The policy is intended to provide a framework for selection, acquisition, installation, management, and education promotion of public artwork and commemorative elements at Virginia Commonwealth University. This policy includes both outdoor and indoor art. It pertains to the grounds of the University, and any building occupied by the University, including leased property. Indoor art is defined as artwork in the public space of a building, such as the lobby area.
University faculty, staff members, friends of the University, alumni, and students associated with the acquisition and placement of public art and commemorative elements on campus should read this policy.
VCU’s Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Vice President for External Relations, and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, officially interpret this policy.
This is the committee responsible for directing and managing the Art on Campus program (hereinafter referred to as the “Committee”).
Public Art includes artwork, sculpture, and site features which depart from the campus amenity standard (street lamps, signage, trash receptacles, bicycle racks, and benches) on the campus grounds and inside its buildings. Indoor artwork, as defined by this policy, is limited to those portions of the building that are considered public spaces. This policy includes purchased, gifted, and/or loaned works of art, murals, textiles and the like.
Virginia Commonwealth University aspires to introduce Public Art on its campuses to inspire and to enrich the experience of those who populate and visit its two campuses. The display of Public Art on campus also emphasizes the University’s identity as one of the premier institutions for the study of art. The placement of commemorative objects and landscape features throughout the campus serves also to explore the University’s identity and to express its heritage.
By the introduction of these Public Art elements into the campus landscape and inside its facilities, the University also seeks to preserve and enhance the campus fabric through careful selection of artwork, sculpture, and commemorative objects, and careful attention to appropriateness of the site relative to size, scale, light, color, form, and texture.
Artistic direction generally will be provided by representatives from the VCU School of the Arts, with input from the Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Vice President for External Relations, and by the University Architect. Site selection and direction will be provided by the University Architect, with input from the Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Vice President for External Relations; the School of the Arts; and, if possible, the artist or sculptor. If the piece of artwork or sculpture is gifted or donated by an alumnus, a representative from Office of the Vice President for Advancement shall be included in this process also. Donors shall be afforded a meaningful opportunity for input in the selection of artwork and its placement site, but the University reserves final decision-making authority on both.
A committee shall be formed to direct and manage the Art on Campus program. Its initial composition shall include:
At initial meetings of the Art on Campus Committee, the Chair will provide an overview of potential Public Art projects and review roles of Committee members, Public Art selection guidelines, and applicable artistic criteria. Once specific projects are selected, the Chair will organize tours of potential sites, meetings with the artists, and will coordinate scheduling other events intended to provide appropriate education of Committee members on the social, academic, physical, and environmental context of each potential Public Art project, and to formulate a specific plan for each selected project. Regular meetings will follow, as needed, to consider budget specifics, possible locations, and the generation of lists of artists to be considered.
The Committee shall use the following criteria as guidance for selecting and placing Public Art on campus:
The Art on Campus Committee will identify one of the following four artist selection methods for each selected project. Although the selection methods described generally are written to accommodate the complex planning and fabrication of larger pieces, this policy applies to smaller scale works in various media, as well.
When artwork is to be developed as an integral part of a building project, the Committee will work with the project building committee to ensure that the proposed artwork concept is integrated into the building design process.
The Committee will meet with invited artists for presentations and explanations of their specific proposals. Most artists will show images of past work and provide written proposals, drawings, or models to elaborate on their respective ideas. The Committee will then discuss and evaluate each proposal. It will recommend to the University’s Vice Presidents the artist to whom it prefers to award the commission.
Artists who are awarded commissions will be required to develop specific proposals based on extensive background information, site visits, and the like. With prior approval of the University Purchasing office, the Committee will negotiate a contract with the artist, specifying, among other things, time limits and fees for proposal related work.
Over the past decade, the University has designed buildings and landscapes with public artwork in mind. Accordingly, the newer buildings already include targeted sites for sculpture and indoor artwork. These sites should be documented and their attributes described, providing a framework for prospective site selection. Further exploration of existing sites on campus should be documented to enhance the opportunity for compatibility between the site and specific artwork.
Once the artist and the site have been selected, the artist, at the direction of the Committee, shall prepare images and/or scale models of the work. The Committee then recommends approval through a presentation to the President and University Vice Presidents.
If the work is part of a construction project, the artwork shall be presented also to the University’s Architectural Review Committee.
At least annually, the Chair of the Art on Campus Committee shall report to the Board of Visitors on art selected and installed under the policy.
Gifts, loans, or temporary exhibits intended to be displayed for extended periods of time in the University’s public setting are subject to the same high standards for review as works acquired through the aforementioned procedures. Such review will be undertaken, as needed, by the Committee. This is to ensure that such work meets the aesthetic standards established by the Committee. Donors shall be afforded a meaningful opportunity for input in the selection of artwork and its placement site, but the University reserves final decision-making authority on both.
Educational programming and promotional efforts for the Art on Campus program are intended to:
The opportunity for educational programming generally occurs:
The University also may undertake educational outreach programs with the community on Public Artwork.
The Art on Campus program shall be funded through a variety of sources including University funds, public grants, and private contributions in the form of cash gifts, endowments, bequests, and direct gifts of art from individuals, corporations, and foundations. A development plan for the Art on Campus program will blend these sources of funds for the purpose of leveraging maximum external funding and matching contributions for the program. Prospective sources for gifts and grants shall be cleared for solicitation and closely coordinated with the Office of University Advancement.
The University’s Physical Plant department shall be responsible for installing and maintaining Public Art on outdoor sites. Respective building managers shall be responsible for maintaining Public Artwork inside buildings. Reasonable efforts shall be made to deter vandalism and protect the artwork.
From time to time, the University may consider the development of rotating exhibits, sculpture gardens, or galleries within buildings where artwork is removed and replaced on a regular basis. The VCU Health System has had such a program in place for many years. At such time as the University undertakes such an initiative, the Committee shall appoint an individual to manage the collection and recruit new artistic talent for the rotating exhibits.
The purpose of this document is to outline a process for procuring and managing Public Art at VCU. This process is for competitive selection of artwork. (Procurement rules allow an exception for competition for commissioned artwork up to $50,000.)
The desired outcome is to enhance the environment with artwork and showcase the skills of VCU alumni, students, and faculty.
Artist prepares and installs work.
Generally, four months to select artist and two to four months to produce the artwork.