Policies Under Review:   CAP-180   University Art Acquisition And Oversight Policy (comments due by 07/12/2018)

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CHAPTER 100: University Organization and Campuswide Policies



Cal Poly’s Campus Administrative Policy development process includes a 30-day open review and comment period for new and significantly revised policies. This provides an opportunity for the University community to consider and respond to policy proposals before they are in effect. The policy owner will review and consider all feedback received prior to finalizing the particular policy and associated documents.

We encourage you to provide your input, both positive and constructive, by emailing cap@calpoly.edu. Feel free to make comments or changes on the following word document as well and attach to your email.

Download 180 University Art Acquisition And Oversight Policy

180 University Art Acquisition And Oversight Policy

The University Art Acquisition and Oversight Policy serves as the campuswide guiding policy for the stewardship of campus art collections and authorizes the establishment of a University standing committee, the Art Acquisition Committee (AAC).


180.1 Collection Scope, Art Acquisition and Principles

180.1.1 University Collection Scope

The collection serves as a resource to support teaching and scholarly activities at Cal Poly and to enrich the cultural life and aesthetics of the University. Through acquisition, display and preservation, the collection benefits the Cal Poly community of students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as the community of the Central Coast. In order to best meet these goals and serve these communities, the collection focuses on the following collecting areas:

180.1.1.1 Permanent Collections

As the campus continues to strengthen and develop its art collection in conjunction with the University’s polytechnic identity, a major focus of the collection will be public works of art that reflect the scholarship of the University. The collection encompasses artwork in all forms, including but not limited to paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, architectural elements and installations.

180.1.1.2 Permanent Outdoor Collections

The Outdoor Collections enhance the campus setting and complement its buildings, grounds and natural features and include traditional and abstract artworks acquired primarily through donations, consisting of art installations, architectural elements, outdoor sculptures and models located throughout the University.

180.1.1.3 Legacy Collections

The Legacy Collections have been acquired primarily through past donations, and the University remains committed to preserving and, as appropriate, displaying these collections. Certain artworks from the Legacy Collections feature artistic practices and/or content and subject matter that are outside the University Collection Scope and Art Acquisition Criteria and necessitate curatorial analysis and thoughtful interpretation.

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180.2 Methods of Acquisition

Additions to the collection acquired by donation (through bequests, outright gift of property or cash designated for the purchase of art) are coordinated with the University Development division and reviewed by the AAC.

Additions to the collection may also be acquired through commissions, purchases and various other means, which may transfer ownership to the University or to its auxiliary organizations such as the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), the Cal Poly Foundation or the Cal Poly Corporation (CPC). This applies to any artwork purchased with University funds that is valued over $500.00.

In advance of acquisition, the known or associated costs for short- and/or long-term general maintenance, restoration, insurance, preservation and/or conservation must be evaluated. Based on its evaluation, the AAC may recommend that acceptance of artwork be contingent upon the donation or allocation of additional funds for installation and/or storage, maintenance needs, and/or long-term care and preservation as required by the California Preservation Act. The AAC, in conjunction with University Development, may also suggest as a condition of acceptance that the donor or project proponent establish an endowment fund for the artwork.

The capacity to support the cost of insurance, preservation, maintenance and other related costs for the management of the artwork will be considered. Gifts should come without restrictions, and major gifts should be accompanied by endowed funds to assist in the cost of insurance, preservation, maintenance and other related costs for the management of the artwork. Such considerations must not be so rigid as to preclude extraordinary opportunities. See the Gift-In-Kind Policy (CAP 711) for relevant University guidelines pertaining to gifts.

Project proponents and/or departments purchasing permanent works of art should identify funding sources to assist in the cost of insurance, preservation, maintenance and other related costs for the management of the artwork.

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180.3 Acquisition Principles

The acquisition of valuable artwork can present difficult and sometimes conflicting ethical, legal and management questions for the University. The following principles have common application to the acquisition of artwork intended for the University's permanent collections and should be applied as circumstances require.

The University has a principal obligation to ensure the conservation, preservation and security of artworks that are in its possession or under its control. Acquisitions should be made only after the costs of acquisition, conservation, preservation, storage and display have been identified and funded.

A limited number of works of art are part of a cultural patrimony, and these should be separated from their culture of origin only under extraordinary circumstances. The University will recognize as part of a cultural patrimony those works that are indispensable to a people in understanding their origins and culture.

The University deplores the unscientific excavation of sites, the dismemberment of monuments for illicit sale, and the resulting loss of cultural, historical and scientific information to the people of the world. No work will be acquired if its acquisition will encourage the future unscientific separation of art from its historical or archaeological context. Specific Art Acquisition Criteria shall be applied when considering collection acquisition opportunities.

Artwork should be safe to the University community, passersby, curious spectators of all ages, and the environment as a whole. Works and installations will be reviewed for Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and seismic compliance as well as other aspects of code as relevant.

Proposals for physical memorials honoring deceased students, faculty, staff or friends of the University, which include a commissioned artwork component, will be presented to the Art Acquisition Committee. Findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Campus Landscape Committee for further development and implementation.

Since 1924, the Mustang has been a symbol for Cal Poly and has been depicted in a variety of art forms and styles. Several of the Mustang statues have become well-known parts of the campus landscape. The campus does not discourage donation of art or sculptural representations of mustangs, but is also actively interested in art of all types.

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180.3.1 Acceptance

Legal title must be assigned to the appropriate University entity, the California Polytechnic State University, ASI, the Cal Poly Foundation or the CPC. An accession record will be generated by the campus curator to document holder of legal title.

The campus Gift Acceptance Committee and the AAC must approve all gifts of artwork, archives, literary collections, historic papers, and other creative gifts, other than those accepted with the intent to market and convert to cash. In addition to the Gift-In-Kind policies and procedures, the Acceptance Criteria Procedures should also be considered for gifts/donations to the University Art Collection.

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180.4 Loan Policy

180.4.1 Outgoing Loans

In special circumstances the University may be asked to loan artwork to another institution. Before any loan is approved, the loan arrangements (including shipping and insurance, to be provided by borrower) and environmental and security controls at the borrowing institution will be thoroughly considered by the University. The approval of any loan is contingent upon an examination of each work of art in question to ascertain whether it can physically withstand the preparation, packing, shipping, and handling that will be required to affect the loan. Loan requests are reviewed by the AAC and approved by the provost.

180.4.2 Campus Loans

Loans are generally not made to members of the Cal Poly community for decorative purposes in private campus offices.

180.4.3 Incoming Loans

Temporary incoming loans of material for exhibition or study may be accepted from individuals or organizations for relatively short periods of a fixed duration. Incoming loans must be covered by a written agreement that includes the details for duration of loan, placement, security, insurance (provided by lender) and return of the artwork when the loan is over.

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180.5 Relocation of Artwork

In keeping with widely-held professional ethics and related codes of conduct for the collection, preservation, and stewardship of public artwork and related projects, the University is committed to preserving site-specific artworks in their original places (in situ) whenever possible. However, the University cannot provide an absolute guarantee that artwork will remain in a single location or remain permanently on the campus. The campus landscape is an evolving, active environment, and it is not possible to predict every future need for building sites or landscape alterations. Relocation of Artwork Criteria are outlined in AAC procedures.

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180.6 Deaccession Policy

On rare occasions, the removal of artwork from the University’s collection may be warranted. Before deaccessioning artwork, a thorough review of the terms of the original gift should be made. The AAC reviews all requests for deaccession and makes recommendations to President, provost, and the University Advancement division for approval. Appropriate deaccession methods will be employed as outlined in the AAC procedures.

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180.7 Insurance

The project proponent, campus department or division stewarding the artwork is responsible for paying insurance premiums.

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180.8 Policy Implementation

180.8.1 Library Facilitation

Management of and facilitating access to the University Art Collection is part of the portfolio of the Robert E. Kennedy Library resources. The library provides educational access to the collection, coordinates art acquisition proposals, and oversees storage and preservation of the collections in order to ensure that the program remains in compliance with policy and meets the mission and needs of the University.

180.8.2 Art Acquisition Committee Objective

Working with the campus curator, the AAC serves as the lead advisory group guiding the campus in the development of the University Art Collections. The AAC considers the artistic merit and adherence to the University Art Acquisition and Oversight Policy regarding artwork proposed for acquisition. The AAC recommends policy, guidelines and procedures on the oversight, use, display and other implementation of the University Art Collections, including collecting scope, acquisition, management and deaccession of artwork.

180.8.3 Art Acquisition Committee Functions

The AAC shall review and recommend art acquisitions for acceptance into the University’s permanent collection of art based on a clearly delineated set of procedures and shall serve in an advisory capacity in consultation to the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs regarding possible costs associated with care and control of artwork. See the AAC functions, meetings and membership on the University Standing Committees webpage.

180.8.4 Art Acquisition Committee Terms of Office

TNon ex-officio members serve a two-year term, except for student members, who serve a one-year term; members at large serve on a per project basis. All members of the AAC are voting members. The provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs appoints the chair, with the consent of the President.

180.8.5 Art Acquisition Committee Ethical Obligations and Conflicts of Interest

No member of AAC may profit financially or receive favors from any transaction involving the sale, resale, gift, loan, deaccession or exchange of any artwork to the University.

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References for CAP 180:

  1. Date approved by the President: TBD
  2. Effective Date: CAP 146 March 26, 2015
  3. Responsible Department/Office(s): Robert E. Kennedy Library and Office of the Provost
  4. Revision History: CAM 172.36 September 2000 with edited revision July 2003 and June 2006, Administrative Bulletin 96-2 November 26, 1996, CAP 146 March 26, 2015
  5. Related University Policies, Procedures, Manuals and/or Documents:
    1. President’s Office University Organization
    2. University CAP Gift Acceptance Policy
    3. Gift-in-Kind Acceptance Procedures
    4. CSU Policy Executive Order 276
    5. Policies and Guidelines for the Acquisition, Loan and Temporary Display of artwork for the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo
    6. Campus Landscape Committee
    7. Property Control Procedures
    8. 3150.02 Administration of University Property
    9. CAP 719 Physical Memorials
    10. University Art Collection online catalog
  6. Laws, Regulations, and/or Codes of practice referred to herein or related to this policy:
    1. Resale Royal Act, California Civil Code §986
    2. California Preservation Act, California Civil Code §987
    3. UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
    4. College Art Association Standards and Guidelines on Public Art Works
    5. The General Services Administration’s Fine Arts Policies and Procedures