How Artwork Was Acquired


For Projects with art allocations of $50,000 and up.  Commissions were awarded through competitions, which were accessible to state, regional, and national artists. For each commission project, the selection committee determined the project parameters, including potential sites, media, and conceptual content.  Artists were informed about opportunities posted on the Wisconsin Arts Board website through an email.  Interested artists submitted digital images of past work and other support materials prior to the specified deadline using an online application form.  The selection committee reviewed the application materials to select one or more semi-finalists, who were invited to visit the site and propose a site-responsive design.  Artists submitting design proposals were paid a nominal design fee and reimbursed for travel expenses.  After reviewing the design proposals, the selection committee recommended a singular artist for the commission to the Arts Board for final approval.  A contract was created between the artist, the agency, and the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the artist produced the work.​

Mentorship Program for Wisconsin Artists

For Projects with art allocations of $21-$50,000.  The Mentorship Program  provided training and mentors to WI emerging artists to learn how to successfully compete for commission projects. The application process for the Mentorship program was a two phase process: Phase 1: Artists applied using an online application process. These applications were reviewed by Mentors and others experienced with the Mentorship program. Phase II: Artists recommended for further consideration participated in a live interview.  Once selected into the program, the artists competed for projects within the budget sizes listed above. Each project's selection committee selected 3 semi-finalists from the roster of pre-selected artists. These artist mentees were then assigned mentors from a pool of Midwestern artists who have experience with public art/Percent for Art processes. The mentees worked with their mentors as they developed their initial design concept and, if selected for the commission, continued working with the mentor during the fabrication and installation phases of the project. The Mentorship Program accepted new applications in late fall in even numbered years. 

Architecturally Integrated

For Projects with art allocations of $100,000 and up.  Architecturally Integrated projects provided opportunities to collaborate with architects and were open to selected artists in Wisconsin and surrounding states.  The Percent for Art Program maintained a pre-screened roster of regional artists experienced in integrating artwork with architectural or landscape spaces. A roster was maintained to shorten the selection timeline and allow the artist to be selected early in the construction schedule in order to coordinate with the architect on designing an artwork to be integrated into the structure of the building or the landscape, or design an element or elements of the building. Only Percent for Art projects with significantly large budgets ($100,000 and up) and lengthy construction schedules were appropriate for this process. The selected artist was contracted to work in collaboration with the architect through design development, fabrication, and installation stages of the project. National, regional or WI Artists may also have been solicited using an invitational or open call solicitation at the request of the agency.

Direct Purchase 

For Projects with art allocations of less than $20,000. The Direct Purchase Program was a fine art program that allowed State agencies to acquire pre-existing artwork rather than commissioning new work.  The artworks purchased through this program were typically paintings, original prints, small sculptures, photographs, fine crafts, etc.  Artists responded to an online application process and were selected by a committee based on the strength of their body of work and appropriateness for State agencies. Artwork by these artists was then posted in the online gallery. Participating agencies completed a survey about their artwork preferences. Upon completion of this survey, agencies were given access to the online gallery and using a “shopping cart” feature, selected the artworks they wished to purchase. For each artwork selection, a contract for purchase was drawn up between the artist, the purchasing agency, and the Wisconsin Arts Board.  The artist then delivered the artwork to the site, and the agency installed it. The Direct Purchase Program accepted new applications in late fall in odd numbered years. ​