How was Kryptos funded? Why did the CIA pay for art?
The GSA Art in Architecture Program oversees the commissioning of artworks for new federal buildings nationwide. These artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.
GSA reserves one-half of one percent of the estimated construction cost of each new federal building to commission project artists. A panel composed of art professionals, civic and community representatives, the project’s lead design architect, and GSA staff meets to discuss opportunities for artists to participate in the building project. This panel reviews a diverse pool of artist candidates and nominates finalists for GSA to evaluate. Artists who receive federal commissions work with the project architects and others as members of a design team to ensure that the artworks are meaningfully integrated into the overall project.
All artist candidates for Art in Architecture commissions are drawn from GSA’s National Artist Registry, which is a database of artists who have submitted digital images of their past work for review by GSA panels. The registry is open to all American artists (citizens or permanent residents of the United States).
TL;DR The CIA’s new headquarters building cost over 50 million dollars to build (conservatively, just going off of the Kryptos instillation alone).