Subject:  Physical Plant

Policy:  Public Art Policy  

Revised:  N/A 

Effective Date:  February 11, 2010    

Review Date:  February, 2013    

Responsible Party:  University Facilities Planning Board

Introduction and Purpose:

The display of public art enhances the overall quality of life by beautifying public spaces and is consistent with Montana State University’s mission of providing a richly diverse learning environment that promotes exploration, discovery and the dissemination of new knowledge.  It is MSU’s intent to display interesting and stimulating high-quality works of art to broaden the educational experience for students, faculty and staff.

The purpose of this Policy is to establish a consistent evaluation process for the acquiring, owning, displaying and deaccessioning public works of art.

This Policy does not apply to MSU art galleries, student art competition displays or private art work gifted to individuals or departments that may be on display in department offices; however, such gifts may be subject to other statutes and/or MSU policies related to accepting gifts, limitations on value, conflict of interest, etc. In addition, if it is subsequently desired to transfer such individual-accepted or department-accepted art to university ownership or display, the request must be processed as governed by this Public Art Policy.


Public Art – Works of art to be placed in public areas within university buildings or grounds for permanent or long-term display.  Public art includes art that is acquisitioned, commissioned, donated, purchased, accepted, solicited, and/or gifted to the University.

Public Art Asset Inventory- Inventory used to track the public art displayed on the University.

Loaned Art – Public art on loan to the University, generally for a specified time period, without ownership transferred to the University.

Deaccessioning– The decision and process to remove a work of art from the collection of public art and dispose of it.  Disposal may include sale of the art piece to procure funding for other public art.

Public Art Committee - A standing committee of the University Facilities Planning Board (UFPB) established to review specific proposals for public art and to make recommendations to UFPB.  The University President has final approval of UFPB recommendations and makes the final decision on all public art proposals.


All Public Art and proposals to acquire and display public art, as defined above, must be evaluated by the Public Art Committee and recommended to UFPB; reviewed and recommended by UFPB to the President and approved by the President prior to acceptance by any university entity.

The display of “loaned” artwork (or artwork for which the University does not retain unfettered ownership) in unsecured public places presents significant liability issues related to security, indemnification for damage to the artwork itself (either intentional or accidental) and/or damage to persons caused by or related to the artwork, etc; therefore, it is the University’s intent to generally prohibit the display of loaned artwork in unsecured public spaces (both interior and exterior) and to retain ownership of all Public Art displayed on campus. Requests for exception to display any works of art intended to be loaned to the University, must be vetted through the process and treated on a case-by-case, singular basis for possible exception. Conditions and stipulations must be customized to address specific concerns related to any proposed exception.

Facilities Planning maintains the Public Art Asset Inventory that identifies each piece of public art by the receipt date, artist, piece title, general description, construction material, and its location. Monetary value, insurance value, and tax liability of public art is not part of this list; however, such information may be tracked by Safety & Risk Management and/or the MSU Foundation.


Public Art Procedures (UFPB approved April 2015)