University of Minnesota  Procedure

Selecting, Installing, and Maintaining Campus Public Art (Twin Cities)


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Governing Policy


Please use the contact section in the governing policy.


Project Committee

A CPASC committee is assembled for every Public Art project, as outlined in the Policy. The CPASC deliberates on artist selection, art acquisition, and artist’s concept proposals, making a recommendation to the Director of the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) and the Vice President for University Services (VPUS).

The Public Art Curator is responsible for recommending members of the CPASC to the WAM Director and the VPUS. The Curator facilitates the CPASC in coordination with the architectural design phases of the given project, provides staff support to the committee, brings historical knowledge, provides decision-making and creative process guidance, but as an ex-officio member does not vote.

Art/Artist Selection

The Public Art Curator and CPASC prepare a Project Art Plan. The Project Art Plan provides the basis for artist identification and selection, including the method for identifying the artist pool (e.g., open call, curated list, competition, etc.). For any method chosen, but in particular when using a curated list, the Public Art Curator and CPASC members are expected to be aware of and mitigate implicit biases and required to participate in training on this topic. 

The Public Art Curator uses the Project Art Plan and criteria established in the Policy to assemble a slate of artists for consideration by the CPASC during the Schematic Design phase of the building project. CPASC members may suggest or recommend additional artists for consideration. Screening is conducted by examining the previous work by the artists being considered for inclusion on the slate. 

The slate of artists for each project is narrowed by the CPASC to a selection of artists who are then interviewed. Each of the artists on the “short list” is given a copy of the Project Art Plan and key points from the Policy, along with any other material the CPASC considers appropriate, to assist the artist’s understanding of the project. In the interview, artists are asked to describe their past works of art and the approach they anticipate for engaging the CPASC and campus community in the process of conceptualizing this new work of art. Following interviews, the CPASC makes a recommended artist selection to the WAM and the VPUS.

A standard set of criteria are used for selection of artists on all public art projects. In addition to the standard criteria, individual project-based criteria may also be considered:

  • Artistic merit of past works of public art (if applicable)
  • Demonstrated ability of the artist to work with a committee and communicate with the larger community if requested
  • Track record with regard to budget and schedule adherence
  • The artwork's material, thematic, and stylistic enhancement of the larger Public Art collection
  • Accessibility of the artist’s work in relation to our education mission

Selection of artists and identification of existing art for purchase for public art projects are further guided by this Policy, Board policy, and State statute. When purchasing an existing work of art no interviews are held, but the CPASC applies the same standard set of criteria in their considerations and recommendation.

Upon approval of the recommended artist, the Public Art Curator negotiates an Artist Agreement between the selected Artist and the University including key points such as schedule, budget, and payment structure. This agreement has been standardized by the Office of General Counsel.

Creation and Installation

Concept Formation and Approval

Phase One begins with a meeting between the Artist and the CPASC during the Design Development phase of the building project. The Artist may meet with other members of the campus community in order to gather source material for the creative process. The Artist then proposes their Preliminary Ideas. The CPASC provides the Artist with reactions and suggestions. The Artist then proposes their Concept, based upon further development of the selected preliminary idea. During the Conceptual Development stage, the CPASC provides feedback on the Concept and the Public Art Curator applies a standard set of criteria to assist the CPASC and the University in evaluation of the Concept:

  • strength and quality of the proposed art concept and design;
  • degree to which the proposed artwork successfully expresses the unique conceptual and functional purpose of the facility and/or the site;
  • degree to which the art concept or execution involves or reflects the University community;
  • degree to which the artwork successfully addresses any technical or functional requirements;
  • feasibility in regard to budget, materials, maintenance, security, and fabrication/installation and deinstallation; 
  • durability of the artwork and the anticipated costs of maintenance and public safety.

The committee recommends approval of the Concept to the WAM director and VPUS.

Fabrication and Installation

Upon approval by the WAM director and the VPUS, a Notice to Proceed is sent to the Artist to begin Phase Two, optimally during the Construction Document phase of the building project. During this phase, the artwork Concept is refined and developed. The Public Art Curator works closely with the Artist to assure the continuing integrity of the artwork with regard to the criteria used in the Concept proposal evaluation. If any major departures from the approved Concept occur during this process, the Public Art Curator may convene the CPASC for further review.

A detailed fabrication and installation time schedule is prepared by the Artist to ensure that the artwork will be completed according to the agreement between the University and the Artist. A detailed cost estimate for fabrication and installation of the artwork is also prepared by the Artist to ensure that the artwork can be completed within the project budget. This estimate and the payment schedule are used to assure that the requests for payment, submitted by the Artist to the Public Art Curator for approval, are reasonable. Adjustments may be made in cost expectations and the payment schedule as Phase Two proceeds, through mutual agreement of the Artist and the Public Art Curator.

Installation of the artwork is coordinated through an installation plan prepared by the Artist and the Public Art Curator. The installation plan identifies the method to be used to attach and secure the artwork to the site. This requires careful coordination by the Public Art Curator, Capital Project Management (CPM) project manager, project architect, and University landscape architect (if applicable). The installation plan determines which party will be responsible for constructing a foundation or other necessary infrastructure for the artwork if one is required.

The installation plan also identifies a specific time schedule to accomplish the final installation of the artwork. This includes delivery of the artwork to the site, unloading and storage requirements, connection activities, and required parking or traffic management (if applicable). If any arrangements or adjustments are required by the University at the site, these are identified in the plan and the Public Art Curator coordinates all activities with Capital Project Management.

When the Artist notifies the Public Art Curator that the installation of the artwork is complete, an inspection is conducted of the artwork. It is determined whether all elements of the artwork as proposed are complete. Any deviations from what was presented in the artwork concept and subsequent development drawings and documents are identified and evaluated. The Public Art Curator reviews these changes with the CPM project manager and determines if they are acceptable. If not, adjustments and modifications are agreed to with the Artist. The Artist submits all further project documentation as identified in the Artist Agreement and when all, if any, artwork adjustments and modifications are complete the Artist submits a final request for payment. The Public Art Curator then issues a Final Acceptance of the artwork, which begins a two-year warranty period of monitoring the condition of the artwork in accordance with the Artist Agreement. If problems occur in the condition of the artwork during this period the Artist is contacted to make corrections.

Final Acceptance

All works of public art completed within the Public Art Program on the Twin Cities campus are presented to the WAM Accessions Committee to be accepted into the WAM collection. When the artwork is accepted into the collection a plaque (label) is prepared and installed at the artwork site identifying the artist and year of installation. 

Stewardship and Education


Along with accessioning comes the responsibility for proper stewardship of the art. The Public Art Curator monitors the condition of the entire public art collection on the Twin Cities campus to determine maintenance and conservation needs of each piece of art. When maintenance or conservation of an artwork is required, the Public Art Curator facilitates an agreement with a qualified conservator to conduct the work. The Public Art Curator determines the most qualified conservators for each separate project. The conservators are contracted as outside vendors. No maintenance or conservation of the public art collection on the Twin Cities campus is allowed by any other University employee or vendor. 


A public art website is maintained for all artworks created within the Public Art Program on the Twin Cities campus. When a new artwork is completed it is added to the public art website in order to assure that the education mission of the State of Minnesota’s investment in public art is enhanced. This website updating activity is considered an important part of maintenance of the collection.