The Per Cent for Art Scheme
The Per Cent for Art Scheme is a funding mechanism to support the commissioning of works of public art, whereby one per cent of the overall cost of a construction project is ring-fenced and allocated for an art project.
The Per Cent for Art Scheme was established in Ireland during 1978 when the Office of Public Works established a scheme based on the principles of Per Cent for Art. In 1986 the Department of the Environment established a similar scheme entitled the Artistic Embellishment Scheme. Following a review of both schemes in 1994, the publication of the Public Art Research Report – Steering Group Report to Government [PART report] led to the principle of the Per Cent for Art being extended to all Government Departments with construction budgets. In 2004, the PART report was reviewed resulting in the publication of General National Guidelines, aimed at providing a common national approach to the implementation of the Per Cent for Art Scheme. This public art policy - People, Time & Place - is informed by these national guidelines.
Wexford County Council has pro-actively implemented the Per Cent for Art Scheme since 1997, through three phases of commissioning. Over the past decade, Wexford County Council has undertaken some thirty-four commissions. One of the most notable developments has been an expansion in the scope of public art commissioning demonstrating a shift in emphasis from permanent outdoor sculpture to ephemeral time based installations encompassing many art forms, outside of the visual arts.
As a pioneer for public art, Wexford County Council has benefited significantly from taking risks, breaking new ground and challenging perceptions about what defines public art practice.