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Campus Art Committee Policies & Procedures


The University of Pennsylvania Art Collection is substantial and growing, now totaling over 5,200 eclectic art objects that include paintings, sculpture and prints as well as furniture and other decorative arts. The Collection is an asset owned by the Trustees of the University and, as such, is the responsibility of the Office of the Treasurer. In turn, the Office of the Treasurer has charged the Office of the Curator with the management of the Collection.

Many of the works in the Collection are placed in the landscape or proximate to or affixed to buildings. The Campus Development Plan (adopted by Trustee resolution in February of 2001) focused needed attention on art in the landscape as an important component of the character of the campus. An outgrowth of the Campus Development Plan was the development of the University’s Design Guidelines and Review of Campus Projects, approved by the Trustee Facilities & Campus Planning Committee in 2002. The Design Guidelines address the review and approval of art on campus as follows:

For art projects on campus, the Design Review Committee may create a special subcommittee that may include faculty and administrators beyond the Committee to provide advice and guidance to the artists involved and to recommend approval of promising projects to the appropriate Deans, the President and the Trustees.

The Campus Art Committee was formed in late 2002 with membership composed of representatives of the School of Design, Institute of Contemporary Art, Office of the University Curator, University Museum and Office of the University Architect.   


All pieces of sculpture or other works of art proposed to be installed in the campus landscape or on the exterior of buildings are to be presented to the Campus Art Committee for review, evaluation and acceptance or rejection, such action being forwarded to the Office of the President for confirmation. The standards by which the Committee will evaluate the merit of a given work of art are as follows:

•   The work must be by an established, accomplished artist whose work has received general critical acclaim or by an emerging artist of great promise;

•  The work must contribute to the educational mission of the University;

•   The work must advance the way we think about the world we inhabit and reflect the quality of the University’s strong programs in art history, fine arts and environmental design;

•   The work must be similar in quality and stature as recent additions to the collection by Claus Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Tony Smith and Jenny Holzer;

•  The work must be made from materials appropriate to its proposed location and be able to withstand or accept the wear and tear inherent in public urban settings.

As required by the March 2000 “University of Pennsylvania Art Collection Policy,” 10% of the appraised value of the artwork must be provided by the donor or sponsoring School/Center for its ongoing maintenance. 

The Campus Development Plan identified a number of locations that would be appropriate for public art works. These locations will be given priority in deciding where best to locate new artworks.


1)   Upon considering the commissioning of a work of art or beginning to entertain the acceptance of a gift of a work of art the School or Center must notify the Office of the University Architect (OUA) of its intentions and submit for review such materials as are available on the work in question, including the artist, the proposed location, a statement describing maintenance requirements and the source of maintenance funding.

2)   The OUA will circulate a summary of the materials to the members of the Campus Art Committee for review and schedule a meeting at which the work is discussed. In the event of a commissioned work the initial review will be held without the artist present; a subsequent review with the artist will be held should the work be of sufficient interest. In the event of a gift, the OUA will also notify Development & Alumni Relations of the proposed donation. 

3)   Upon completion of its review the Subcommittee will submit its recommendation to the President.

4)   Upon receipt of the President’s response to the recommendation the Committee will notify the sponsoring School or Center of the outcome. In the event of acceptance, the Committee will work with the artist to finalize the location and details of the installation.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 33, May 24, 2005


May 24, 2005
Volume 51 Number 33


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