The obligation to use artworks to decorate public buildings, commonly named “1% for Arts” Commission, established in 1951, is a special body created for visual artists. It is based on the principle that 1% of the total amount spent on the construction, renovation or extension of a public building must be reserved for a contemporary artwork specially conceived for the building in question. This obligation now applies to both territorial and State governments. This system allowed the creation of more than 12 300 artworks over 60 years (1951-2011).
The executive and operational framework of the “1% for Arts” system is defined by decree n°2002-677 of 29 April 2002 (modified), which applies to Article 71 of the Public Contracts Code (Code des marchés publics). The circular of the Minister of Culture and Communication of 16 August 2006 specifies the procedure involved.
There is also a Charter of Public Service Mission for Contemporary Art Institutions (Charte des missions de service public pour les institutions d’art contemporain, circular of 27 November 2000). The Charter specifies the respective responsibilities of the State, the territorial authorities and the institutions to favour creation and cultural decentralisation.