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Art on Campus Policy

  • Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President of Administration, Division of Administration
  • Current Approved Version: 03/07/2022
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose 

Virginia Commonwealth University desires to enhance the campus environment by acquiring artwork and commemorative elements and temporarily installing loaned privately owned artwork that reflects VCU’s core values and enriches the campus experience for students, faculty and staff, alumni, and visitors.

This policy provides a framework for the acceptance, acquisition, installation, management and disposition of artwork displayed at or on property owned or controlled by VCU, with the exception of the art associated with the Institute for Contemporary Art, on the campus at VCU Qatar, and covered by the other exemptions in Policy Specifics and Procedures, below.

All installations, acquisitions, loans and removals of permanent and/or long-term public artwork at the university must be approved in writing by the president and, as may be deemed necessary by the president, reviewed by the Board of Visitors.  The president may delegate this authority to a designee.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Table of Contents

 
Who Should Know This Policy
Definitions
Contacts
Policy Specifics and Procedures
Forms 
Related Documents
Revision History
FAQ

Who Should Know This Policy

University faculty, alumni, students, and friends of the university who would like to propose the acquisition or deaccession of public artwork or who are associated with the placement of public artwork at the university are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.

Definitions

Acquisition

To obtain through purchase, gift, donation, or any other method by which ownership is transferred to the university. Does not include loans or other temporary pass-through arrangements.

Commemoration

An object, artifact or ceremony that serves as lasting recognition of a person, group or event.

Deaccession

Permanent removal of a work of art from the university.

Long Term

Longer than one month.

Memorial

An object or structure that honors and preserves the memory of a person, group or event.

Public Artwork

Art, in any media and of any size that is displayed in a public space at the university and/or has been loaned to the university or acquired with the intention of being displayed in a public space.

Public Spaces

Exterior and interior spaces that are open to the public. This does not include office space designated for use by VCU employees.

Contacts

The Office of the Vice President for Administration officially interprets this policy. The Office of the Vice President for Administration is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the university architect in the Planning and Design department, Facilities Management Division.

Policy Specifics and Procedcures

Art on Campus Committee

Any individual or department desiring to propose the installation, acquisition, loan, or removal of public artwork must submit a written proposal to the Art on Campus Committee (hereinafter, the “Committee”) in compliance with this policy.

The Art on Campus Committee is a standing committee appointed by the president to serve in an advisory role. The Committee is convened at the request of the president to consider written proposals regarding the acquisition, management, placement, or deaccession of public artwork at the university.

The Committee’s composition includes representatives of the following university units:

  • Office of the President
  • Vice President and Vice Provost, Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness & Success (or designee)
  • Office of Development and Alumni Relations
  • Dean, VCU School of the Arts (or designee)
  • VCUarts faculty representative
  • Institute for Contemporary Art
  • Vice President for Administration (or designee)
  • Associate Vice President, Facilities Management Division
  • University Architect
  • Any other individual as designated by the president (or designee)
  • Other offices may be consulted at the discretion of the chair

The university architect shall serve as the chairperson of the Art on Campus Committee.

Committee responsibilities are as follows. To:

  • Evaluate all written proposals for public artwork, taking into account the Criteria for Acceptance of Public Artwork, as set forth below.
  • Evaluate proposals for the maintenance or deaccession of public artwork.
  • Consult with subject matter experts as appropriate when considering acquisition or loan of public artwork.
  • Make recommendations to the president (or designee) regarding acceptance and location of public artwork acquisitions, loans or installations, and deaccession of public artwork. Review objections to the placement or removal of public artwork.
  • Submit requests for approval of the acquisition, installation or deaccession of public artwork from the state Art and Architectural Review Board as required by Virginia Code § 2.2-2402. Approval of the Art and Architectural Review Board is required for the placement of loaned, privately owned artwork in public spaces only if such placement will be for a period of time of more than two years.

 The responsibilities of the Committee do not include the following:

  • Review of installations at the Markel Center and curatorial services performed by the Institute of Contemporary Art.
  • Review of installations at VCU Qatar.
  • Review of art located in public spaces not owned by the university (such as statues or commemorations) but are within close proximity of its facilities.
  • Review of the design or construction of buildings or university facilities.
  • Review of faculty or student exhibitions.
  • Review of installations in interior spaces regulated by individual schools or departments, unless the school or department requests committee review.
  • Review of installations at the Anderson (School of Arts campus gallery)
  • Review of commemorations and memorials. If the Art on Campus committee receives a submission determined to be a commemoration or a memorial, the submission will be directed to VCU’s Committee on Commemorations and Memorials.

Criteria for Acceptance of Public Artwork

The Committee uses the following criteria as guidance for recommending the acceptance of public artwork (and additional criteria as it deems appropriate):

  • Artistic excellence
  • Appropriateness and availability of a university site
  • Alignment with the mission of the university
  • Durability of the design and materials
  • Reasonable maintenance requirements
  • Environmental and public safety risks posed by the public display of the artwork
  • Clear title from the seller/donor of the artwork
  • Any restrictions (legal, donor-imposed, or otherwise) that may accompany the artwork
  • Funding proposal to cover installation and maintenance costs
  • Potential to disrupt the efficient operation of the university

Acceptance of Public Artwork

Proposals for the acquisition, donation or loan of public artwork must be submitted in writing to the Art on Campus Committee.  Proposals shall be reviewed by the Committee, which will provide one of the following written recommendations to the president (or designee): 

  • Acceptance of the artwork,
  • Recommendation that the proposal be declined, or
  • Recommendation that acceptance of the artwork be subject to conditions or a further request for information (e.g., additional funding, a prescribed management plan for installation, or a plan for continued maintenance or conservation of the artwork).

To the extent possible, gifts of artwork to the university shall be without restriction.  Artwork that is acquired by the university shall become the property of Virginia Commonwealth University and shall be added to the university’s fixed asset system in accordance with university policy.  The university does not guarantee the permanent display or retention of donated artwork. If Artwork is acquired from the artist, a provision should be included in the acquisition document to permit the university to destroy the Artwork if its condition becomes beyond repair or hazardous.

The university welcomes proposals for the acceptance of public art from university departments, faculty, staff, and students.  Individuals or organizations outside of the university wishing to propose artwork to be gifted to, loaned to, or purchased by the university must collaborate with a university department in order to submit a proposal to the Committee.

  1. Submit a completed VCU Public Artwork Acquisition Proposal to the university architect, Facilities Management Division.
    • For proposed gifts, prospective donors and recipient university departments should coordinate with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations to submit a “VCU Public Artwork Acquisition Proposal.”
  2. The Art on Campus Committee shall review the proposal and may request additional supporting documentation to assist with its review.
  3. Proposals shall be reviewed promptly, but with sufficient time for careful review of proposal details.
  4. Upon completion of its review, the Art on Campus Committee shall provide a recommendation to the president (or designee).

Acquisitions or loans of public artwork must comply with applicable state or federal laws, and applicable University policies. As needed, the Committee may consult with appropriate subject matter experts, such as representatives in the Office of Procurement Services, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and the Facilities Management Division.

Once artwork is approved, the appropriate department will be instructed to follow the management plan recommended by the Art on Campus Committee and any applicable terms governing the acquisition of the artwork. Appropriate supporting documentation must be retained by the Facilities Management Division.

Deaccession of Public Artwork

The deaccession of artwork requires careful consideration and shall be considered only to advance the university’s mission.  Proposals to deaccession public artwork must be submitted in writing to the Art on Campus Committee as required by this policy.  The Committee shall provide a recommendation to the president (or designee). 

The following criteria will be considered in connection with a proposal to deaccession (in addition to other criteria, as the Committee deems to be appropriate):

  • The artwork has been found to be inauthentic. Inauthentic work shall not be returned to the market.
  • The artwork requires excessive maintenance, or the cost of maintenance or security of the artwork presents an excessive burden on the university.
  • The artwork is in poor condition and restoration is deemed to be impractical or impossible.
  • The artwork endangers public safety, health or welfare.
  • Ownership of the artwork is in question.
  • The artwork was exported, imported or provided to the university in violation of existing federal, state or local law.
  • There is a lack of historical or aesthetic value.
  • The artwork does not support the mission of the university.
  • The site of the artwork will be or has been altered and the artwork cannot be relocated.
  • The Board of Visitors has determined that the deaccession is necessary to protect the best interests of the university.

Departments or schools wishing to propose deaccession of public artwork must submite a "VCU Public Artwork Deaccession Proposal."

  • Submit a completed VCU Public Artwork Deaccession Proposal to the university architect, Facilities Management Division.
  • The Art on Campus Committee shall review the proposal and may request additional supporting documentation to assist with its review.
  • Proposals shall be reviewed promptly, but with sufficient time for careful review of proposal details.
  • Upon completion of its review, the Art on Campus Committee shall provide a recommendation to the president (or designee).

Once artwork is approved for deaccession, the appropriate department will be instructed to follow proper guidelines for deaccession. Appropriate supporting documentation must be retained by the Facilities Management Division.  Deaccessioned artwork may be:

  • Donated to another public agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia,
  • Disposed of in accordance with the university’s surplus property process,
  • Destroyed if the work is beyond repair or hazardous. Destruction must be thoroughly documented and witnessed by a duly qualified unbiased third party,
  • Placed in the custody of VCU Libraries for historic and research purposes, if appropriate, or
  • Placed for sale at public auction.

The decision of the committee as whether to accept or remove artwork is final.

Installation of Public Artwork

All installations shall be coordinated and supervised by VCU Facilities Management Division in accordance with any processes determined by the Art on Campus Committee.

Management and Conservation of Public Artwork

All public artwork must be managed in accordance with (1) any management plans required by the president, their designee or applicable VCU Division or Unit in consultation with the Art on Campus committee and (2) the agreement or terms governing the acquisition of the artwork.  Concerns about the condition of any public artwork must be reported to VCU Facilities Management Division according to the procedures in this policy.

Reporting Concerns about the Condition of Public Artwork

Any individual concerned about the condition of public artwork should report concerns to the Facilities Management Division.

  • Notify the Campus Coordinator in the Facilities Management Division of the concern, including photographs if possible.
  • Facilities Management Division will investigate the condition of the artwork and shall notify the Office of Risk Management and the Art on Campus Committee.
  • The Art on Campus Committee, after consultation with both the Facilities Management Division and the Office of Risk Management, shall provide a recommendation to the president (or designee) to (1) immediately remove the artwork, (2) promptly conserve and repair the artwork by a qualified professional, or (3) monitor the artwork on a recommended routine time frame.

Forms

VCU Public Artwork Acceptance Proposal

VCU Public Artwork Deaccession Proposal

Related Documents

 

  1. VCU Policy: Policy on Gift Acceptance and Administration
  2. Policy on Gifts of Tangible Personal Property/ Gifts-in-Kind (local policy in DAR)
  3. VCU Policy: Policy on Memorials and Commemorations
  4. 2.2-2402. Governor’s Approval of Works of Art; Removal, Etc.; Structures, Fixtures and Works of Art Placed On Or Extending Over State Property

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

08/09/2007                            Art on Campus

FAQ

1. Why is art associated with the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Qatar Campus excluded from this policy?  

With an independent curatorial staff, the ICA will bring nationally and internationally respected artists and scholars to Richmond and to become a catalyst for new experiences that will enrich the lives of Richmonders, Virginians and cultural tourists from across the globe.  As such, oversight by the Art on Campus committee is not appropriate nor necessary.  Similarly the Qatar Campus cultivates a dynamic intercultural environment of diverse research, learning and community engagement that propels the development of exemplary artists, designers and scholars to build vibrant communities and diversified economies.  Since it has its own leadership and administration, oversight by the Art on Campus committee of the Qatar campus is not appropriate nor necessary.

2. Why is artwork that is located in interior spaces regulated by individual schools or departments not subject to review by the Art on Campus Committee unless the school or department requests committee review? 

The university believes that schools and departments are equipped to handle most curatorial decisions on their own for public art placed in the facilities they control without oversight by the Art on Campus Committee. If the school or department does not feel comfortable making these decisions on their own, they can request review by the Art on Campus Committee.

3. Is the Art on Campus Committee responsible for review of artwork acquired or loaned by the University Libraries?

Only if the artwork is intended for public display.