Art in Architecture Program

Large red metal sculpture in a plaza in front of black buildings with mirrored windows
Alexander Calder’s painted steel Flamingo (1974) at the Chicago Federal Center was the first artwork commissioned under the Art in Architecture Program. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith.

The Art in Architecture Program oversees the commissioning of artworks for federal buildings nationwide. These artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.

Selection

We reserve 0.5% of the estimated construction cost of each new federal building or modernization for an Art in Architecture commission — a contractual agreement with an artist to create a site-specific artwork as part of the building project. For each new project, a panel of art professionals, the primary federal client representative, civic and community representatives, the project’s lead design architect, and our staff meet to discuss opportunities for artists to participate in the building project.

The panel reviews a diverse pool of artist candidates, drawn from the National Artist Registry and SAM.gov solicitation responses, and nominates finalists for us to evaluate. Artists who receive federal commissions work with the project architects and others as members of a design team to ensure that the artworks are meaningfully integrated into the overall project. We initiate about five commissions each year.

Commission timeframe

We commission large-scale, permanently installed artworks for federal building projects nationwide. These Art in Architecture commissions typically require a commitment of approximately three to five years, starting with our award of the project artist's contract and ending when the completed artwork is installed.

Art in Architecture contract schedules are based on the design and construction schedule of the associated building project. This allows the commissioned artwork to be developed in conjunction with the architectural design of the building and installed at the appropriate moment in the overall project schedule.

Art in Architecture Policies and Procedures Aug 2022 [PDF - 215 KB]

Who is eligible

Who is eligible for an Art in Architecture commission: American artists who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States.

To be considered for:

  • All new commissions for the next ten years, join the National Artist Registry.
  • One commission at a time, respond to the solicitation announced in SAM.gov.

Before you join the National Artist Registry

Gather the items listed below.

  • Images of the artist’s work created within the last ten years. The images must comply with the following criteria:
    • All images must be in JPEG format, 10 x 7.5 inches at 72 dots per inch (dpi).
    • Filenames must consist of a combination of a two-digit number followed by the artist’s first name and last name, for example: 01AlexanderCalder, 02AlexanderCalder, etc.
    • A maximum number of 20 images will be accepted.
  • An image list that provides the artist’s name, title of the work, date, medium/materials, and dimensions.
  • A current résumé for the artist including:
    • Any previous public commissions.
    • Exhibition history.
    • Museum collections that include the artist’s work.
    • A list of awards, honors, and grants.

Join the National Artist Registry

Follow the steps below to join the National Artist Registry to be considered for all our art commissions for the next ten years. You must resubmit to the National Artist Registry at least every ten years to continue to be considered for commissions.

Submit the online form and email attachments

  1. Complete and submit the Art in Architecture National Artist Registry online form.
  2. Submit the images of the artist’s work, an image list, and a résumé as specified above by email to NationalArtistRegistry@gsa.gov.

Or submit the PDF form and email attachments

  1. Complete the Art in Architecture National Artist Registry Form GSA 7437 and save it.
  2. Submit the completed form, images of the artist’s work, an image list, and a résumé as specified above by email to NationalArtistRegistry@gsa.gov.

If attachments are too large for email

  1. Upload your files to Google Drive.
  2. Share the files from Google Drive with us at NationalArtistRegistry@gsa.gov.

Contact us for help

  • GSA AiA Celebrates 50 Years!

    AiA celebrates 50 years

    This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of GSA's Art in Architecture (AiA) program. Join us as we spotlight our art and artists, special events, program history and more! And, don't forget to follow #AiA50 on social media.

Last Reviewed: 2022-10-05