Policies and Procedures

Review Policy: 8.04 Public Art


Friday, February 1, 2019

This policy has been revised to reflect currrent requirements and practices, and provide greater guidance.

8.04 – Public Art


The purpose of this policy is to establish general guidelines for the acquisition, display, and deaccessioning of public art placed on campus.  All public art, as defined below, shall conform to this policy.


Policy Statement

Public art is permanent, long-term, or temporary art in public spaces on campus.  This policy addresses the review, acquisition, display, and deaccessioning of public art.  Public art, acquired through acquisition, or as a gift, should endeavor to expand the educational mission of the university by providing compelling work of high quality.  The Art and Architecture Committee is responsible for the management and stewardship of all public art at the university.



I.  Definitions:

A)  Public Art shall mean sculpture, fountains, bas-reliefs, mosaics, frescoes, wall hangings, crafts, photography, pictures, or other enhancements in public spaces on campus, including all outdoor campus space and interior public spaces such as lobbies, social spaces, etc.  It does not include the incidental ornamental detail of functional architectural/structural elements, hardware and other accessories.

B)  State Buildings includes all campus buildings owned, rented, or operated by the university.

II. Art and Architecture Committee

A)  The Art and Architecture Committee shall be responsible for recommending the acquisition, placement of public art on campus as defined in this policy.

B) Members of the Art and Architecture Committee shall be appointed by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations (SVPFO).

C) The Art and Architecture Committee shall develop by-laws, procedural guidelines, or other operating documents that will outline the process that the committee will use in discharging the responsibilities outlined in this policy.  The SVPFO shall approve the committee’s by-laws, procedural guidelines, or other operating documents every three years.

III. Art in State Buildings

A)  The President of the University of Northern Iowa, or his/her designated representative, may authorize expenditures for public art for State Buildings.  Upon authorization, the Art and Architecture Committee shall be responsible for the selection of public art within the purview of this policy.

B)  The budget for public art shall be sufficient to acquire public art appropriate for the project.  The budget shall include all artist commissions, engineering design, materials and installation costs necessary for the proper acquisition and installation of the piece or pieces.  

C)  Facilities Management shall review and approve proposed locations for public art to identify potential conflicts with building systems, utilities, or other obstacles and shall be responsible for the final coordination with the project.

D)  Selection of public art may be made by public competition of artists.  Preference may be given to the selection of works produced, created, or otherwise made by living or deceased Iowa artists.   

IV. Fine Art Donations

A)  From time to time, UNI may accept donations of public art from private entities.  Acceptance of donated public art shall comply with the requirements of this section.

B)  Fine art donated to the UNI Art Gallery, division, department, or other unit, shall be accepted at the sole discretion of the Director of the UNI Art Gallery.  The Director, in consultation with Facilities Management, shall determine locations for fine art that is to be located outside of the UNI Art Gallery.

C)  Any artwork, not a part of the UNI Art Gallery, which is to be donated to the university shall be referred to Facilities Management and the Chair of the Art & Architecture Committee for review prior to acceptance by the university.  Facilities Management shall provide consultation on the location of the public art. The Chair of the Art and Architecture Committee shall provide a recommendation as to the acceptability of the proposed donation with regard to the intent of this policy.  The Chair may seek input from the entire committee at the Chair’s discretion. Donations of public art shall include a maintenance endowment of not less than 10% of value of the public art.

V.  Temporary Public Art

A)  Temporary public art is art produced by students, faculty and staff as a part of the educational mission of the university.

B)  Temporary public art may be placed on campus by supervising faculty in consultation with the Art and Architecture Committee and Facilities Management.

C)  Temporary public art may be displayed for not more than 60 days without prior written approval of Facilities Management.

D)  Temporary public art shall be self-supporting and shall not be attached to landscape, hardscape, or building features.

E)  The artist of the temporary public art shall be responsible for the costs associated with installation and decommissioning of their work, including the costs associated with removal of improperly or unauthorized installations.

VI. Acceptance/Rejection, Ownership, and Deaccessioning

A)  Criteria for Acceptance/Rejection of Public Art:

  1. Proposed art shall display a high level of artistic quality and craftsmanship that supports and enhances the academic and creative mission of UNI.  Distinctive works of art chosen or created for campus public spaces shall be of sufficiently high quality to merit inclusion into the permanent art collection.

  2. The “message” of proposed art, if any, shall be acceptable to current standards and policies of the UNI community.

  3. An appropriate site in campus public space shall be available.

  4. Proposed art shall be structurally sound to present no environmental or safety hazard.

  5. An external funding source to cover all costs of acquisition, purchase, shipping, installation, wall-to-wall insurance, appraisal, and maintenance shall be determined prior to acceptance.  If sufficient funding is not immediately available, this criterion may be waived in exceptional circumstances by the President.

  6. The donor’s clear title to donated art and authenticity of the work shall be confirmed prior to acceptance.

B)  Ownership

  1. Ownership and acquisition terms will be determined by the standard gift agreement between the university and the donor of public art.  The university, with the approval of the Art and Architecture Committee, reserves the right to sell or donate works of public art.

C)  Criteria for Deaccessioning

  1. The work is outside the scope of the charter purpose of the campus public art collection and its acquisition policy.

  2. The work does not support the university’s mission or the collecting policy of the collection.

  3. The work lacks physical integrity - the object has been damaged or has deteriorated, rendering it impossible to be conserved properly, or the costs of conservation are prohibitive or outweigh the value to the collection.

  4. The work has failed to retain its identity or authenticity.

  5. The work no longer supports the research, education, or exhibition uses of the collection/university.

  6. There are significant changes to the artwork’s site or campus usage of the area in which it is located irreversibly altering the artist’s original intent.

  7. The current work and or site is in violation of current Iowa or Federal code, deemed unsafe or cannot meet current safety standards without modifications that significantly alter the artist’s original intent.

  8. The work is no longer sustainable in terms of cost to maintain and/or operate.


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Review Policy: 8.04 Public Art