utility facilities
  • Artist-in-residence programs aimed at creating art with a sufficiently close connection to utility
  • Maintain utility artwork collection

A work of art showing a large red circle in the upper right corner, white in the upper left corner and shades of brown in the lower half

A hat-shaped glass artwork resting upside down with Native North West Coast designs

Above, left: “Fiery Globe” (1967-68) by Kenneth Callahan. Above right: Preston Singletary’s “Killerwhale Crest Hat” (2002).

Artist in Residence

In 2021, City Light hired Kate Clark as an Artist-in-Residence to consider an art master plan for how City Light administers its 1% for Art Fund dollars. The artistic master plan will propose potential public art projects for future City Light projects, sites and initiatives to be implemented through 2033.

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