Five steps chopped in the rock. The last three covered by water.

The Regions and the One Percent Rule

Almost all of Sweden’s regions commission artists to develop public artworks. Fifty-five percent of the regions apply the One Percent Rule. This makes regions important commissioners of public art in Sweden.

Guidelines for Art

According to the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s report “1% för konstnärlig gestaltning av offentlig miljö” (2020) [1% for Artistic Design of the Public Realm], regions consciously work with guidelines for art or art policies. Nineteen of Sweden’s 21 regions have such guidelines or policies in place. They are often adopted by politicians on regional boards or on regional councils. Decisions on art are prepared by public property management administrations, cultural administrations or administrations for regional development.

Calculating the One Percent Rule

Of the 55 percent of the regions that apply the One Percent Rule, some allocate more than one percent to art in conjunction with construction projects. Region Uppsala, for example, also applies the One Percent Rule for premises they rent.

In the regions, the one percent amount is most frequently based on the building project’s total investment budget. Fewer regions base it on the region’s total investment budget. Only a few base it on the building project’s cost of execution.

Different Ways of Calculating

A majority of the regions allocate funds for art in accordance with the One Percent Rule, but there are other ways of calculating the funding of public art.

  • Region Skåne employs a “dialogue and needs model” in which the need of art and the amount of the budget is arrived at in consultation with the building project manager, the art project manager and the commissioner.
  • Region Sörmland allocates a fixed amount for artistic activities and maintenance, complemented with a variable amount based on the One Percent Rule.
  • Region Värmland allocates a fixed amount per square metre.

As seen above, the amount of the funds allocated for public art – and how they are calculated – vary.

This is the One Percent Rule

The One Percent Rule is an economic principle for public art which earmarks at least one percent of the total building cost in connection with construction projects (new buildings, redevelopment and extensions) for public art commissions. The One Percent Rule is not based on a single given working model, and such a model has never existed. For this reason, there is great variation in how the rule is adopted and calculated at state, regional and municipal level.

Strategic Allocation of Funds

Two Swedish regions structure the sites for public art by dividing them into zones. But they do so in different ways.

  • In Region Skåne, the budget for art is arrived at in consultation with the concerned parties. The budget is established based on what is judged to be relevant – what public art can add – in a particular building project. The sites for art are chosen strategically based on a zoning system that consists of three elements: public spaces (for example, outdoor environments and façades), semi-public spaces (corridors and waiting areas) and near-patient/staff environments (care and staff rooms).
  • In Region Dalarna, sites for public art are identified strategically by prioritising certain zones: public areas, entrance areas, pediatric wards, palliative care wards, waiting areas and public paths.