Percent for Art Scheme

The State Government’s Percent for Art Scheme encourages art in the built environment by using a percentage of a development’s overall budget to commission public artworks. The Scheme is administered jointly by the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) and the Department of Finance’s Building Management and Works (BMW).

Since the Scheme began in 1989, more than 574 artworks have been commissioned by the State, valued at more than $46 million.

The success of the Percent for Art Scheme has led to its adoption and use by other State Government agencies, local governments and private developers as a model of best practice. These models are also often referred to as percent for art programs or policies, as they are based on a percentage of a development’s overall budget being used to commission public artworks.

Projects and Case Studies

The process and results of all projects completed as part of the Scheme since 2008 have been documented in a series of brochures and case study examples. See Percent for Art projects and case studies to view projects by year of completion.

Annual Reports (Year in Review)

Annual outcomes of the Percent for Art scheme, including statistics on new and completed commissions, administration of the scheme and featured projects, are published each year in the Percent for Art Scheme Year in Review reports, which are available for viewing and download here.

Percent for Art Guidelines

All BMW-approved building projects over $2 million are required to include a Percent for Art component. The Percent for Art Guidelines provide detailed information on best practice principles, advice on compliance, and a step-by-step guide to assist state and local government authorities through the commissioning process.

Contacts and assistance

BMW has a list of approved art coordinators who can provide information and assistance with commissioning public artworks through the Percent for Art Scheme. See the BMW buyers guide for contact information.

Procurement exemption for Aboriginal artists and business groups

Aboriginal artists with a registered business or members of an Aboriginal artists’ business group may be eligible for Government direct tendering opportunities up to $250,000 under the Aboriginal Business Directory WA scheme. Art coordinators can recommend commissioning an Indigenous artist under these provisions.

Under the Percent for Art Scheme, BMW project managers must seek approval from the BMW General Manager Policy and Practice, who holds the appropriate delegation to legally apply a procurement exemption for the Aboriginal direct engagement provision. 

Other models

Outside the Percent for Art Scheme, there are a number of models such as direct commissioning where the commission is not based on a percentage of the build. Some Percent for Art programs may also include a cash-in-lieu option, where in-lieu of commissioning an artwork, the artwork budget is handed over to a commissioning agent, who will determine the acquisition process and the location for artwork(s).

This approach has been used by local governments, State Government agencies and other organisations.

For more information on the various Commissioning Models used in public art, refer to the Commissioning Public Art section.