Brown incorporates art into the everyday fabric of campus life through its percent-for-art program: one percent of the construction budget of all new buildings and major renovations is devoted to the commission of artwork for the building or grounds. The Public Art Committee executes these commissions and work closely with both the architects and the users of the building to selects artists whose work the Committee believe will complement, activate, and respond to the future activities of the space. In many cases, the projects respond to the academic programs that will occupy the building. The intention with each commission is to create a unique aesthetic response that distinguishes the character of the building, it functions, and the communities it serves. Previous commissions vary from structural components of buildings—a pedestrian bridge in one case; an entrance vestibule in another—to an artist-designed carpet, a sound work, a mural of granite, gold leaf and bronze, and a water-table.
The following artists have completed percent-for-art projects to date: Diane Samuel in the Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences building, Ann Hamilton in Pembroke Hall, Nina Katchadourian in the Stephen Roberts ’62 Campus Center at Faunce House, Larry Kirkland in the Warren Alpert School of Medical Education, realities:united at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Sarah Oppenheimer in the Metcalf building, Maya Lin on the grounds outside the Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (formerly Hunter Lab) and Spencer Finch in the Engineering Research Center.