Public Art

The City of Kansas City One Percent for Public Art Program

A general guide for artists and creatives interested in the City’s 1% Public Art projects.

The City of Kansas City, Missouri has a long history of supporting public art. The city's founding document, the City Charter of 1926, gives the Municipal Art Commission authority to approve works of art displayed on city property. In 1970 and 1992, non-binding Resolutions proposed the creation of a public art fund.

The One Percent for Art Program became law in 1986 when the City Council passed Ordinance 60321. This ordinance states "... the preparation of ordinances for the construction, reconstruction or remodeling of any municipal building...shall include an amount equal to one percent of the engineer's estimated cost of improvement... for the acquisition and installation of works and other aesthetic adornments."

By City Charter, the Art Commission’s responsibilities include the approval of works of art on, or extending over, any City property; the design of buildings, bridges, fences and other structures built by the City; and any privately owned signs, skywalks or other structures that extend over public property. City ordinances also provide that no existing work of art owned by the City can be moved or altered without Commission approval except under emergency conditions. The mission of the Municipal Art Commission is to serve as a catalyst for artistic growth and aesthetic excellence in our communities, and in doing so, enhance the vitality of Kansas City and enrich the lives of our residents.


James Martin
KCMO Public Art Administrator
General Services Department

Facilities & Architecture Division
City of Kansas City, MO
414 E 12th St., City Hall 17th Floor
Kansas City, MO 64106


(816) 513-3422

In order to compete for 1% Public Art projects with the City of Kansas City, you will need to complete the following steps:

Register for a Business License with the City of Kansas City
Complete a Vendor Application with the Procurement Department
Understand City Contract Requirements
Find and Respond to Bid Opportunities
Sign up for CaFÉ
Respond to a Call for Artist RFP/Q


Get a customized list of steps to start your business in KCMO.


Learn how to Start Your Business in Kansas City

If you are just starting your business, you will need to take a few steps before you can apply for a business license from the City of Kansas City, MO.

KC BizCare is here to help guide you as you prepare your business to get licensed and beyond as you navigate the additional steps needed to successfully bid on City public art projects.

Read our guide on how to Start Your Business in Kansas City.


Register for a Business License with the City of Kansas City

In order to DO BUSINESS with the City of Kansas City, your business will need to obtain a business license with the City of Kansas City.

Use the QuickTax system for online business license registration. If you have questions about the QuickTax system or more specific Business License questions, you should call (816) 513-1120 (Press 3).

You must renew your business license every year: Renew after January 1st but by the last day of February to avoid penalty. You will have to report your gross receipts for the previous year when you renew your license.


Complete a Vendor Application with the Procurement Department

Download and complete the Vendor Application Form. Return the completed application form to Procurement Services by email or in-person.

Identify Your Industry codes

What they are

Industry codes, such as NAICS and NIGP codes, are numbers that describe what your business does. For example, if you’re an independent artist, writer or performer, then your NAICS code is 711510 and your NIGP code is 961-04-00 (Artists, including digital artists).

Why you need them

It is important to correctly identify which industry codes apply to your business. Cities and other governments use industry codes for things like taxation and licensing. You will likely encounter many government forms that require an industry code as your run your business.

The Federal Government and the City of Kansas City uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to classify businesses. The City of Kansas City uses National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) codes to classify its vendors. You will have to select the NIGP codes for your business when you register your business with the City.

How to identify them

You can determine your NAICS and NIGP codes in just a few clicks with the City’s Industry Code Search. Select up to three codes that most accurately describe what your business does.


Understanding City Contract Requirements

Artists working in the public art projects must know how to develop architectural plans, work with fabricators, architects and engineers, manage contracts, and handle a variety of unusual installation issues related to construction projects. It’s important for artists to be clear about the terms of their agreement when deciding to accept public art commissions. In the case of a temporary installation, it’s likely that the artist will retain all rights in the work. But if the installation is permanent, then an artist will likely have to consider whether they’ll retain certain rights in the work, such as the right to oppose the destruction of the work, or copyright protection in the work.

Typical requirements for doing business with the City (procurement) contains many municipal, state and federal requirements and stipulations:


Businesses use IRS Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, to get information from vendors they hire as independent contractors. Businesses use the name, address, and Social Security number or tax identification number contractors provide on Form W-9 to complete that information return.

E-Verify-Notarized affidavit of compliance with federal e-Verify requirements

E-Verify is a voluntary program. However, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to enroll in E-Verify as a condition of federal contracting.

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information entered by an employer from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility.

Municipal Revenue Tax to the City of Kansas City, Missouri must be current

Tax Clearance Request Form
This requests a clearance letter, which is required by certain City departments as proof of your compliance with tax ordinances.

Authorization to Release a Revenue Clearance Letter
This authorizes the Revenue Division to send your clearance letter to a contractor or City department.

Missouri Worker’s Compensation

All Missouri employers with five or more employees are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance. Those with less than five employers are encouraged to purchase workmans' comp coverage, because they can be held liable for medical bills and lost wages for injured workers. However, construction contractors are required to have workers’ comp even if they only have one employee.

Minority, Women and Small Local Business Project Participation

On all City projects above a certain dollar amount, the Human Relations Department assigns goals for the participation of certified minority and women-owned businesses. City departments and contractors work together to meet these goals. Public Arts contracts over $160,000 must meet City of Kansas City MBE, WBE and SLBE guidelines.

Contracts over $75,000 must meet Missouri Prevailing Wage requirements and manage related documents

Missouri's Prevailing Wage Law establishes a minimum wage rate for public works projects in Missouri valued over $75,000. Examples of public works projects include bridges, roads and government buildings. The Prevailing Wage Law applies to all public works projects constructed by or on behalf of state and local public bodies.

The rates must be incorporated into contract specifications for all public works jobs. This is the minimum wage rate required for the project. Employees are free to bargain for a higher rate of pay. Employers are free to pay a higher rate of pay. The prevailing wage rate differs by county and for different types of work.


Find and Respond to Bid Opportunities

Go to the Online Contract Advertising System to see ad categories and search Bids and Requests for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/Ps)

Invitations for Bid (IFBs) and Request for Qualifications (RFQs) and Proposals (RFPs)-Arts

  • IFBs and RFQ/Ps are issued through the Online Contract Advertising System (select from the drop down box to find ART RFQ/P opportunities).

  • To subscribe to KCMO public art opportunities, please visit

  • To Follow the New Single Terminal and Parking at KCI Project, timeline & FAQs visit; For questions about public art at KCI, email


Sign up for CaFÉ

Use the website that KCMO has selected to manage artist applications. CaFÉ is a website tool for artists to store images from their portfolios, biographical information, artist statements, etc. The website does not charge fees for artists to store their information.

Many organizations that distribute Calls for Artists use CaFÉ, including numerous public art programs. Other organizations may use a different application management website, such as SlideRoom, CODAworx or


Respond to a Call for Artists RFQ or RFP

The Municipal Art Commission implements an open, competitive process for all one-percent-for-art projects. Below is a typical process for what you can expect when applying for KCMO public art projects.

The public art administrator, along with project staff/stakeholders, surveys the site/s, develops an RFQ or RFP, and issues a public Call for Artists.

A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) asks artists to submit a resume/CV, a letter of interest or artist bio, and images of their previous work (portfolio images).

NOTE: as an applicant, you must follow the call for artists directions, upload proper documents and meet the required deadline and eligibility to be considered.

An artist selection committee/panel, made up of arts professionals, citizens, staff, and appropriate stakeholders is assembled to study the project and review artist applications and qualifications.

Once three to five semi-finalists are selected, they are asked to develop concept proposals and make a formal presentation to the committee.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) phase asks artists detailed questions regarding their proposal, and requires artists to include a budget and renderings of their proposed artwork.

The artist selection committee/panel, made up of arts professionals, citizens, staff, and appropriate stakeholders is re-assembled to review artist’s proposals.

The committee is responsible to evaluate the work for its aesthetic quality, construction quality/durability, appropriateness to the site, and engineering/maintenance criteria.

Once an artist has been commissioned, they are given additional information and details regarding site specifics, budget, timeline, scope of the project, and often tour the site and meet with architects and other planners.

The artist may be asked to further develop their proposal, meeting criteria for the project and present his/her final concept.

Artists use a wide variety of means to communicate their ideas including blueprints, maquettes, drawings, computer-generated imagery and material samples, so knowing how to effectively communicate your idea using these techniques is an important skill.

Want to learn how KCMO selects public art for One Percent for Art projects?

Download PDF

After the selection panel chooses an artist for a public art project, the artist’s proposal must be approved by the Municipal Art Commission. Projects over $400,000 must also be approved by the City Council. Once the necessary approvals have been received, the artist enters into a contract with the City of Kansas City, MO.

To apply for most Calls for Artists, regardless of which application management website is used, artists will need:

  • Resume or CV

  • Biographical statement or Letter of Interest

  • Artist statement

  • Portfolio (digital images) with information about each image such as title, date, materials and budget amount and location for commissioned works

  • References



For more information about the KCMO One Percent for Art program visit

You may choose to consult an attorney for questions regarding contracts. A KCMO resource is the Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts