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Central Library, Seattle

Seattle Public Art Programme

Seattle was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a Percent for Art ordinance in 1973. For more than thirty years since then its public art programme has been considered exemplary. Seattle's Public Art Programme "integrates artworks and the ideas of artists into a variety of public settings" by means of developing a biannual Municipal Art Plan, commissioning permanently sited works and temporary innovative projects, and employing artists in residence in government departments.

The Public Art Programme is managed by the governmental arts agency formerly called the Seattle Arts Commission. Until 2003 this was located in the City of Seattle Mayor's Office, enjoying cabinet-level status within city government. In that year it was restructured as the present Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, moved into the executive department, and along with other departments suffered budget cuts at a time of massive post-dotcom-boom shortfalls.