Percent for Art

Reshaping Schools: Improved Design and Percent for Art

The 1980s brought both an economic upswing and changes that affected the way New York City designs and builds schools. At this moment in New York City’s history, there was a dynamic confluence of new ideas about pedagogy, political will, creative school design, and a renewed enthusiasm for public art.

Mayor Edward I. Koch gave the underfunded public school system some much-deserved attention and resources, ultimately resulting in a new city agency—the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA)—and with support of the Koch administration, the city’s cultural leaders established the Percent for Art program.  Simultaneously, new dimensions were added to architectural requirements as educators continued to advocate the benefits of small learning environments.