Exterior Public Art Policy

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: Senior Vice President, University Marketing & Communications
APPLICABILITY: This Policy applies to Drexel University and its subsidiaries and affiliates.


Drexel University's Exterior Public Art policy serves to support the art collection, affirming the University's commitment to creating and sustaining a rich environment and expanding the understanding and appreciation of art through site-specific works. Exterior public art enhances the overall quality of life through beautification of public spaces for all people and should be a part of the daily life of the students, faculty and staff at Drexel University as well as the community at large.

This policy establishes uniform and consistent procedures to gain internal university approvals for the selection, acquisition, deaccession, siting and maintenance of exterior public art and guides the coordination and collaboration among the groups or individuals who may influence the selection of public art.


Drexel University's Exterior Public Art policy shall apply to all outdoor public places on University property. Exterior public art is acquired through donations, solicitations, purchases and loans. Exterior public art selection must address issues such as: artistic quality, appropriateness, site context, public sensibility, durability, maintainability, safety and cost.



The Exterior Public Art Committee (EPAC) is in place to advocate the need for exterior public art and target specific siting opportunities for outdoor public places, and at certain times may also include indoor public spaces. The EPAC will develop, manage and periodically update the processes and procedures for reviewing specific proposals for exterior public art with the purpose of recommending for approval (with possible suggestions for modification) or rejection of the exterior public art and its siting.

The EPAC is comprised of the same University representatives from University Naming Rights Committee as granted in University Policy No. UComm-5, with the addition of the curator of The Drexel Collection.

Rights Clearances and Permissions

The University must have clear title or otherwise must possess the requisite permissions (for instance if the piece is on loan) to the exterior public art in addition to any related intellectual property rights or permissions.


An external funding source to cover all costs shall be determined prior to acceptance of any exterior public art. If sufficient funding is not immediately available, this criterion may be waived in exceptional circumstances by the University President. An account shall be established with the Finance Office so that all charges can be billed directly to the Exterior Public Art account. The curator of The Drexel Collection maintains the account.

Committee Guidelines for Selecting, Acquiring, Commissioning and Siting Exterior Public Art

Criteria for Selection and Acceptance of Exterior Public Art

  • It should display a high level of artistic quality and craftsmanship that supports and enhances the academic and creative missions of Drexel University.
  • It should enhance the physical and aesthetic environment of the campus.
  • The "message," if any, shall be consistent with current standards and policies of the Drexel University community.
  • An appropriate site in campus public space shall be available.
  • It shall be structurally sound and present no environmental or safety hazard. It must be durable, require minimal maintenance and have a life expectancy of 20 years or more.
  • An external funding source to cover all costs of acquisition, purchase, shipping, installation, wall-to-wall insurance, appraisal and maintenance shall be determined prior to acceptance. If sufficient funding is not immediately available, this criterion may be waived in exceptional circumstances by the University President.
  • The donor's clear title to donated exterior public art and authenticity of the work shall be confirmed prior to acceptance.

Artist/Artwork Selection Process

The EPAC shall make the decision of how artwork or an artist is selected. For example: A nationwide competition may be organized, selected artists may be invited to submit slides, members of the University community may nominate artists, or current works may be purchased for the space. Final approval of exterior public art must be made by a majority vote of the EPAC with a final recommendation to the University President. The EPAC may request a review of an artwork/artist proposal by a conservator to determine long-term maintenance care and conservation issues, which may arise, prior to approval. Once approved, the exterior public art will be accessioned into the University's art collection using standard accessioning procedures outlined in The Drexel Collection's Accessioning Policy.

Site Selection

The Exterior Public Art Policy provides a rational approach to ensuring the best fit between site and Drexel's exterior public art. There are three different types of public exterior space: (1) Iconic spaces are the most visible places on campus and are recognized symbols of the University, the exterior art in these spaces has a universal interest and great significance to Drexel University; (2) Public spaces are among the most highly visible and most widely recognized spaces and are visible to the public and well visited, the exterior public art in these spaces is as visible and significant as the space it occupies; and lastly, (3) Private spaces which are courtyards or niches between buildings that are not as highly visible to the public and are generally visited by those who work or live adjacent to these spaces. The exterior public art in these areas can more directly relate to a unit or represent a more personal statement by a donor.

Maintenance of Public Art

University Facilities and the curator of The Drexel Collection will approve the methods for installing, re-siting and maintaining exterior public works of art.

University Facilities will maintain exterior public art, providing it with optimum storage and exhibition environments and regular cleanings as stated by the American Alliance of Museums best practices. In the case a piece needs cleaning/conservation, the curator of The Drexel Collection maintains a file of recommended art conservators who may be contacted for object assessment.

Relocation or Deaccession of Exterior Public Art

Drexel University reserves the right to relocate, remove or deaccession exterior public art after EPAC and University President approval. Exterior public art may be deaccessioned by the University in accordance with the deaccession policy of The Drexel Collection. The Drexel Collection will maintain records, including photographs, of deaccessioned exterior public art and, when practical, will keep track of new owners and locations.

Criteria for Relocation or Deaccessioning

  • The exterior public art is not, or is only rarely, on display because of lack of a suitable site.
  • The condition or security of the exterior public art cannot be reasonably guaranteed.
  • The exterior public art has been damaged or has deteriorated and repair is impractical or unfeasible.
  • The exterior public art endangers public safety.
  • In the case of site specific exterior public art, the art's relationship to the site is altered because of changes to the site.
  • The exterior public art has been determined to be incompatible within the context of the collection.
  • The University, with the concurrence of the EPAC, wishes to replace the exterior public art with work of more significance by the same artist.
  • The exterior public art requires excessive maintenance or has faults of design or workmanship.