CSU Policy: University Public Art Policy

Policy Title: University Public Art Policy Category: Administration
Owner: Vice President for University Operations Policy ID#: 5-6030-015
Public Health Administrator
Web: http://ehs.colostate.edu/WPublicH/Home.aspx
Phone: (970) 491-6121

Also Contact:
Facilities Management - UPAC
Web: https://www.fm.colostate.edu/upac
Email: fac_upac@Mail.colostate.edu
Phone: 970-491-0077
Original Effective Date: 2/27/2019
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This policy establishes a process for reviewing, funding, and siting art proposed for installation in public spaces on campus. The policy is supported by procedures that describe the criteria and processes involved in the selection, acquisition, presentation, maintenance, preservation, and removal of public art displayed by the University. The purpose of University Public Art Committee and the University Public Art Policy is to:

  • Govern the activities of the Public Art Committee;
  • Facilitate public display of works of art which are appropriate to scale, aesthetic, theme, and materials;
  • Balance values of artistic expression and originality with the value to the greater community; and
  • Celebrate the diversity of the CSU campus and its visitors, including diversity of ideas and perspectives.


This policy applies to all academic and business units of the University and any individuals or groups seeking to place art in public spaces on property belonging to the University. It encompasses all publicly accessible campus spaces, which comprises common exterior spaces and major departmental exterior and interior common areas such as extensions of buildings, courtyards, departmental lobbies, and classrooms. Public spaces viewable from major sight lines such as pedestrian, bike, or vehicular corridors are also included as publicly accessible campus spaces.


This policy does not include acquisition activities for the art museum spaces on campus (including the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Avenir Museum, Hatton Gallery, the Lory Student Center Arts program, Library Collections, the Art and Art History Department, Magnolia House, and temporary exhibits in University-designated exhibition venues); departmental conference rooms and private offices; memorials as defined by the Office of Donor Relations in partnership with Facilities Management (see References and Procedures, Forms and Tools below); and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, including the tribute garden. Installations managed by Visual Arts, the Lory Student Center, and the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, if exterior and in a public space, will be coordinated with both Facilities Management and UPAC.


Accession: The term “accession” includes acceptance by gift, purchase, exchange, bequest and any other formal process by which title to a collection item is transferred to Colorado State University for designated use at the University. UPAC subscribes to a policy of selective acquisition outlined in the CSU Policy on Art Museum Collections. Because of limitations of staff, physical space, and finances, it is neither feasible nor ethical for the University to collect indiscriminately.  

Art: Two or three-dimensional works of art.

Capital improvement project: The new construction or a major renovation of an academic teaching and/or research facility, an administrative building, or any general purpose building on University property.

Collection: A group of objects or the holdings of the institution. In reference to this policy, a group of works of art displayed in public spaces of the University.

Committees mentioned in this policy:

Physical Development Committee (PDC)

University Public Art Committee (UPAC)

Deaccession: To permanently remove a work of art from the University’s collection. The term “deaccession” denotes the formal process used to permanently remove an object from the collection.

Public Art: Art objects placed in a shared, publicly accessible space on campus, including interior and exterior spaces. Categories of public art may include functional, expressive, or installation art donated or commissioned, or otherwise acquired that are prominent and located in public space. Art media may include but is not limited to sculptures, painting, murals, photography, drawings, prints, mixed media, electronic media, gardens, including fountains and seating, and may include but is not limited to objects in clay, fiber, textiles, wood, metal, plastic, or other material.

Public Spaces/Publicly Accessible Spaces: All exterior and interior spaces on University property that are accessible to the public, enclosed or not, with the exception of personal office space. These include but are not limited to classrooms, laboratories, auditoriums and performance halls, sidewalks, plazas, green spaces, corridors and building walls as well as interior spaces including hallways, lobbies, stairways, parking garages, sports and recreational facilities.

Spirit Art: An art piece or sculpture with the intent of promoting school spirit and identity, typically the school’s mascot. An important representation of campus life.


The University aims to enhance the campus environment through the acquisition and display of public art. Public displays of art by institutions of higher education should aspire to enlighten and enrich the lives of students, faculty and staff, alumni, and all visitors alike. Identifying works of public art operates equivalently to projects of research and publication in a variety of academic disciplines. As such, public art seeks to give visual and physical form to core values of the University, such as freedom of speech and expression, alongside respect for diverse viewers and users, and the creation of a stimulating yet safe environment. Stewardship for the existing collection of public art—and for all works entering the University’s collection in the future—is an integral consideration, as is caring for the value of the public art as a collection.

To that end, the University Public Art Committee (UPAC) works to assure that all works of public art placed on University property reflect the University’s commitment to excellence, while also evaluating appropriate long- or short-term care for these works. By actively expanding the collection and display of public art throughout the campuses, the University endeavors to create a physical and aesthetic environment that captures CSU’s rich heritage, diversity, and enduring pursuit of knowledge.


UPAC Responsibilities

  1. UPAC acts as a central review mechanism for works of art proposed for placement on the CSU campus. UPAC fosters the enrichment of the University’s visual environment while helping to assure that only works of public art of an appropriately high standard become part of the university environment permanently or temporarily. To assist in upholding appropriate standards, UPAC developed a public art policy and set of procedures that govern the selection process for public art on campus. Any work of art added to CSU’s public art collection must be reviewed through UPAC. After review and communication with relevant stakeholders, UPAC will provide a written report of its findings and recommendations. UPAC will develop, manage, and periodically update the UPAC Procedures to receive, review, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding proposals for Public Art on campus. The UPAC Procedures will address evaluation of such parameters as:
    1. Type of art
    2. The proposed location and duration of the display
    3. Potential costs to the university for procurement, installation, and long-term maintenance
    4. Safety
    5. Any desired soliciting/commission process
  2. The UPAC Procedures will be vetted by the PDC with input from appropriate stakeholders (e.g. Facilities Management, Office of Advancement, Legal Counsel, etc.). The UPAC Procedures will govern all aspects of acquisition, placement, installation, display, maintenance, and decommissioning of works of Public Art.
  3. The PDC will review all artwork to be displayed for site selection and duration of display.
  4. UPAC coordinates and works closely with stakeholders on campus responsible for bringing art to the university. The public art collection is just one of several collections on campus. Collaboration in carrying out this policy will include CSU Facilities Management, Department of Art and Art History, the Office of Advancement, and the City of Fort Collins, among others. Many of these offices have representation on UPAC. In particular, UPAC strives to stimulate a dynamic public art presence not only on the University campus itself, but also in the City of Fort Collins (and other cities where CSU property is located), paying particular attention to areas of intersection where the City and the University come together.
  5. UPAC strives to operate on a timely and responsive basis relative to University units, donors, and others. UPAC meets quarterly to review artwork and evaluate the public art process. Contact UPAC for any questions regarding the schedule.

UPAC Membership

The PDC chairperson appoints the UPAC chairperson. Selection of UPAC members is subject to the approval of the PDC and/or the Office of the President, or its designee. On an ad hoc basis, the chairperson of UPAC may designate other individuals as consultants to the committee, provided that such consultants have expertise in the type of artwork under consideration. Membership of UPAC shall consist of the following individuals:

  • CSU Gregory Allicar Museum of Art Director or staff appointee
  • CSU Department of Art and Art History, Chair or appointee
  • CSU Lory Student Center Arts Programs Manager
  • CSU Facilities Management Landscape Architect or Planner
  • City of Fort Collins Public Art Program Manager
  • Member from the Physical Development Committee
  • Member from the Office of Advancement
  • (Optional) CSU Department of Art and Art History student
  • (Optional) ASCSU student representative

University Public Art Committee Contact:

Facilities Management – Assistant Director and University Planner Facilities Management – Landscape Architect/Environmental Graphic Designer

Office of Advancement Contact:

Managing Director, Donor Relations & Stewardship

Public Art versus Memorials

Works of art as memorials located on campus will be in the form of the standard CSU memorial bench and trees with plaques. Donors may contact the Office of Advancement for more information.

Public Art versus Spirit Art

The intent of the university public art policy is to promote a unique variety of public art on campus while the intent of spirit art is to typically represent the university’s identity through representation of the mascot. UPAC aims to give careful consideration to the number of spirit art pieces on campus. Distinctive representations of spirit art can go through the public art review process.

Evaluation Criteria

The University Public Art Committee (UPAC) strives to position works of public art of the highest caliber in settings appropriate to the scale, purposes, aesthetics, and materials of individual works. They apply a consistent set of criteria in evaluating works of public art—whether sited permanently or temporarily—that are offered to the University, as well as works that the University or its units proactively seek to add to the public environment. For more information about the considerations and criteria for public art proposals, as well as conditions for acceptance, refer to the UPAC Procedures.

Conditions of Acceptance

Avenues for acquisition of artwork are through commission, purchase, and donation. To the extent possible, gifts of art to the University should be without restrictions from the donor. All potential donations will be reviewed according to our process and criteria, and may not be accepted. For more information, refer to conditions of acceptance in the UPAC Procedures.

Our policy is in support of and takes guidance from the Freedom of Speech Commitment statement adopted by the American Alliance of Museums and produced by the National Coalition against Censorship.

The works this institution exhibits may awe, illuminate, challenge, unsettle, confound, provoke, and, at times, offend. To exhibit a work of art is not to endorse the work or the vision, ideas, and opinions of the artist. It is to uphold the right of all to experience diverse visions and views. If and when controversies arise from the exhibition of a work of art, we welcome public discussion and debate with the belief that such discussion is integral to the experience of the art. Consistent with the university’s fundamental commitment to freedom of speech, we will not censor exhibitions in response to political or ideological pressure.

Artist/Donor Responsibilities

It is the University’s expectation that artists/donors shall provide all materials, engineering, and installation, including shipping costs; details are further articulated on the contract.


Anyone placing art in a public space goes through the public art review process, regardless of ownership. Works of art will become the property of CSU except when loaned pursuant to a written loan agreement. Upon receipt of a gifted or donated art piece, all ownership rights must transfer to CSU and are retained while in possession of the art piece. The work comes to the University with an unrestricted ownership and without any potential use restrictions (such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.) unless a prior written agreement has been entered into by the University and the prospective donor.

Insurance and indemnification responsibility

Commissioned, purchased, gifted, and donated art is the property of the University and therefore appropriately insured for liability, damage, and loss similar to other assets. Facilities Management is responsible for notifying Risk Management of pending and completed acquisitions.

Accessioning and Deaccessioning

UPAC follows the CSU Policy on Art Museum Collections Management for current best practices for accessioning and deaccessioning.


A work of art may be temporarily or permanently relocated as needed to meet development plans or University needs. In the event of either relocation or removal, Facilities Management will coordinate the activity. UPAC will review all relocations.


UPAC administers compliance through acceptance into the university public art collection.




Approved by Anthony A. Frank, President, on February 27, 2019


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