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The Economics of Public Art

Public art enriches our lives and community in many ways. It is one of a few expressions of art that is created for everyone -- uninhibited by attire, reservations or cost. It is also a proven economic driver. Public art increases publicity for the city, tourism and leasing interest--resulting in faster growing economies.

One of the best outcomes of public art is that it creates an attachment to the community, inspiring people to put down roots and live here. A Knight Foundation study found that "aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces,” was a top driver of attachment to a city.

In 2012, the City of Oklahoma City created the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to advise the city council on artistic, cultural and aesthetic matters to ensure the city will be attractive and culturally rich. The department also advises and coordinates ideas on the allocation of funds from the city’s ordinance that 1 percent of construction budgets for public projects be dedicated to public art. This ordinance has been in place for just a few years, but the benefits are already being realized.


The Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs is currently planning art for Scissortail Park, the new convention center, the new fairgrounds expo center and the terminal expansion at Will Rogers World Airport. These public art projects will continue to transform Oklahoma City, making it an attractive place to visit and live.

Photo credit: Creative Machines

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