This page contains explanations of concepts and terms related to the Percent for Art principle and public art.

Public art

Art in a public or semi-public space, outdoors or indoors. A work of public art can be funded by the state, a municipality or a private party.

A work of public art may be separate from buildings (e.g. a sculpture on a pedestal) or integrated into a building (e.g. a mural or a work of light art mounted on structures).

A work of public art can be a painting, sculpture, print, photographic work, video work, light or sound work, performance event, or a combination of these.

Public and semi-public space

Public space refers to an urban space that is open and accessible to everyone, such as streets, squares, parks, beaches and sports fields.

A semi-public space is one with limited access to the public. Shopping centres, hospitals and courtyards of residential buildings, or parts of them, for example, may be open to the public with certain restrictions.

The Percent for Art principle

A decision, in principle, to spend a certain proportion of a construction project’s budget on art.

The Percent for Art principle means that about 1% of a construction project budget is spent on art. There are now several funding models available for implementing the principle.

The principle is most often implemented as a municipal planning or funding decision and can be set as a condition for receiving a plot to build on. It is suitable for new constructions, renovations, infill development and building infrastructure.

Site-specific art

A work of art that has been created and executed for a specific location. A site-specific work of art takes into account the special characteristics of the space in question, such as its physical characteristics, intended use or the history of the location.

Art in the built environment

The term refers to all works of art in the built environment, i.e. works placed in buildings, city/town centres, green spaces and roads.

Environmental art

Traditionally, the term has referred to works made in nature, such as land art and installation art, and sometimes also works that make use of natural materials. The term now often also covers art in the built environment.

Arts programme

An arts programme refers to a plan drawn up for an area or site (e.g. a residential area) and defines how art will be incorporated into that area. Read more about the arts programme.

Fund model

A funding model for an art project in which a certain proportion of the construction costs is collected from the developers in an area (e.g. a residential area) into a common fund. In addition to permanent and temporary works of art, the fund can finance various cultural events. Read more about the fund model.

Obligation to commission art for new plot holders

The fund model for art projects in which a municipality decides to make the transfer of land conditional on the developer spending part of the construction costs on commissioning art. Under this model, the decision in principle, taken by the municipality to apply the Percent for Art principle, is transferred to the developer. In Finland, this model has been used in, for example, the residential areas of Arabianranta in Helsinki and Penttilänranta in Joensuu. Read more about the obligation to commission art for new plot holders.

Artist database, art database

Artist database (or art database) refers to an electronic platform where interested artists can submit their details or portfolio so that commissioners can contact them.

The artist database cannot be used to request sketches from artists for a site without paying a separate fee for the sketches. Please note that if two or more artists are asked to produce proposals for the same project at the same time it is an art competition.

The contact details of visual artists can be found in the Artist Register. The contact details of designers can be found on Check out also the Taide rakentamisessa database.

Art competition, visual art competition

An art competition refers to a situation in which two or more artists are asked to produce proposals for the same project at the same time.

Competitions in the visual art sector are organised in cooperation with the Artists’ Association of Finland. Art competitions comply with the Association’s competition rules, which is a prerequisite for the members of its member organisations (Artists’ Association MUU, the Association of Finnish Sculptors, the Association of Finnish Printmakers, the Finnish Painters’ Union and the Photographic Artists’ Association) to be able to participate in the competition or act as a member of a jury. Competitions organised by the Finnish State Art Commission comply with the Commission’s rules.

Advice on organising art competitions is provided by the Artists’ Association of Finland’s competition ombudsman. Find out more about competition services and competition rules.

Applied arts

Art that also serves practical purposes or operates as part of other sectors, such as social and health care services.

Temporary work

A work of art that is not intended to be permanent. A temporary work of art can be set up to make a construction site more aesthetically pleasing or to celebrate an anniversary or event, for example, or, due to its materials or concept, it may be intended to change or disappear over time.

Infrastructure construction

The term refers to the construction of infrastructure, such as roads, courtyard structures and public utility services. The Percent for Art principle can also be applied in infrastructure construction.