An installation by Olafur Eliasson features three yellow LED hoops on a ceiling.

Olafur Eliasson, Northwest Passage, 2018, Stainless, steel, LED lights, diffusers. Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds and generous gifts from Robert Sanders (’64) & Sara-Ann Sanders, Fotene & Tom Coté, The David Bermant Foundation, Donors to the 2014 McDermott Award Gala, and the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Many works in the Permanent and Public Art collections were brought to MIT through the List’s Percent-for-Art Program.

MIT’s Percent-for-Art Program, administered by the List Visual Arts Center, now allocates up to $500,000 to commission art for each new major renovation or campus construction project. The policy was formally instituted in 1968, but earlier collaborations between artists and architects can be found on MIT’s campus. When architect Eero Saarinen designed the MIT Chapel in 1955, sculptor Theodore Roszak designed the bell tower and sculptor Harry Bertoia designed the altar screen. In 1985, architect I.M. Pei and artists Scott Burton, Kenneth Noland, and Richard Fleischner collaborated on Percent-for-Art projects for the Wiesner building and plaza, home to the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Media Laboratory.