Public Art Policy

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Approved By:
Effective Date:
Revised Date:
Faculty and Academic Affairs
Policy Owner:
Director of Galleries
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This public art policy pertains to permanent works of art that are or will be located in public areas of campus, whether inside or outside of College buildings. Such objects will be considered part of the permanent collection and be accessioned into it.

Policy Statement


SUNY Geneseo’s Public Art Policy supports the permanent collection and affirms the College’s commitment to create and sustain an aesthetically engaging and inclusive environment. It expands understanding and appreciation of art through site-specific works situated on the grounds of the campus or within campus facilities. Such works of art will enhance the quality and beauty of public spaces for the entire Geneseo community.

This policy initiates and provides uniform and consistent procedures for public art proposals seeking approval from the President, following review by the Public Art Committee for the selection, acquisition, siting, deaccession, and maintenance of public art; policy guidelines aid in the coordination and collaboration among stakeholders regarding any public art projects.


This policy serves to support and enhance the SUNY Geneseo mission that is dedicated to learning.



All public art proposals must be reviewed by the PAC and approved by the President. The PAC considers the mission of the college, its strategic plan and initiatives, the programmatic context, and the environment. When considering the appropriateness of the work of art PAC also considers public safety, possible maintenance challenges, and stated donor intent. PAC and other stakeholders strive for the highest professional quality of art that fosters inclusiveness, promotes respect, learning, and dialogue.

Public Art Committee (PAC)

The PAC will be chaired by the Vice Provost and consist of the following voting members: the Vice Provost, Chairperson of the Department of Art History, the Director of Galleries, the Assistant Provost for Finance and Facilities, the Director of Planning and Construction, the Vice President for College Advancement, the Director of Student Life, and a representative of the Commission on Diversity and Community, a student representative who will be appointed by the Provost from a pool of no less than three nominees identified by Student Association. The following will serve as ex-officio non-voting members of the committee: the Chief Diversity Officer, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Vice President for Student and Campus Life, and the Director of Sustainability.

The responsibilities of the PAC will be:

  • To receive and review proposals for public art and provide recommendations to the President regarding the approval, modification, and/or rejection of proposed public art projects.
  • To provide guidance to anyone seeking to install works of public art on campus including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, artists, and members of the community.
  • Oversight of annual condition report of artwork.

Guidelines for Selecting, Acquiring, Commissioning, and Siting Public Art

Public art objects must meet the criteria below in order to be considered by the committee:

  • The work of art should display a high level of artistic quality (a level of professional standing) that supports and enhances the academic and creative missions of SUNY Geneseo.
  • The work of art should enhance the physical and aesthetic environment of the campus.
  • The message of the work of art should be consistent with current standards and policies of the SUNY Geneseo community.
  • The work of art should enrich the cultural, intellectual, and scholarly life of the College.
  • The work of art should inspire contemplation, reflection, and dialogue.
  • There should be an appropriate site available on the campus.
  • The work of art should be structurally sound and present no environmental or safety  hazards. 
  • The work of art should be durable, require minimal maintenance, and have a life expectancy of 20 years or more.
  • There should be an external funding source available to cover all costs of acquisition, purchase, shipping, installation, wall-to-wall insurance, appraisal, and maintenance (all of these potential costs should be determined prior to acceptance).
  • The donor of public art should provide evidence of clear title prior to the College’s acceptance of any art.
  • Siting decisions should be guided by a thoughtful study of the best fit between a work of art and the campus which should include such considerations as appropriateness, visibility, and accessibility.

Maintenance of Public Art

The Director of Planning and Construction and the Director of Galleries will approve all siting and installation decisions for public works of art including murals. Facilities Services will maintain outdoor public art including regular cleanings as indicated by the American Alliance of Museums’ best practices. Assessing the condition of the work of art is covered by the collections management policy. In case a work of art requires conservation, the Director of Galleries will recommend an art conservator.

Acquisition, Ownership and Deaccessioning

These issues are clarified in the existing Collections Management Policy.

All gifts of artwork, as well as funds intended for the acquisition and maintenance or public art, must be received in accordance with SUNY Procedures.

The College has the authority to remove or relocate any object of public art in consultation with the Public Art Committee. No object is deaccessioned and disposed of by transfer, exchange, sale or destruction, or in any way removed from the permanent collection without careful review by the Gallery Director and documentation of clear title. 

Additions to the criteria for the deaccessioning of public works of art include the following:

  • The artwork endangers public safety.
  • The College, in consultation with the Public Art Committee, seeks to replace the artwork with a work of more significance by the same artist.

An annual report of Deaccessioning activities is required at the close of each fiscal year.


Frequency of Review and Update

Every 2 Years

Periodic Review Completed:  


Signed By  
Cynthia Hawkins

Cynthia Hawkins
Director of Galleries

Date of Approval