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1% for Public Art program celebrates 50 years

There’s a gallery exhibit dedicated to honoring the 4,000+ art pieces paid for by the program.


The King Street Station Gallery has works spanning all 50 years of the program.

Photo by Marcus Donner, via Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

What’s 50 years old and responsible for 4,000+ pieces created by 1,500+ artists? That’s the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS)'s 1% for Public Art program.

The initiative was enacted in 1973 by then-Mayor Wes Ulman and the Seattle City Council. Under the ordinance, any city-funded construction or improvement project must dedicate 1% of the total cost of the project toward public arts.

In addition to the 4,000+ artworks, the program has funded artist-in-residences, the Waterfront for All initiative, and a few public galleries.

In celebration of the milestone, ARTS is displaying 150 of the works from the program in its King Street Station gallery. “The First 50 Years: Highlights from the Civic Collection, 1973-2023" is free and will run through Thursday, Sept. 7.

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