The University has many works of fine art on display. The art on campus includes memorials to individuals, groups and events important in University and community history and tradition. Traditional and abstract pieces in a variety of media reflect the diversity and values of the University and the surrounding community, and have been placed throughout the campus for public display.

The preservation, enhancement, diversification and growth of the exterior and interior public art collection on campus is important to the University. The University welcomes and encourages proposals for gifts of art that will enhance the campus setting and complement its buildings, grounds and natural features. Appropriate gifts beautify the campus, encourage appreciation of fine art in a variety of media and styles, offer enjoyment to the campus community and general public, and memorialize important aspects of University tradition and campus culture. 

Individual applicants are encouraged to consider and bring forward opportunities and suggestions for improving the outdoor art on campus. Departments planning new buildings or facilities are encouraged to consider the inclusion of outdoor art or suitable sites for exterior and interior art in their building or facility designs. Historically, the campus art collection has been expanded primarily through the initiative of individuals and groups that care about the physical beauty of the campus and have made generous and often unsolicited offers or donations of art to the University.

The University has policies and procedures for the consideration of art gift proposals. These are necessary to ensure that permanent art installations complement and respect the campus character, are appropriate to its setting, history, traditions, culture and mission, and do not impose unexpected or unsupportable burdens on the campus (such as a frequent need for maintenance and repair, or unreasonable security costs).

Until the review process is complete, applicants should not formally commission any work or make any binding commitments, financial or otherwise, that assume acceptance of a work of art by the University or installation at a particular site.

If a work of art is being offered to, or sponsored by, a particular campus department or employee, neither the department nor employee will make any implied or binding commitments on behalf of the University until the review is complete. This specifically includes any commitments as to whether the University will accept the art, where a piece of art might be sited, and/or how accompanying plaques might be worded.

Review Process

It is important for prospective applicants to engage with the UCPA at an early stage. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss tentative proposals and art ideas with the Office of Development in the Division of University Advancement prior to formal review. This discussion should take place before making any major investment of funds in developing a detailed proposal. Proposals need not be in complete form for this early discussion.

The UCPA will be comprised of 11 members, including representation from:

  • Department of Facilities Services representative
  • Two Department of Art faculty members, one from 3D media and one from 2D media (serving two-year appointments)
  • One Faculty representative at large (serving two-year appointment) selected by the Committee on Committees,
  • Safety and Risk Management representative
  • Division of University Advancement representative
  • Dean of the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Director, University Art Gallery
  • A community member familiar with the commissioning of public art
  • A staff representative (serving two-year appointment)
  • A student representative familiar with the arts (serving a one-year appointment)
  • President’s Office liaison (non-voting)

The UCPA welcomes and encourages the opportunity to collaborate with potential applicants and/or sponsoring departments in helping to define and shape art proposals. Early, informal consultation provides the opportunity to craft proposals that are most likely to move quickly and smoothly through the formal review process and meet both campus and applicant needs and interests.   

Applicants are specifically discouraged from conducting design competitions, or other extensive art or site selection or planning processes, without first making the UCPA aware that an art proposal is being considered. Formal art proposals are presented to the UCPA for consideration. The UCPA involves several stages of review for the proposed artwork, site placement and accompanying plaque and then presents its recommendation to the president for final approval.  

It is only after this multi-stage process is complete that art will be formally accepted. Modifications to proposals may be requested at any stage. The following elements of consideration will shape the committee’s review of proposed installations of external public art:

  • Concept/content
  • Craftsmanship/technical skill
  • Composition and Principles of Design, including: line, shape/form, color, value, texture, space, pattern, rhythm/movement, proportion, balance, unity, emphasis
  • Creativity/originality
  • Communicative properties
  • Ethics
  • Historical and cultural relevance
  • Attractiveness

Requests from Campus Entities for Hosting Art

An inquiry may arise from a department or office within the campus community about finding solutions to adorn a selected space or wall at their location. The campus entity may have identified a location for a mural to submit for approval, but may be in need of solutions for the actual art to complete their proposal for submission to UPCA. In such cases, the Office of Development may recommend that the campus entity seek consultation from the Art Department to help find solutions for presentation of concept imagery for inclusion in their proposal to UCPA. The Art Department may assist the Office of Development in identifying existing artwork or artist/s within the campus to support the proposal.

Step-By-Step Review Procedures and Issues

Proposals ready for review will require submission by application online. Application reviews occur twice in the academic year. Deadlines for application are at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The UCPA will attempt to present the results of its decision to the applicant by the end of the semester applied, though the timeline for the review and approval of a proposal may be dependent on the complexity of the proposal. The committee is composed of various University staff, students and community. The UCPA welcomes and encourages the opportunity to collaborate with potential applicants in helping to define and shape art proposals. Early, informal consultation provides the opportunity to craft proposals that are most likely to move quickly and smoothly through the formal review process and meet both campus and applicant needs and interests.

Step 1

Prospective applicants should contact the Office of Development in the Division of University Advancement. The Office of Development can provide advice on the schedule and procedures of the University Committee for Public Art (UCPA) and other review bodies. The Office of Development, with consultation from the Art Department, can help identify any preliminary issues about the proposal that may be of concern, and help the applicant in his or her preparation of a presentation to UCPA.

The applicant should be prepared to present information about the artwork, including materials, concept and purpose, artist biography and date of creation of the piece. Proposals should also address the following elements, if applicable:

  • Why was the piece commissioned or created?
  • Has it been previously located in installations elsewhere?
  • Has it won awards or critical notice?
  • Are there previous owners of significance?
  • What place and significance does the art have in the overall portfolio of the artist?

If available, provide an artist portfolio, brochure or samples of similar work. These will be useful to the UCPA in evaluating and understanding the style and technique of the artist and the proposed work of art.

Information about the applicant(s) including his or her name, background(s), any association with the University and why the particular piece of art is being offered to the campus. 

Proposals identifying specific campus placement for a proposed artwork should include a justification for the site in question. Proposals are not required to include reference to specific site locations.

Proposals should include proposed design and wording for any plaque intended to accompany the artwork. Any approved plaque should be modest in size and placed near the relevant artwork. It should include the title of the art, date of creation, media and artist’s name. It may include a brief memorial, inscription, quotation, donor name or other information appropriate to the art and setting.

Proposals should include a description of any technical issues related to materials, care or installation needs, such as hanging arrangements, bases, pedestals or footings, necessary environmental conditions, or conditions that might affect the artwork (e.g., excessive shade, sunlight or moisture).

Proposals should also include clear photographs of the art, or an illustration if the proposed piece is not yet fabricated. If the piece is a sculpture, photographs or illustrations from more than one perspective are desirable. Illustrations should accurately depict the dimensions and proposed appearance of the work of art. Illustrations should realistically depict permanent landscape surroundings of the art (particularly mature trees) if the art is proposed for a newly constructed or re-landscaped facility or location. In some cases, the UCPA may request creation of a scale model of the art for further review, however this is not necessary for the initial review and not necessary for every project.

While a proposed work of art may be modified during the approval process or may not be fully conceived at the beginning of the process, it is extremely important that campus review bodies be provided with complete descriptive materials so they can make informed decisions. A final judgment is difficult if illustrations do not show accurate details of the artwork and its context. 

If the work of art already exists and is located near the campus, the UCPA or its representatives may arrange to view the actual piece.

Step 2

A presentation is made to the UCPA. The committee is composed of University administrators, faculty and staff from a range of disciplines and departments, and a community representative.

The UCPA membership includes faculty with professional expertise in art, art history, landscape design, architecture and/or planning who are experienced in making reasoned aesthetic critiques of art proposals. The UCPA applies its criteria in reviewing the artwork’s relationship to proposed campus locations, and in determining its desirability for the campus. The committee also assesses technical and aesthetic issues such as installation, site design and context, particularly in regard to siting, installation and maintenance. 

The UCPA will also evaluate the durability of the artwork. Unfortunately, the University does not have the funding to repair extensive weather damage, deterioration or vandalism to outdoor art pieces. If a proposed art gift seems especially susceptible to any of these conditions it may be declined, or the UCPA may recommend that the gift be placed in an area with restricted access or be given to the University Art Gallery where it can be housed securely. Works of art with moving parts must be carefully evaluated for their potential for breakage and future needs for repair.

It is important to include information in the proposal regarding whether or not the applicant can pay all the costs of fabrication, delivery and installation of the art, as well as any accompanying label or plaque. This is an important consideration since the campus cannot count on having funding available to purchase art or subsidize exterior and interior art installation. Art gift proposals are sometimes structured as partnerships between the applicant, who contributes the art, and the sponsoring department, which covers installation costs. Details of this arrangement need to be included in any proposal submitted for UCPA review.

In making recommendations, the UCPA considers the surrounding buildings and landscaping, their current and traditional character and uses, and the nature of the work of art. Conflicting uses for proposed sites are taken into account. If the preferred site is likely to be disrupted by nearby construction work or be built upon in the foreseeable future, an alternative location or postponement of the installation will be recommended.

The University generally prefers to site new works of art in locations that are accessible to viewing by the general campus population, visitors and those with physical disabilities so they can be broadly appreciated and enjoyed. Exterior and interior art pieces must also be carefully sited to minimize safety concerns, to avoid conflicts with underground utility lines, and to consider vehicle, pedestrian or wheelchair circulation.

Stanislaus State welcomes the addition of exterior and interior art — especially works that can make a new and special contribution to previously overlooked portions of the campus landscape. 

The UCPA encourages applicants to be open-minded and flexible in considering sites throughout the campus where exterior and interior art pieces may be installed and takes this into account when making its recommendations.

Following the review and consideration of the presentation or written proposal, the UCPA will make a recommendation to modify, accept or decline the proposal based on a majority vote of the members of the committee.

Step 3

The UCPA sends a written recommendation to the University president. After reviewing the proposal and committee’s recommendation, the president may approve, disapprove or modify the committee’s recommendation, or return the matter to the UCPA with specific questions or requests for modification. The president has final approval. Once final written approval is in place, a fully executed applicant agreement will be required before the project can begin.

Other Matters and Issues to Consider


Applicants need to be mindful of the review process given the complexity of the proposal, and should carefully coordinate with committee staff to make sure that there is sufficient time allowed for the review process. The committee will have scheduled meeting times throughout the year.  

Proposals that are made during the summer months may be deferred until the fall semester because committees generally do not meet during the summer. Actual installation may take longer to plan and schedule and must be arranged to avoid conflicts with other campus construction projects and campus events.


A permanent plaque accompanies most exterior and interior public art pieces. Plaques typically include the name or title of the art, the date of its creation, the date of its installation on the campus and the name of the artist. Wording must be both descriptive and concise. Some plaques include brief memorial inscriptions, a line of poetry or quotation, or other wording appropriate to the art, donor and setting. Permanent plaques should be modest in size. The plaque should be complementary to the work of art, rather than competing with it for attention.


The University Committee for Public Art will consider two-year and five-year loans, each renewable. The selection process will take into consideration size and strength of the artwork, whether or not it would be a good fit for the University and the object’s susceptibility to damage or vandalism. Selected artists may receive a stipend to cover or assist with the costs of moving and installing the artwork and refurbishment when it is returned. Additional manpower for installation may be provided by the University. 

Selected artists must be willing to enter into an Art Loan Agreement with the University. Artists may enter into two-year or five-year loan agreements. Loans may be considered for renewal by the UCPA. Artworks are to be removed within one month of the closing date of a loan agreement.

To be eligible for exhibition and loan, artists must own the rights to the artwork, which must be available for the duration of the agreed exhibition period. Exterior sculpture must be ready to set on 8 feet by 8 feet cement pads. The installation method for sculpture should be welded tabs or a similar easy install method.  If the exhibit is outdoors and open to the public, certain requirements must be met in order for a sculpture to be considered for display. Fragile or dangerous works will not be accepted. Artwork must be constructed of durable materials that will withstand year round weather.

Artists are responsible for transportation of the artwork to and from the installation site. The artwork must be delivered in exhibition-ready condition. The University will supervise installation of the work, and will insure the artwork for the duration of the exhibit.

Artist’s responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transportation and delivery of the artwork to the site
  • Removal of the artwork from the site, and transportation of the artwork away from the site
  • Costs and expenses of transportation, delivery, installation and removal of the artwork
  • Artwork maintenance, including costs and expenses associated with maintenance 
  • The University will:
  • Provide and maintain an identification plaque
  • Promote the installation on the University website
  • Provide a stipend to help defray costs

At the conclusion of the loan agreement, based on mutual agreement, one of the following will apply: 

  • Stanislaus State and the artist agree to continue the loan for an additional two (2) years
  • Artist removes artwork
  • Artist (or third party) donates sculpture to University
  • Artist sells artwork to University or third party


The University cannot guarantee that a work of art will remain in a specific location or remain permanently on the campus. The campus landscape is an evolving, active environment. It is not possible to predict every future need for building sites or landscape alterations, and the committee also recognizes that the passage of time can have an impact on how the public views a piece of public art. Contingent on stipulations contained in specific loan or applicant agreements, once the University accepts a work of art for an exterior or interior site, the campus will endeavor to keep the art in an appropriate setting on campus. The University will seek to contact surviving donors/artists for consultation if the artwork must be moved or can no longer be retained by the University.

Ownership / Relocation

Unless a special condition is expressly requested by the applicant, and accepted by the UCPA through the review process, all exterior and interior art installations on the campus become the property of Stanislaus State. Stanislaus State reserves the right to relocate or dispose of artwork at any time.

Individual works of art may become associated by time and tradition with a particular department, unit or activity on the campus. On occasion, relocation of departments or programs may result in requests for relocation of related art. However, no individual department or unit may unilaterally alter or relocate works of exterior and interior art without review by the UCPA and president. The preferences of individual departments, as well as the interests of the University in the overall improvement and enhancement of campus landscape and facilities will be considered.

Decommissioning Policy


To ensure that the decommissioning of works of art is governed by careful procedures.


Because disposal of artworks is generally irrevocable, decommissioning should be a deliberate procedure.  It is the intent of the University not to dispose of works simply because the original aesthetics are not popular, nor to dispose of works whose worth might not yet be recognized.


  • “Acquisition” means the inclusion of an artwork in the University’s collection, whether the acquisition was by commissioning, purchase, donation or any other means.
  • “Decommissioning” means the removal of an artwork from the permanent University public art collection.
  • “Disposal” means the cessation of the ownership and possession of an artwork by the University.

Criteria for Decommissioning a Work of Art:

Work of Art (“Work”) may be considered for decommissioning if one or more of the following conditions apply:

  • It has physically deteriorated, that is, the physical condition of the Work is no longer of an acceptable quality;
  • It is a duplicate, or is considered “excess”, in a large holding of work of that type or of that artist(s);
  • It is fraudulent or not an authentic Work;
  • It possesses faults of workmanship or materials, that are un-repairable;
  • It requires excessive or unreasonable maintenance;
  • It is damaged irreparably, or to an extent where the repair is unreasonable or impractical;
  • It represents a threat to the public safety;
  • A suitable place for display no longer exists;
  • The Work is not, or is only rarely displayed;
  • The Work is stolen;
  • A written request from the artist(s) has been received that seeks removal of the Work, return of the Work to the artist, or extensive repair of the Work.

Procedures for Removal:

  • The University must authorize any relocation or removal of Work;
  • When a Work is to be removed for relocation or repair, only authorized representatives of the University are to handle the Work;
  • In the event that a Work is significantly damaged, stolen or completely destroyed, the UCPA will be notified. If appropriate, the University Police Department will be contacted;
  • Decommissioning procedures shall be held in the context of a meeting of the UCPA;
  • The artist(s) whose work is being considered for decommissioning will be notified by reasonable means and shall be invited to speak at the meeting of the UCPA called to address such decommissioning; and
  • The UCPA shall prepare a report prior to the consideration of the request for decommissioning of a Work, including;
    a. Reasons for the proposed decommissioning;
    b. Review by the legal department;
    c. Acquisition method and cost;
    d. Informed estimate of the current value of the Work;
    e. Public and agency feedback on the Work; and
    f. Suggested and alternate courses of action.

Courses of Action:

The UCPA may recommend any of the following courses of action as a result of a decommissioning review.  The UCPA shall not be limited to these courses of action, but may suggest new methods, as may be appropriate, given by a particular set of circumstances:

  • Relocate the Work;
  • Sell or trade the Work;
  • Offer the artist(s) the opportunity to buy back the Work at the current appraised value, cost of appraisal to be borne by artist;
  • Advertise the sale of the Work by auction or other public sale; or
  • Dispose of the Work or remainder of the Work in an appropriate and practical way when other options have not resulted in the disposal of the Work.

Proceeds of Sale:

Any net proceeds from disposal shall be returned to an appropriate Public Art Program account to acquire (through the standard public art processes) or maintain other Works in support of the University’s collection.

Compliancy with Laws:

Disposal by any means of any University owned art shall conform to legal requirements.

This document is based on ideas and language used in the UC Berkeley Policy and Procedures for Outdoor Art, the University of Wyoming Public Art Policy, and the City of Albuquerque Public Art Policy.