Policy and Procedures for Outdoor Art

Outdoor Art Proposal Template


The University welcomes and encourages proposals and offers of donations for outdoor art installations on the Berkeley campus.

Proposed installations of outdoor art must be properly reviewed to ensure they are appropriate for the campus, comply with University policies, and are placed in suitable locations. No promises should be made to donors or money expended with the expectation that an art proposal will be approved prior to the completion of the review and approval process explained below.

Whether commissioned, loaned, or donated to the campus, art must have a sponsor from the University. Campus departments interested in sponsoring or initiating outdoor art proposals are strongly encouraged to have an early, informal consultation with the Space Planning staff within the Vice Provost for Academic Planning office as well as the Campus Architect and/or Campus Landscape Architect. Early review can help clarify campus policies and expectations, costs of installation, siting issues, and the way in which a formal proposal should be prepared.

  • The formal review process can take multiple months, and typically includes a combination of the following steps:Informal consultation with campus planning departments

  • Sponsor’s development of proposal and supporting materials

  • Presentation to the Space and Capital Improvements Committee (SACI)

  • Establishment of a subcommittee which includes faculty with expertise on the subject of the art

  • Subcommittee research, discussion, and recommendation to SACI

  • SACI recommendation to the Chancellor

  • Siting review and recommendation by Campus Architect and/or Campus Landscape Architect

  • Chancellor decision

Proposed plaques accompanying art installations must also be reviewed by SACI. The campus has specific policies on how plaques should be worded.

The complete policies that follow explain the details of Berkeley campus rules and procedures regarding outdoor art proposals. Please review them when any art proposal is being considered, and share them with prospective donors and friends of the University as appropriate.

Review Process

The donor and/or sponsoring department should be prepared to present the following:

  1. Information about work(s) of art, including materials, concept and purpose, artist biography, date of creation of the piece, and history. Why was it commissioned/ 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 the artist has a portfolio, brochures, or samples of similar work, it is useful for the Art Subcommittee to see this material in order to evaluate and understand the style and technique of the artist and the proposed work of art;

  2. Information about the donor(s), their background and any association with the University, and why the particular piece of art is being offered to the campus;

  3. Proposed site(s) on campus and justification for the site(s); name of donor(s), and draft wording for any proposed plaque accompanying the piece. A specific site need not be proposed.

  4. Any technical issues related to materials, care, and installation needs such as hanging arrangements, bases, pedestals, or footings needed or environmental conditions (excessive shade, sunlight, or moisture) that might affect the art or recommendations on its siting;

  5. Clear photographs of the art or, if it is a proposed piece not yet fabricated, an illustration. If the piece is a sculpture meant to be viewed in the round, 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.

The purpose of a presentation is for SACI and the Art Subcommittee to review the art’s relationship to proposed campus locations and its desirability for the campus, and assess technical and aesthetic issues such as installation and site design and context. The advice of the Campus Architect and/or Landscape Architect is sought in evaluating these issues, particularly in regard to siting, installation, and maintenance.

The following are taken into account when reviewing an art proposal:

  1. Does the proposed piece of art have aesthetic value and appeal? Will it be a valued addition to the permanent outdoor art collection of the campus?  If the art installation is meant to be temporary, what plans are there for its removal at the end of its display period? (see ‘temporary art installations’ below)

  2. Is the proposal appropriate for the campus?

  3. Is the art durable and sturdy?

  4. Can the donor and/or the sponsoring University department pay all the costs of fabrication, delivery, installation, and upkeep of the art? 


Most art pieces are accompanied by a permanent plaque. 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 is expected to 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 name of the donor may be considered for inclusion on the plaque. The name of an individual donor is considered for inclusion only if that individual was responsible for all or the majority of the donation. The name of a donating group will also be considered. The campus does not include names of several donors on plaques or names of donors who have not made a majority contribution to the project.

Art donation sponsors must not promise individual donors that their names or particular text wording will be included on a plaque. This can only be determined through the review process involving SACI.

Individual Memorials / Statues

Works of sculpture or decorative art that are given in honor of an individual must, under all circumstances, also have intrinsic artistic merit and stand on their own.

Statues or portrait busts that memorialize individuals are carefully reviewed. Generally, an individual must have had a significant association with the campus if a commemorative piece of art depicting them is to be considered for outdoor display. Portrait plaques, busts or paintings of individual faculty members, administrators, alumni and donors are often included in buildings or rooms named in their honor. A larger piece of portrait art, particularly one situated outside, would require more scrutiny and a higher level of justification.

CEQA Review

If an art piece could have a significant effect on the environment (for example, altering a historic landscape or building, being prominently visible from a view corridor, or being located on or near a creek, or in a way that affects campus vegetation, or could interrupt the flow of traffic), it may be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Campus planning staff can advise whether such review will be necessary.


The University cannot provide an absolute guarantee that a work of art will remain in a single location or remain permanently on the campus. Once it accepts a work of art for an outdoor site, the campus will endeavor to keep the art in an appropriate setting and condition.

Temporary Art Installations

The campus also considers temporary outdoor art. Proposals for the display of temporary art should have a defined period of years. Temporary art is subject to the same review procedures and criteria, however, the art may be subject to a less stringent review. For example, an individual featured in a temporary piece of art might not have a strong relationship to the Berkeley campus, but might still be approved for display based upon the campus’ values and the intrinsic quality of the art.

The cost of removing temporary art should be accounted for as part of the overall cost for the piece to be displayed on campus.