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Acquisition, Placement and Rotation of Art in Public Spaces (Public Art) and Monuments

Acquisition, Placement and Rotation of Art in Public Spaces (Public Art) and Monuments

Reviewed By: Administrative Council on
Approved By: President Evans on
Reviewed By: Administrative Council
Approved By: President Morales

Please note: This policy is currently under review and the proposed changes have not been adopted.

I. Introduction:

The following guidelines establish the procedures to be followed by university administrators in undertaking all accessioning (inclusion in the inventory) and de-accessioning (removal from the inventory including discards and disposals) of works of art for public spaces, including monuments. These guidelines pertain to both CSUSB campuses and exclude RAFFMA (Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art) and other art acquiring CSUSB museums and galleries. They specifically address acquisitions (process and procedure) as well as other necessary aspects of campus-wide art, such as maintenance, preservation, financing, storage, etc. of art in CSUSB public spaces.

All public art and monuments proposed for installation in outdoor/interior public spaces, lobbies and other spaces should be presented to the University Art Advisory Committee (UAAC) for review, evaluation, and recommendation for acceptance or rejection for both CSUSB campuses. All such action has to be forwarded to the President’s Office.

Temporary student exhibitions conducted under the guidance of faculty members as part of a CSUSB course are exempt from this review process.

II. Public Art Definition

“Public art is not an art form. Its size can be huge or small. It can tower fifty feet high or call attention to the paving beneath your feet. Its shape can be abstract or realistic (or both), and it may be cast, carved, built, assembled, or painted. It can be site-specific or stand in contrast to its surroundings. What distinguishes public art is the unique association of how it is made, where it is, and what it means. Public art can express community values, enhance our environment, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world—the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.” - Association for Public Art

Art in public spaces includes two-dimensional, three-dimensional, media arts and monuments. It enhances and enriches public spaces, providing visual interest to the campus, encouraging inquiry and dialogue. Public art on campus helps to reflect CSUSB’s unique identity, culture and foster an understanding of its history and aesthetic values.

III. University Art Advisory Committee


University Art Advisory Committee (UAAC) – an advisory body – is responsible for reviewing and formally recommending all the art acquisitions/loans by both CSUSB campuses. In some instances, RAFFMA’s Acquisition Committee may be consulted. All evaluations should be forwarded to the President’s Office for consideration/approval.


The committee’s mission is to enhance learning and environmental aesthetics through advancing the presence of public art on CSUSB campuses. UAAC is guided by the principle that public art contributes to educational mission, enlivens and distinguishes the campus environment, and is a source of intellectual and creative inspiration to students, faculty, staff and the broader community.


  • Annually meet to discuss vision and advocacy for public art on the CSUSB campuses;
  • Reviewing works of art offered to the campus and recommending their acceptance or rejection;
  • Reviewing proposals for commissioned public artworks and monuments;
  • Suggesting ways to acquire donated or commissioned art;
  • Reviewing and approving de-accessions;
  • Advising as to appropriate placement, installation, presentation, rotation and relocation of art on the campuses;
  • Advising on preservation, maintenance, and storage;
  • Assuring that the presented art is not in clear violation of CSUSB policies. 


  • Art department chair or designee - serves as committee chair
  • RAFFMA director or designee
  • Two tenure – track art faculty member recommended by the Art Department and endorsed by the Faculty Senate
  • Art Student (MFA in Studio Art and Design grad student or senior BA in Art major). recommended by the Art Department and endorsed by ASI
  • Vice President for Advancement or designee
  • Executive Director of CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation or designee
  • Capital Planning, Design & Construction Director or designee
  • Facilities Services Senior Director or designee
  • PDC’s Dean or designee will serve as voting member when proposal is in regard to the PDC.


  • All members are voting members.
  • Simple majority vote establishes the decision 
  • All meetings are open to the public and recommendations are part of public record.
  • The committee should meet once a year to discuss/review/revise the vision for the campus public art and to check the status of the documentation.
  • Meetings to review art proposals will be scheduled on an as needed basis. Selected reviews (with the anticipated consensus) could be made via virtual meetings (i.e. Skype, email, etc.) Minutes will be taken for all meetings and a report written and sent to the President, with copies to all members in hardcopy and digital file.

IV. Public Art Fund


Funding is necessary to assure proper treatment of public art on campus, which includes:

  • Acquisitions
  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Publicity
  • Printed materials
  • Labels
  • Regularly updated records
  • Other related activities

Possible Sources of Funding:

  • CSUSB budget allocation
  • Grants
  • Donations
  • Sales of existing art
  • Other

Such fund should be housed with the office of Vice President for Administration and Finance.

V. Public Art Acquisitions

Approved Forms of Acquisition:

  • Gifts
  • Bequests
  • Purchases
  • Deposits
  • Loans
  • Commissions


The university departments should submit appropriate acquisition proposals to UAAC on a timely basis. Proposals shall not be reviewed unless the following conditions are met:

  • Objects have a clear proof of title.
  • Objects are either in good/fair condition or the departments or other units have the necessary resources for installation, conservation, and maintenance.
  • Departments or other units can provide storage, protection and preservation of the objects.
  • There is sufficient funding for installation and maintenance. In some instances donors could be encouraged to contribute funds for this purpose.

UAAC shall carefully review objects being considered for acquisition and recommend disposition of each object. Possible outcomes are:

  • acceptance
  • acceptance with the possibility of future transfer (de-accession)
  • acceptance with conditions
  • non-acceptance
  • request for more information

Criteria of Evaluation:

  • The artwork is recommended to be by an established, accomplished artist whose work has received general critical acclaim or by an emerging artist of great promise, which may include the exceptional work of a CSUSB student or alumni;
  • The artwork must contribute to the educational mission of CSUSB and reflect the quality of the University’s strong programs in the arts;
  • The artwork must be made from materials appropriate to its proposed location, be able to withstand or accept the wear and tear inherent in public settings, and takes public safety into consideration;
  • Each accepted object requires a plan for location, installation and maintenance. 

VI. Exhibition and Display

  • UAC will oversee the exhibiting of artworks from the university collection. As deemed appropriate by UAC, the art collection will be given prominence through its display in buildings on the CSUSB campuses.
  • The display or relocation of moveable artworks from the university art collection inside libraries, classrooms, offices or spaces that fall outside UAAC's definition of designated spaces for public art will be guided by UAAC in consultation with the appropriate management of those areas.
  • All campus public art should be properly labeled with the following information included in all labels/plaques:
    • Artist’s name
    • Title
    • Date
    • Acquisition date
    • Credit line

VII. Collection (Asset) Management

  • CSUSB has a responsibility to preserve and document the University’s art collection and all other items in its care. All art collection assets will be regularly inspected and their condition assessed under the guidance of UAAC.
  • For each item in the collection an accession form will be completed and a file of relevant records on the history and condition of the item will be maintained.
  • All items will be assigned a unique accession number.
  • A master copy of all collection records is to be maintained and archived by the John M. Pfau Library.
  • In keeping with the educational mission of the University, part of UAAC’s responsibility through the management of the collection is to support teaching and research of visual culture.
  • UAC will balance the developmental needs of the collection with its overall responsibility for the care and management of the existing collection. When acquiring works, UAAC will give due consideration to the resources required to house and maintain these acquisitions.
  • An accounting of the entire university’s public art collection will be undertaken once per academic year, including an updating of accession records by the John M. Pfau Library.
  • These guidelines do not include artworks being displayed by or in the collection of RAFFMA nor any Museum/Gallery located indoors or outdoors within their land designation.

VIII. Relocation or Removal (Deaccession) of Public Art

Any campus art could possibly be:

  1. A. Retained in the University’s public art collection and:
    • Relocated to another public location;
    • Removed and put into storage;
    • Lent to another organization; or
  2. B. Removed from the University’s public art collection. UAAC may carry out de-accessioning of items from the University art collection in the interests of collection development. UAAC regards the right to de-accession items as a necessary part of developing the collection to its fullest potential, and a responsible mechanism for collection management. Strict guidelines for de-accessioning will follow established industry standards, and be in accordance with the objectives set forth in the University Art Advisory Committee’s Mission and Goals statements.

All recommendations for the de-accessioning of items will originate with UAAC and be forwarded to the President for recommendation and approval. De-accessioning will result in one of the following (1-5):

  1. Return artwork to lender (only applies to artwork on loan to CSUSB)
    1. The lender (who may or may not have elected to be involved in the review process) is advised of the President’s recommendation and the lender’s consent to returning the artwork back to the lender, and termination of any prior contractual agreement, is obtained.
  2. Offer artwork to donor(s) (only applies to donated artwork owned by CSUSB)
    1. Where more than one donor has donated an artwork or funding for a specific purchase, CSUSB will offer the artwork to all donors (provided that CSUSB has contact information for each donor) and will allow all donors a reasonable time period to respond to the offer. Where only one donor responds affirmatively within the specified time limit, CSUSB will return the artwork to that donor. Where more than one donor responds within the specified time limit, CSUSB will enter into discussions with these donors to find an appropriate outcome. If none can be reached, the President will make a final decision.
  3. Gift artwork (only applies to artwork owned by CSUSB, does not apply to artwork on loan to university)
    1. The artwork may be offered to another organization or facility that operates for public benefit, preferably for public display.
    2. A deed of gift will be signed by CSUSB and the recipient to formalize transfer of ownership and record any mutually agreed conditions. These may include obligations to ensure consistency with the terms of the original acquisition.
    3. In limited circumstances the artwork may be offered as a gift back to the artist (or their designated heir(s). This will occur at the discretion of the President.
  4. Sell artwork (only applies to artwork owned by CSUSB, does not apply to artwork on loan to University).
    1. CSUSB will, in its discretion, decide who the relevant source of the artwork is. That relevant source shall be offered the right of first refusal to purchase the artwork for fair market value. In some instances, this may be determined by the terms or circumstances of the original acquisition. Every effort must be made to ensure the sale is fair and open, sale by public tender or auction is preferred.
    2. CSUSB employees, representatives, Board members and immediate family members may not purchase or benefit from the sale of the artwork. Note: not sure this is necessary.
    3. Any proceeds from the sale will be returned to UAC budget for future acquisitions.
    4. If the work is sold to someone other than the artist, the President will decide in his or her discretion whether to distribute a percentage of any profits made from the sale of the artwork, to the artist (provided the artist can be contacted by reasonable means). Note: Follow California law on this percentage
  5. Destroy artwork (only applies to artwork owned by CSUSB, not to artwork on loan)
    1. Destruction of the work is only sanctioned when all other options have been thoroughly evaluated and there are no other viable options.

Relocation or removal of public art should be considered only after careful and impartial evaluation and undertaken only when no other option exists. It should involve the same degree of careful review as a decision to commission a work of art; informed by professional judgment and the interests of the college community, and should proceed according to carefully developed policies and procedures. Public art has a long history of controversy and it is essential that decision-making remains independent from political pressures, fluctuations in artistic taste, popularity or public opinion.

A public artwork may be considered for relocation or removal review if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • Continued display of the public artwork undermines the artist’s intention.
  • Significant and/or substantial changes in the pattern of use, community, character or design of the environment where the public artwork is located necessitates a re-evaluation of the relationship of the public artwork to the location.
  • The public artwork location or part of the location is to be redeveloped or demolished and it is not possible to incorporate the public artwork into the redevelopment without compromising the integrity of the public artwork or incurring excessive costs.
  • The public artwork requires a high level of maintenance and/or conservation incurring excessive costs.
  • The public artwork possesses serious or dangerous faults in design or workmanship and repair or remedy is impractical, not feasible or will undermine the integrity of the public artwork.
  • The public artwork endangers public health and safety and remedy is impractical, not feasible or will undermine the integrity of the public artwork.
  • CSUSB is unable to reasonably guarantee the condition or security of the public artwork in its present location or the public artwork is irreparably damaged, due to reasons beyond the university’s control.

While these criteria may prompt a review process, they are not the criteria upon which a final decision on whether to relocate or remove a public artwork is based.