50 States of Public Art: The Municipality of Anchorage’s 1% for Art Program in Anchorage, Alaska

Public art is everywhere, and this is the season for getting out and viewing it. Which is why I’ve started using Wednesdays on Caterpickles to highlight public art projects happening now in various parts of the country. 

Obviously, The Eleven-Year-Old and I can’t visit all these places in person ourselves, so we’d love to know if you have. Send us your photos or leave us a comment telling us what you saw and what you thought about it. Or if you’d like us to hunt down some public art near you, just leave a note in the comments and we’ll happily see what we can find. 

With that, let’s take a quick trip to Alaska. 

The Municipality of Anchorage’s 1% for Art Program in Anchorage, Alaska

Photo: Chris Arend Photography


Artist: Rachelle Dowdy, 2006

Location: Anchorage Museum entrance, off to the right

Photo Source: Chris Arend Photography, via the Anchorage Museum website

Associated Public Art Project:

Rachelle Dowdy’s collection of four concrete animal sculptures was funded through the Municipality of Anchorage’s 1% for Art program. Established in 1978, the 1% for Art program sets aside 1% of the construction budget for public buildings for commissioned works of art.

The program, which is based on a state law passed in 1975, has brought many wonderful pieces of public art to the Anchorage area. Today, there are more than 400 pieces of public art scattered around the city. One of them, “Snow Words” by Cecil Balmond, was named one of 2013’s 50 best public art projects created in the United States.

You can find more public art near Anchorage’s schools, in its parks, and in front of its municipal buildings. The Municipality of Anchorage maintains a Facebook page for its 1% for Art Program to alert the community about free public art tours, new installations, and calls for new art.

Want to see it for yourself?

You can find Rachelle Dowdy’s animal sculptures installed outside The Anchorage Museum at 625 C Street in Anchorage, Alaska 99501. Visitor hours and directions are available on the museum’s website.

Cecil Balmond’s “Snow Words” is installed in the lobby of the Alaska State Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory at 4805 Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska 99507.

The next time you’re in Anchorage, take a few minutes and look around. I bet you’ll spot something surprising. When you do, we’d love to hear about it here on Caterpickles or Twitter (@shalahowell).

Happy public art hunting!

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