A bill to bring art to communities across the state has won final legislative approval. Sen. Penny Williams, D-Tulsa, is principal author of the “Art in Public Places Act.” She said the measure will enrich the state’s cultural development—an investment that will enhance quality of life and boost economic development.
“This isn’t a new concept at all. Twenty-eight states already have similar public art legislation. More than 350 public art programs across the nation support projects in airports, libraries, parks, government buildings and neighborhoods. For years, the Federal government has required a percentage of a public building’s cost to be set aside for art—my own home-town of Tulsa requires one percent,” Williams said. “This is an exciting venture that will elevate Oklahoma’s image, both nationally and internationally.”
Under Senate Bill 1347, one and one-half percent of the cost of construction or renovation of state owned public buildings would be allocated to incorporate artwork in, on or near the project. It would apply to renovation or construction projects costing at least $250,000 and the maximum assessment could not exceed $500,000.
The art could include such works as paintings, sculpture, mosaic, photography, fine crafts, and ornamental gateways. The act would apply to all state agencies, departments, boards, commissions and institutions as well as state colleges and universities. If the measure becomes law, the act would apply to all state agency capital projects approved after July 1, 2004.
Public schools, water, sewer or public utility projects, prisons or data processing purchases would be exempt. Artwork for the Department of Transportation, including road, bridge and turnpike projects, would be optional.
Rep. Dale Wells, principal author in the House of Representatives said The Oklahoma Historical Society, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Arts Council, would administer the “Art in Public Places Act.”
“This is going to be an excellent program for our communities and our state. It will help towns across Oklahoma to express their identity as well as promoting local artists. I believe these works will become a source of tremendous pride for our citizens,” Wells said.
The measure now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his approval.