A Public Legacy for Iowans
ART IN STATE BUILDINGS
UIHC Employees & Volunteers
Numerous artworks may be found in state office
buildings surrounding the State Capitol as well
as in transportation, recreational, and research
facilities across Iowa that serve the public.
Building a Legacy
Iowa was among the first states in the nation to adopt a percent for art law. In 1974,
after persuading their colleagues of the importance of the fine arts to Iowa, Repub-
lican Senator John Murray of Ames and Republican Representative Philip Hill of Des
Moines amended bills for two new state office buildings to include the purchase of
art. Five years later, in 1979, the Iowa Legislature enacted and Governor Robert D.
Ray signed into law the Art in State Buildings program, ensuring that fine art would
be integrated into all future state building projects. Today, 25 states and the District
of Columbia have a similar law, and more than 300 public art programs exist at the
local level across the U.S.
• Funding for Art in State Buildings is generated from ½ of 1% (0.5%) of the
state’s portion of total construction costs for new and renovated state buildings,
an efficient and cost-effective method of enhancing our built environment.
• The program provides artists, students, educators and the citizens of Iowa with
opportunities to participate in and experience public art by serving on selection
THE ART IN STATE BUILDINGS PROGRAM
Art in Public Places
Public art promotes an environment of healing and comfort
for patients, visitors and staff at the University of Iowa
Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) and Iowa Veterans Home (IVH)
At UIHC, works of art purchased with a combination of private
and public funds are placed throughout public corridors,
reception areas and family lounges. Approximately 70% of
artworks in the UIHC collection are by Iowa artists. At IVH,
staff and residents collaborated with Iowa artists to create
new artworks for the expanded facilities.
Art of Healing
Hand and Land: Fingerprint by Iowa artist David
Dahlquist, 2005. Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Iowa Art in State Buildings program.
The Visual Literacy and Learning Program at University Museums, Iowa
State University, helps incorporate art into classes across colleges and
majors. Through special curated tours and exhibits, faculty use public art
to broaden their students’ understanding in a particular field of study,
from mechanical engineering and agronomy to fashion studies. Annually,
between thirty and forty college departments utilize the collection.
A similar trend is reflected at the University of Iowa, where course-based
research projects on the campus public art collection have occurred for
the past twenty years.
The University of Northern Iowa’s Art in Architecture collection includes a
broad representation of works by Iowa artists, supported in part by the
Art in State Buildings program.
Art in State Buildings is, foremost, an educational asset
The program aids Iowa’s public universities in fulfilling
their educational mission and service to students, faculty and citizens, as
Eighty percent of what
sighted people learn
is through visual inter-
— Lynette Pohlman, Director and Chief Curator,
University Museums, Iowa State University
Established nearly a century ago, Iowa State University’s Art on Campus
collection - the largest program of its kind in the U.S. - has flourished since the
adoption of Art in State Buildings. Today the Ames campus features hundreds
of highly visible public works of art, inspiring generations of students and
visitors to Iowa’s largest public university.
At the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, public works of art grace locales
throughout campus, including in prominent places such as the Iowa Memorial
Union, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and the Campus Recreation and Wellness
Center. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics also boasts an impressive
collection of art in public places.
The University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, has acquired many compelling
public works of art and seeks the active engagement of the campus community
in selecting art for display. The college’s art department is also home to the
Public Art Incubator program.
A student assists with installing Iowa artist Isabel Barbuzza’s work at the
University of Iowa’s Main Library.
Art at Iowa’s Public Universities
Iowa students are impacted annually through class
visits, school tours and art-integrated curriculum
University students and faculty have participated
in the selection of public art on campus
Students learn about Christian Petersen’s 4-H Calf at Iowa State University.
University Museums, Iowa State University.
The cultural impact of Art in State Buildings on Iowa
artists, audiences and the quality of art in our state has
Since its inception, the program has supported
the acquisition of many significant works of art, highlighting diverse
cultural and historical traditions, and included a broad representa-
tion of citizens in the selection of art.
Art in State Buildings continues to help advance the careers of Iowa
artists, including those emerging and already established in their
Artists Brad Kaspari and Carolyn Braaksma were
commissioned by the Iowa Department of Natural
Resources, through the Art in State Buildings pro-
gram, to create a series of public works of art for
Honey Creek Resort State Park, Iowa’s first public
resort. The artists found inspiration in the plant
and animal species native to the area and in the
lodge’s Midwestern “Prairie School” style.
Rubbing the helmet of this bronze sculpture, depicting Iowa Hawkeye football legend Nile
Kinnick, is a game day tradition for good luck for Hawkeye football players and coaches,
including Head Coach Kirk Ferentz (pictured).
The late artist Larry Nowlan was commissioned through Art in State Buildings to create this
statue, which is now enjoyed by more than 70,000 Hawkeye fans at every home game.
Through his other artworks on campus, Nolan has helped immortalize Iowa wrestling
legend Dan Gable and the Hawkeyes 1939 football squad, known as the “Ironmen”.
Jeff Becker, Photographer
Maslow’s Theory, Jack Wilkes. Human Performance Center.
University of Northern Iowa Art in Architecture Collection.
The University of Northern Iowa’s Lang Hall includes more than 50 original art-
works by Iowa artists. The works belong to the University of Northern Iowa Art
in Architecture collection, supported in part by the Iowa Art in State Buildings
Pride of the Hawkeyes
Chemical elements and molecular models inspired
Norie Sato’s public art installation made of glass,
aluminum and LED lights for the Hach Chemistry
Building at Iowa State University. Installed in 2012,
e+l+e+m+e+n+t+a+l, was supported in part by the
Iowa Art in State Buildings program, with major
funding provided by Iowa State University alumnus
Dr. Richard Forsythe (B.S. Chemistry 1943 and Ph.D.
The University of Northern Iowa’s Public Art Incubator is training the next generation of
public artists. Through mentorships with faculty and staff and partnerships with profes-
sional artists, students gain meaningful experience and learn the artistic and organizational
skills necessary to carry out large-scale public art commissions on their own.
Public support of the arts plays an important
role in a democratic society and serves as a
catalyst for business and private giving.
Art in State Buildings projects create and sustain jobs
for artists and arts workers, supporting vital small
businesses and our state’s growing creative economy.
Public art commissions have an important effect on other
industries, as well. Artists hired as contractors, in turn,
hire local companies and subcontractors to design, engi-
neer, build and install large works of art, which are then
maintained, studied and interpreted by other workers
Public funds directed to the purchase of fine art have
been greatly enhanced by private gifts, donations and
PRIVATE GIVING AND ECONOMIC IMPACT
University of Northern Iowa students assisted in fabricating a public artwork which was
part of an Art in State Buildings project. UNI Special Collections & University Archives
Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University
Artists as Entrepreneurs: UNI’s Public Art Incubator
Art Meets Science
Iowa’s three public univer-
sities have raised nearly $1
million in private gifts to
support Art in State Build-
Iowa’s Art in State Buildings program brings art into public
places where Iowans learn, work, visit and live.
For more information on Art in State Buildings, visit
For more information and learning resources on Art in State Buildings projects, visit
Art in State Buildings is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs,
in cooperation with the Iowa Board of Regents and the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.
Front: Procession, Michaela Mahady. LeBaron Hall, Iowa State University. Supported by the Iowa Art in State Buildings Program.
Photo: Jim Heemstra, Iowa State University Alumni Association.
Public facilities en-
hanced by public art
People experience art at Iowa’s
public universities annually
Public artworks commissioned
or directly acquired