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  #1  
Old 03-02-2003, 08:27 AM
dhariv dhariv is offline
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budgeting in public art projects

Ia am an installation artist working an living in Puerto Rico for the past twenty years. My career in the last few years , has taken the turn towards designing public sculptural playgrounds . I have one built projecct and two approved ones that should be completed in the course of the present year and begginngs of 2004. The last project incorporates features of landscape desing such as modeling the surfaces and organizing vegetation.
I research a lot other art projects - as I am also working on a predoctoral degree on public art at the University of Barcelona (UB). Generally, I do not find the onformation that specifies how the projects have been budgeted ; what is the total cost, the fees of the artist and collaborators, etc.
I think that this information woulb be of great help if an artist wishes to propose a project in another country. It would also be of great interest to my research for I woulb be able to compare how public or private iniciatives handle the financial part of this form of art practice.
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Old 03-02-2003, 03:52 PM
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Public Sculpture - Public Art concerns

The whole Public Sculpture - Public Art area is one that we need to focus a section on here on the forum. Just about every project I've been involved with has been substantially different than the last.

Even in the same community they may have 4-5 different committees or ways of funding, judging, contracting, and publicizing the work. The artist is often the only one with any real experience, and the committees can be made up of good intentioned, but horribly uninformed members.

There are no real standards for contracts, and it can range from a cashiers check and thanks, to never being paid, to twenty page long contracts that attempt to control everything from artistic content to creative rights of the finished piece.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to make things better? Or horror stories? Or successes we can model off of and build from?
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Old 03-03-2003, 08:15 AM
dhariv dhariv is offline
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Thanks for answering,
Yes I know there are millions of ways this budget part is handle and that the cost of the projects vary substantially with the country. That is precisely why it would be interesting to know what are the numbers for the projects in different cities and countries and that this information coul be included in the description of these works. I am aware that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to draw standards that transverse economic contexts of different countries, even cities. But we can learn from ways of distributing the money and the agents involved, to help reshape what we have. Also we can have an idea of how much money other cities or countries are spending in public art and compare similar projects in different contexts to total costs.
I found one book of creative landscape projects - Waterscapes -that posted along the information the total cost of the projects. There is another book - in fact a catalog- that post the cost of the projects by square feet. This is the catalog of the Landscape Biennial that is organized by the Arch. School of the Politechnic University of Barcelona .
In the program that has been devised by the government agency that is handling a big iniciative in public art in PR (25 million dollars) artists are entitled to a top of 25% (based on the total cost of construction), with consultants ( if required by the project) such as architects drawing a 10 to 12%. Projects vary a lot, from single sculptures, to murals, sculptural plazas, urban equipment, etc.

This program was first launched at the capital municipal three years ago . It was experimental, with both artist and city agents learning on the run. At that time artists' honoraries varied from 10% to 45% and consultants were not allowed as idependent agents in the budget, so there fees had to be drawn from the artists' fee. Some artists lost money. Some came out fine.
Simple questions to begin with would be:

What percent are artist drawing on public art projects in their cities? Does 25% seems suited? Too low? To much? Does it vary with the complexity of the project? How many consultants are allowed? What kind?
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Old 03-13-2003, 02:06 PM
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Yes, it is a shame that there is not more reference material out there. Sculpture magazine used to be a nice resource for this, because they would often list project budgets in the commission section. It was a good way to get a feel for can be expected for a certain amount of money.

Unfortunately, the ISC did away with putting budgets with the commission descriptions years ago, and I feel that was a huge mistake.
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Old 03-16-2003, 10:35 PM
ctaylor ctaylor is offline
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public art budgets

public art budgets are based on the cost of the building or the project and the amount of money the city wants to spend. the project costs depend on the amount of work the artist is willing to put into the piece before they call it finished. landscaping is difficult to price because it depends on the amount and density you plant the plants. it is a good idea to not let your expenses for materials and such to exceed33% of the budget. your fee should not exceed this and labor will probably eat up the rest.Art is not only a challenge to create but a challenge to budget.it gets better with experience. cordell
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Old 03-17-2003, 08:17 AM
dhariv dhariv is offline
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budegting in public art

Thanks for the responses,
Now, Cordell sugests that artists'fees should be around the 33% of the production cost. Getting into the details of the three main 'divisions" ( materials, fees and labor), I would like to ask what do you include in the artist' fee. If the artist is designer, administrator and coordinator of the project, do you include expenses such as transportation, communication (calls, use of cell phones, gas etc) in the fee or should this be part of the materials/production chunk. Architect's studios already have these costs included automatically in their fees as they already have the infrastructure set up. There is a considerable amount of money that goes in this if you are an independent artist without a studio setup for this kind of projects. Contracts here say fees are for design, research and conceptualization/presentation. It is true they do no exceed 25% but organizers are stating that it is not under government regulations to designate a part of the budget to cover these production expenses. I take for granted that different government administrations have different regulations, but these kind of expenses are typical of all project and I would like to know how artists cover them and under what contracts subdivisions.
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Old 03-17-2003, 03:36 PM
ctaylor ctaylor is offline
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Use the expenses from travel, phone and other related expenses as miscellaneous expenses and budget it into the project costs. you will also want to include some monies for Documentation of the project like film video photographer travel for the shoot and such but i think your limited to only a certain percentage of these expenses when it reaches tax time, April 15th.
Architects generaly take a smaller percentage of the pie 7.5 or 10% of the total project budget. their expenses are covered by the firm.cordell
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Old 03-18-2003, 05:08 AM
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Dhariv,

You have a valid point that different artists have different studio setups and thus have different places where their own out of pocket expenses are higher.
Quote:

There is a considerable amount of money that goes in this if you are an independent artist without a studio setup for this kind of projects. Contracts here say fees are for design, research and conceptualization/presentation.
My recommendation would be to designate a part of the production budget to yourself, for the project construction expenses. Even if someone else is building it they can't do it without you. This is just to cover the true production costs from your side, and should not be overestimated. As a line item it might be titled "In-studio production expenses".

Shops that fabricate the Sculpture usually put their own administrative overhead in the hourly rate that they bill for shop time.
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2003, 08:37 AM
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Smile Budgeting for public art project

Hi Sculpture Community:
The importance of budgeting for a public art project is a critical issue and concern for sculptors. The International Sculpture Center will provide opportunities to address these and related issues at its July 24-27, 2003 conference, Figuratively Speaking, to be held at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. There will be panels specifically devoted to issues related to public art and shipping/transportation/insurance and experts will be on hand to answer specific questions.
We hope all will be able to join us. To learn more about the conference and registration, please click back to the ISC News and scroll down to the announcement about the conference.
Carol Sterling
Director of Education/ISC Resource Center
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  #10  
Old 05-16-2003, 06:15 PM
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public art

I just completed a three and a half year public art project (American Dream) that opened to the public in May at the Philadelphia International Airport. You may view some images of this work at robfisheramericandream.com I am happy to share some of the issues on this very large project with you all since it may serve as a cautionary tale with which to approach public art projects. In the future the ISC is planning to focus a conference on this topic as we feel that there is great concern among our membership and an absence of real information.

I heard for many years the horror stories about other artists who won public art commissions and lost large amounts of money in the process. I have produced many large scale artworks but have never encountered the difficulties that I ran into in this project due to extreme site conditions, labor situations and contracts, and an impossibility to estimate how difficult the installation would become. Having said this, the project came out quite well and I was able to work through the situations that arose. But the net result was a cost overrun which I am in the process of trying to resolve. I am afraid to say that this seems to be the norm with other artists I have contacted. There are several key things to be aware of.

First, installation of public artworks occurs in city or government owned spaces and are governed by labor costs that are considerably higher than ordinary (i.e corporate or private) sites. You should check on prevailing wages in the city that you will be proposing the piece.

Next, there is a serious problem in having to estimate installation costs at the time of your proposal since you do not have sufficient information about the site. You must not accept sketchy information about the site or if that is all that is available, must qualify your estimate accordingly. The problem is that you will have to live within your estimate should you win the commission.

The city limits the "profit" an artist may take on projects, in this case 10%. That seemed and in fact proved to be absurdly low although I would frankly have been happy to say I made even that amount after three years.

Delays are common and expected. They can have a snowballing effect on costs and are unpredictable.

Assume that it will cost four to eight times what you think it will cost just to install the artwork and budget accordingly. Site conditions can be confounding like buried conduit, electrical issues, lighting, trade union agreements and territoriality, delivery and moving materials around a site, short working days compared to what we as artists are used to, high costs of equipment rental, access of large equipment into the site, and safety conditions which preclude your working above other crews. A substantial contingency allowance should be built into your estimate, meaning 20% - 35% if possible.

You will need to use APPROVED union labor to install your work, not just any union. Be aware and ask if there are approved unions working on whatever project you are involved with.

In the end I will say that this was the most demanding and most gratifying project of my career and I learned an enormous amount in the process. I am not sure that I could have avoided the issues that evolved, so hindsight may not be of great value except as a warning to others to beware of overly ambitious goals and their implict costs.

[fixed link - Araich]

Last edited by Araich : 05-16-2003 at 11:04 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-16-2003, 09:39 PM
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Great thread....I got quite a bit of valuable information just from reading along.


All of your combined experience makes quite an instructive tool!
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Old 05-16-2003, 11:10 PM
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Re: public art

Quote:
Originally posted by rob fisher
...beware of overly ambitious goals and their implict costs.
I've taken serious note of this. Having recently backed away from some possible public projects. Even without the considerations you have illustrated, I could see that I could easily be getting in over my head with issues such as installation/safety etc.

Can I say that I think the work looks fantastic.

Robert.
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Old 05-17-2003, 03:03 AM
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RuBert RuBert is offline
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Great post Rob, and glad to have you join the forum.

There are a few other posts going with some visuals of recent work you have been involved in.

http://sculpture.net/community/showt...ghlight=fisher

http://sculpture.net/community/showt...ghlight=fisher

http://sculpture.net/community/showt...ghlight=fisher

Three and a half years - how time flies when you're having fun

I remember you asking me questions when you were first applying for this piece, and I'm afraid that I didn't do a very good job of giving you a heads-up. I remember talking about the committee process and was glad you were able to kind of come in from the side and make it all work.

I now have the dubious distinction of chairing the Springfield Branson Regional Airport Art Council and am dealing with a whole set of art and public space related issues as we try to infuse art and sculpture in our airport.
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Old 05-17-2003, 10:43 AM
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Russ: There is another observation that I might make that applies to your new position on the selection or adimistration of public art. One of the most valued roles that Public Art offices can play is that of advocates for the artist. Rather than simply (and it is far from simple) manage the funding and organize the competitions, the Public Art officers should represent the needs of the artist by understanding, for example, why virtually every public art project goes over budget and why there is a litany of complaints by artists who must, after devoting huge amounts of effort in creating the best work possible, then face the daunting task of recovering financially from the experience. It would be useful to have realworld contractors, labor union representatives, construction industry lawyers, contract attorneys, electrical and mechanical engineers come together at a general meeting and educate Public Art offices about the realities of installing art in public spaces. Public Art offices should do whatever they can to protect artists from themselves by alerting them to the potential costs and problems they are likely to encounter and guiding them more closely in the preparation of their budgets. Specifically, finalists should not only receive complete architectural and engineering design packages to work from, but should be advised of particular labor agreements in place. It would be useful for finalists to be able to met with not only the architects, but more to the point general contractors on the job with whom they will be working should they win the commission.

Public Art officers have their hands full with small staffs and large responsibilities. But the continuuing absence of realworld understanding of the problems facing every artist doing public art does a disservice to the artists and comes back to haunt the Public Art offices with cost overrun problems.

A further issue, which has been solved by a limited few cities, is the question of maintenance of public artworks. A Florida program has built into their funding structure a percentage of every project that goes into a fund for public art maintenance. This is a mature and practical solution and should be implemented everywhere. Somehow people seem to think that art does not need to be maintained. Clearly that is not the case and there are countless examples of major pieces deteriorating due to lack of care.
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Old 05-18-2003, 03:35 AM
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Rob,

Our particular situation is somewhat different than at Philadelphia. For one thing we are a Regional hub, not an International airport. This changes some of the regulations we have to go through.

I am a sculptor primarily, but I am interested in helping the local art situation as much as I can. I was influenced by a number of Sculptors, notably Richard Hunt, who has worked for many years in Chicago and helped initiate the early public art scene there.

So my tendencies are somewhat different than other people who might chair a local public art effort. I keep telling them we need to roll out the red carpet for the artists we work with. We need to make interfacing with the procedure of the airport as painless as possible. Because left to their own ends our airport can easily generate endless liability forms and red tape that choke all creativity.

However, if encouraged, the staff can go all out to facilitate art and sculpture to happen at the airport, making the problems go away. Frankly that is the attitude that is needed, to achieve real results.
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Old 05-18-2003, 08:33 AM
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Russ: The fact that you are a practicing sculptor should make an enormous difference in the way your program handles artists. That is a rare situation I suspect. Nonetheless, most of the issues will still apply to your situation such as presentng realistic site plans and knowledge of site conditions to artists so that they can prepare realworld budgets.

I am beginning to think that the suggestion of an ISC conference dealing with the subject of Public Art will present opportunities to reveal and explore all of the many issues surrounding the subject.

I would encourage readers of this discussion to offer topics and suggestions for such a conference since the ISC is currently beginning plans for the next major conference and regional conferences.
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Old 06-01-2003, 09:41 AM
dhariv dhariv is offline
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Hi, after some time without being able to check the thread, I join again and am very glad to find a lot of information in the comments.
Also, is fantastic that the conference is devotin some time to deal with the practical side of the public art projects projects .
There is another issue that I would like to propose-ask about-share info........
Besides the issue of maintennance (which is still a headache in many places that had not being able to set aside the proper budget and financial structure) there is the issue of liabilities after installation. I a refferin more specifically to art projects that are intended to be functional or manipulated somehow by the public.
I have being desingning sculptural playspaces , with one built three years ago, one in the process to be installed this summer in a public school (it is a prototipe designed to be repeated in other schools) and another one approved but in the process of rebudgeting.
I tried to cover myself by following the recommendations for playground's construction published by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and by having a structural ingeneer supervise and certify the design and fabrication. This last point is very touchy as no engineer really wants to get too involved and sometimes they balk out when they realize the risks involved and the responsability that implies certifying.
Well, I guess I have already contracted those risks by building these projects without being able to really clear out the extent and the span of time for which the artist would be liable if anything happens. I haven't found a lawyer that could explain to me these issues because here in PR there are virtually no precedents for playgrounds designed by artists.
I love to work with playground spaces, as they can merge my sculptural interests with landscaping ,play concepts and social encounter concerns but I certainly do not wish to have my life 'mortgaged' with legal responsabilties.
any help?

dhara
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Old 06-01-2003, 03:21 PM
anne (bxl) anne (bxl) is offline
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As a "young" sculptor, I don't have experience in public project, but I have a 15 years experience in managing architectural project (some quite big - 3000000 euros- 3500000 $).
Here is the way I procedeed, in case some ideas are applicable.
In the beginning of my carreer, I itemized (with collegues) a huge standard list of what to think about.

For every project, I pointed out the necessary items, and prized them with the help of a professionnal general contractor (he, knows his job better than we are). every item had to include material, work costs and his benefit.
To be safe, I added a percentage of 10 to 20% "miscelleneous" for unforseen or unexpected items, percentage depending how complex was the project.
very simple, isn't it?

about the fees -from 8 to 15% - (but 15% in case of sculpture isn't it a minimum?) they included conceptualization, any offices costs and project management.
If you work yourself on the realisation of the sculpture, add the equivalent of a salary into the budget, before fees calculation. as well as engineer fees if necessary.

and at least, the contracts (the one with the contractor and the one with the administration)!! payement, delay, payement delay, compensation for non-payement...... aren't our job! so sign with the help of a specialized jurist : expensive but so usefull !!
and negociate with the contractor that he will be paid when you will be, or that he could be paid directly by the administration.
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