Policy and Procedures | Webster University

Policy and Procedures

This council's role is to:

  • Review proposed art donations, acquisitions, commissions, and de-accessions.
  • Be responsible for maintenance, placement, rotations, sales, lending, and other issues concerning the University's art collection.
  • Serve as the decision-making body on issues related to university art and formulate recommendations to the President on acquisitions, deaccessions, and siting of art.
  • For artwork that is new to Webster University, this committee will work with the Gift Acceptance Committee.

The policies below address acquisition, acceptance, siting, and deaccessioning of art at Webster University. Public Art at Webster University is considered to comprise permanent or long-term art in public spaces on campus, including all outdoor campus space and interior public spaces such as lobbies, social spaces, etc. Exhibits of the May and Hunt Galleries are exempt from review by the Webster University Art Council (WUAC).


The WUAC is advisory to the president on public art. All proposed public art and its proposed site must be reviewed by the WUAC and approved by the president. In particular, WUAC shall coordinate public art placements in new University buildings and remodeled University spaces.


Campus Public Art

All proposed works of public art must be reviewed and recommended by the WUAC. The Committee reviews all proposed works of public art and forwards its recommendation for or against to the President for final decision. Because many works of public art offer both logistical and technical challenges, particularly in their impact on facility issues, landscaping, hardscaping, and pedestrian traffic, Facilities Operations must also be involved.


Ownership and acquisition terms will be determined by the Gift Acceptance Committee following recommendations by the WUAC.

The University, in its sole discretion, will determine whether to review and accept or reject any gift or proposed artwork, and is under no obligation to accommodate class schedules or public events to review and/or accept any proposed artwork.

All gifts or proposed artwork must be sponsored by a University unit (college, department, or other administrative or academic unit of the University) who will act as the "sponsoring unit." The "sponsoring unit" shall be responsible for developing the proposal and submit forms needed by the WUAC.

Review and Acceptance

  • All donation inquiries for the Permanent Art Collection should be directed to the Chair of the WUAC.
  • The WUAC is responsible for recommendations regarding donated art work.
  • The WUAC shall make recommendations to the President of the University via the chair of the committee.
  • Artwork that is accepted for a specific building or department will be displayed at that site unless building renovation or the work's condition requires relocation. The University reserves the right to find a new site for the work and will consult the donor.
    • WUAC shall consult with the Office of Facilities Operations regarding installation or other costs associated with siting of art.
  • All costs for the installation, removal, and site restoration associated with artwork shall be the sole responsibility of the sponsoring unit. Additionally, the University may require proof of additional insurance as part of the proposed artwork.
  • Approval of any artwork must be in writing. The sponsoring unit will be responsible for ensuring that the written approval includes the period of installation, all conditions imposed by any body or individual during the review and approval process, and the appropriate terms under this section.
  • Intellectual Property: In recognition of the University campuses and University-owned research centers as public educational spaces, prior to the installation of any artwork, the artist/designer will grant to the University on royalty-free, unrestricted, nonexclusive, and permanent basis:
    • The right to display the artwork;
    • The right to reproduce images of the artwork (including in all media now known or later developed, digital or otherwise, and including the Internet and the World Wide Web); and
    • The right to display and distribute reproductions of the artwork. The artist/designer will agree that the artwork may be photographed by the public while on exhibition.
  • The donor's clear title to donated art and authenticity of the work shall be confirmed prior to acceptance.

It is understood that except where stated otherwise, these policies are intended as guidelines, and that flexibility must be maintained because some gift situations can be complex, and decisions only made after careful consideration of a number of interrelated factors. Therefore, in some instances the University's Gift Acceptance Committee will be convened to weigh in on a particular artwork donation and reach a decision on whether or not to solicit and/or accept it.

Restrictions to Acquisitions

The following considerations may lead to declining a donation or recommendation against acquisitions. In either case, the final decision lays with the President of Webster University.

  • Uncertain legal title and provenance.
  • There is a condition of perpetual exhibition or ownership.
  • There are unreasonable limits on deaccessioning.
  • There are unreasonable conditions for special care or storage.

Criteria for Accession

The Webster University Art Council applies a set of criteria in evaluating works of art that are offered to Webster University. These criteria comprise, without particular order:

  • The aesthetic significance of work of public art
  • The significance of the artist or artists
  • The uniqueness of the work of art, including such factors as originality, authenticity and provenance
  • The contribution an individual work of art can be expected to make to and alignment with the University's academic mission, as well as to the existing collection of public art
  • Appropriateness to site, including (for outdoor sites) appropriateness to the site's adjacent architecture and landscaping
  • The appropriate use of resources, for placement and maintenance
  • The University's ability to assure the proper long-term care of the art work, including safety, security, and conservation
  • Condition of the object

Accession Procedures

WUAC welcomes proposals from faculty, students, staff, and administrators, individually or as a unit. Proposals from individuals or organizations from outside of the University should be made in collaboration with a University partner. (Not all steps listed below are required for each proposal)

  • All proposals for new pieces of public art should be made initially to the chair of the WUAC. Based on the nature of the request, ample time should be allowed for the council to review the request (at least three months for permanent installations).
  • The chair of the WUAC will make an initial review of the proposal to determine if it is ready to go to the council for consideration.
  • In cases where the request relates to outdoor siting (including on the facade of a University building), the chair of the WUAC will notify Facilities Operations for their input.
  • Once the chair of the WUAC has determined that the request is ready for the council's consideration, it will go forward at the next available WUAC meeting. The chair may send the request to the council electronically or via hard copy.
  • The council will weigh proposals against criteria established in the Guidelines for Public Art. Typically, one of three outcomes is achieved:
    • The council recommends acceptance of the work, and the chair makes such a recommendation in writing to the President.
    • The council recommends that the work not be accepted, and the chair makes that recommendation in writing to the President.
    • The council determines that the proposed work is not yet ready for recommendation (for or against) and goes back to the requesting unit for further information or with requests for revision (e.g. changes to the work, the design, the concept, or the proposed site). In this event, it is the responsibility of the requesting unit to proceed as it wishes to seek to resolve the requests coming back from the council. Once these needs are met, the unit may come back to the council at any time with a revised request.
  • Once the President has communicated her decision on the recommendation back to the chair of WUAC, who will convey that determination to the requesting unit, Facilities Operations, and the WUAC.
  • Typically from this point, logistical matters relating to proposals ultimately accepted by the President will be coordinated between the requesting unit and Facilities Operations. Where the requesting unit wishes to have a dedication or other public event once the work has been sited, the unit will inform the chair of the WUAC so that such events can be coordinated for maximum or most beneficial visibility.
  • Facilities Operations will coordinate the installation of outdoor works, but will not be responsible for installation costs, which will be borne by the unit.
  • Outdoor works requiring plaques of any kind (e.g. donor plaques, identifying plaques, or interpretive information) must be coordinated with Facilities Operations to assure compliance with standard campus guidelines relative to outdoor signage.
  • In the event of commissioned work, the requesting unit will be required to remain in contact with the WUAC throughout the commissioning process in order to assure that the work remains consistent with the proposal approved by the President and to assure quality control. Significant changes to the approved proposal will require subsequent review(s) by the WUAC, which may result in a revised recommendation to the President, including recommendation that the work not go forward.
  • Once sited, no work of public art may be moved without notifying and achieving the consent of the WUAC. For re-siting of art, WUAC and Facilities Operations must be informed and approve a new proposed site.
  • Concerns about the condition of extant works of public art should be referred to Facilities Operations. However, the costs of preservation and/or conservation, and the responsibility for routinely (annually) monitoring works of public art relative to condition, remain the responsibility of the requesting unit

Accession Records

The Chair of the WUAC is responsible for completing and maintaining the following database information for object(s) currently in, and added to, the permanent art collection:

  • Accession Number
  • Date and nature of acquisition (gift, purchase, bequest)
  • Source of acquisition
  • Artist, title, medium, dimensions
  • Condition
  • Provenance
  • Value
  • Name of staff member recording accession


  • Object(s) in the Permanent Art Collection should be retained permanently if they continue to be relevant and useful to the purposes and activities of the University, and if they can be properly stored, and preserved.
  • Deaccessioning of object(s) will be considered when the above conditions no longer prevail and deaccession is not prohibited under the terms of accession.
  • No member of the university staff, council of trustees, or permanent art collection committee shall personally profit from any transaction involving the sale or exchange of object(s) in the collection.

Criteria for Deaccession

WUAC may consider deaccessioning of artwork for one or more of the following reasons in the event that it cannot be resited:

  • A work is not, or is only rarely, on display because of lack of a suitable site.
  • The condition or security of the artwork cannot be reasonably guaranteed.
  • The artwork has been damaged or has deteriorated and repair is impractical or unfeasible.
  • The artwork endangers public safety.
  • In the case of site specific artwork, the artwork's relationship to the site is altered because of changes to the site.
  • The artwork has been determined to be incompatible within the context of the collection.
  • The artwork requires excessive maintenance or has faults of design or workmanship.
  • No longer aligns with the mission and/or educational goals of the university

Deaccessioning Procedures

The WUAC shall make recommendations to the President of the University via the chair of the committee for the deaccessioning of object(s).

Object(s) may be deaccessioned through sale at public auction, donation or exchange to other nonprofit or educational institutions.

Deaccession Records

The chair of the WUAC is responsible for preparing the following documentation for object(s) to be proposed for deaccession:

  • Date of recommendation for deaccession
  • Object accession number
  • Artist, title medium, size of object
  • Condition and description of object
  • Name/address of source of accessioned object
  • Date of accession
  • Insured value
  • Estimated market value per appraisal
  • Photograph of object
  • Proposed method of deaccession
  • Name/address of new owner
  • Sale price or exchange value