Art Collection Policy

Effective Date
Academic Vice President and Provost
Executive Leadership Team
Art Collection Policy 2007


The Evergreen State College (Evergreen) purchases and accepts donations of art, and collaborates with the Washington State Arts Commission, to promote visual arts in alignment with Evergreen’s mission. This policy clarifies definitions and processes.


I. The Evergreen State College Art Collection includes:

  • Public Art. These artworks are appropriate for long-term display and include murals.
  • Fragile Art. These artworks are available for rotating exhibit; they are not appropriate for long-term display due to issues of conservation, security, technology, etc.

II. College Art that is not part of the Collection:

  • Artworks acquired by departments such as the Library, Longhouse, etc. are not defined as part of the college’s Collection.
  • Artworks owned by the Washington State Arts Commission.

II. Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC). Funds for WSAC acquisitions are generated through state capital construction. In collaboration with the college, WSAC selects artworks and retains ownership. Public art acquired through the Art in Public Places Program (AIPP) is governed by rules and regulations as determined by WSAC. This policy is not intended to govern art acquired through AIPP except in relation to coordinating selection.

III. College Art Advisory Committee (CAAC). A committee of faculty, staff and students charged to consider acquisition and care of art as part of the Collection as well as works selected by WSAC.

IV. Steward of the Collection stewards the processes of accession and de-accession and oversees art storage and records management.

V. The Evergreen State College Foundation (the Foundation). An institutionally-affiliated public non-profit foundation established for the purpose of supporting the mission of the college.

VI. The Evergreen State College (Evergreen). Refers to the college in its meaning as a public entity governed by the rules and laws of the state of Washington and a public institution of higher education.

Appointment of the College Art Advisory Committee:

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for ensuring the annual appointment of CAAC, and for naming one of the following to be chair:

  • Senior Leader for College Operations or designee, typically Head of Facilities with budget authority
  • Vice President for Advancement or designee, typically a Gifts Officer
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee, typically a staff member in photography/media/visual arts
  • Steward of the Collection, typically the college’s Archivist
  • One Member of the Faculty, typically in the Visual Arts, appointed via the Agenda Committee
  • One Student, typically in the Visual Arts, their service to be compensated within the terms of other duties as a visual arts student aide, gallery aide, library or archives student worker, or analogous position.
  • CAAC may request expansion of its membership by seeking permission from:
  • The Agenda Committee, for faculty members
  • The VP of their Division, for other employees[GD1] 

Role of the CACC

The CAAC reviews every artwork being considered for inclusion in or deaccession from the college’s collection. The CAAC will determine which works will be accepted into  Evergreen’s collection regardless of whether it is acquired through purchase or donation.  The CAAC also reviews works under consideration by the college through Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places program.

CAAC meets at least quarterly to consider requests, and more frequently as needed for example in collaboration with WSAC.

Placement of Public Art

Artworks designated for public viewing are to be placed in public locations, such as lobbies, waiting rooms, hallways, conference rooms, or widely accessible classrooms. Offices are not generally understood to be public locations except those that regularly host gatherings of students, employees or campus guests.

Role of the Collection Steward

The Steward endeavors to ensure appropriate storage of artworks and proper maintenance of Collection records. The Steward is an ex officio member of the CAAC and prominent candidate to chair the CAAC, and raises conservation concerns to be resolved by Vice Presidents of the relative divisions.

The Steward has the decision-making authority to differentiate between public art and fragile art; to rotate public artworks into and out of storage; and release fragile works for exhibition or study under specific conditions and for limited periods of time.

Criteria for Acquisition:

I. CAAC is not provided a budget for acquisition; this policy is oriented to donations and WSAC partnerships.

II. The work of art must be of high artistic quality and must enhance the quality of the collection in at least one of these ways:

  • Align with college strategic priorities in areas of visual arts learning (such as Indigenous Arts; equity, inclusive excellence and belonging; emerging technologies; workforce development)
  • Relate to the history of the college
  • Offer specific relevance to confirmed Visual Arts curriculum in the upcoming decade

III. Evergreen must be able to commit the necessary resources to the long-term care, security, insurance, maintenance, display and/or storage of the artwork. Display includes installation, signage, lighting, etc.

IV. Donations of work produced while enrolled at the college are ordinarily not accepted.

Process to Consider Accepting Donations:

  1. An initial conversation with a donor is routed through Advancement, and referred to CAAC for consideration
  2. Upon referral to CAAC, the Chair[MG2] [KA3]  works with Advancement to respond to the potential donor, explain the process and criteria, provide a timeline for consideration, etc. [KA4] [MG5] 
  3. CAAC members consult closely with their respective Vice Presidents, who make key decisions and resource commitments. The budget authority for Operations/Facilities commits to costs of public art installation, long-term care, security, and maintenance. The budget authority for Academics commits to costs of short-term display, and long-term storage, security, insurance, and repair. The budget authority for Advancement surfaces potential donor-aligned support for both the public art and the fragile portions of the Collection.
  4. Donations should be made without restrictions or special conditions about use, display, or future disposition, except in the most exceptional circumstances to be determined by the President or Vice President taking responsibility for overseeing compliance with the restriction or special conditions.[KA6] [MG7] [KA8] 
  5. Donations of art by faculty, staff, students, family, and alumni are reviewed using the criteria established above.
  6. If recommended by CAAC and approved by the respective Vice Presidents, the Steward engages with the donor to accept the artwork for installation or storage.
  7. WSAC works follow steps I through IV above, and are accepted by Facilities for public installation.

Process of Accession:

When an artwork enters the Collection, it is given an accession number, is catalogued, and is entered in the collection database. The file should include:

  • Artist resume, statements, articles if available
  • Instructions for care and maintenance
  • Donation or purchase forms
  • Provenance of the artwork
  • Appraisals
  • Any and all purchase or acquisition agreements with the artist or donor.

After records are created, the work is either installed or stored as appropriate.

When departments acquire artworks they are responsible for care including security, installation, maintenance, storage, etc. While such pieces are not part of the Evergreen’s art collection, if given to or purchased by the college they are assets of the college. The acquiring departments ensure that works are inventoried, assessed in terms of value, and cared for appropriately using departmental budgets in consultation with Business Services.

Process of Accession and Deaccession for departmentally-acquired artwork:

When departments acquire artworks, they are responsible for all aspects of record keeping, inventory, valuation, and care including security, installation, maintenance, storage, etc. They are not bound by the Collection selection criteria.

Departments may offer art works in their possession to CAAC for consideration of acceptance into the Collection, so that works of high value are centrally inventoried and monitored.

CAAC uses the criteria offered in this policy to consider transfer of departmentally-acquired art works.

When departments acquire art, they assume responsibilities for both accession and deaccession as expressed in this policy.

Process of Survey:

Periodically the Vice Presidents of Operations and Academic Affairs are jointly responsible for engaging the professional services of an art conservationist to:

  • Survey the installation of public work
  • Assess the quality of art storage areas
  • Audit the collection database
  • Offer recommendations for works in need of maintenance, repair, or removal from public exhibition
  • Offer a plan for collection care
  • Periodically, conduct an appraisal

The Steward collaborates with contracted conservationists and with Business Services to compile information needed for college accounting, valuations for insurance, asset reporting, etc.

Asset inventory and valuation are stewarded by Business Services, for example by the Purchasing and Contracts Manager

Proposals for Deaccessioning

Proposals may originate from Facilities (e.g. for site-specific public art); the Steward (e.g. for damaged or stolen art); or the Provost or other Vice Presidents (e.g. for works that are inconsistent with college’s mission and needs). Students and employees who wish to make a proposal may do so through the office of their respective Vice Presidents (for students, Student Affairs).

Criteria for Deaccessioning

Deaccessioning is the formal process used to remove an object permanently from the Collection. It is a practice intended to refine and improve the Collection in relation to the college’s mission.

An artwork will not be deaccessioned on the basis of content. Deaccessioning may be considered by CAAC, and referred to the respective Vice Presidents for decision, under these conditions and criteria:

  • Theft or documented loss.
  • Damage or deterioration: The artwork has been damaged beyond repair, deteriorated to the extent that it no longer represents the artist's intent, damaged/deteriorated to the extent that the cost of care outweighs the value of the artwork, or its conservation and maintenance causes an unreasonable strain on the assets of the college.
  • No suitable site can be found for a portable artwork.
  • For site-integrated artworks, in the event that the site for which the artwork was specifically created is structurally or otherwise altered and can no longer accommodate the work; is made publicly inaccessible as a result of new construction, demolition, or security enhancement; or has its surrounding environment altered in a way which significantly impacts the art, that artwork may be considered for deaccession.
  • The artwork represents a threat to public safety.
  • Unsuitability for either instruction or public art, or significant change in college programs and mission that render a work of marginal alignment with those programs and mission
  • The artwork would be more appropriately housed by another collection or institution.
  • Absence of clear legal title or erroneous inclusion in the collection.

Disposal following deaccession

CAAC ensures that all disposals with regard to the Collection be formally and publicly conducted and adequately documented.

In the case of works of substantial value, outside review and formal appraisals should be obtained.

Artists whose work is being considered for deaccession shall be notified by in writing using the current address provided by the artist. If Evergreen entered a purchase or acquisition agreement with the artist, the stipulations in the agreement will be observed.

Disposal actions in priority order:

  • Trade, for example via a gallery, for a work of similar or higher value and higher alignment with college curriculum or mission.
  • Sale through art auction, art gallery, or dealer; proceeds from sale to purchase artwork(s) with similar value and higher alignment with college curriculum or mission, or for conservation of other works in the Collection.
  • Long term/indefinite/permanent loan to museum collection or governmental agency.
  • Return to donor.
  • Destruction or recycling of materials comprising the artwork so that no piece is recognizable as part of that artwork.

A permanent record of the artwork's inclusion in The Evergreen State College Art Collection, and reasons for its removal, shall be maintained as a separate section of Collection records.

Appendix A

Brief History of the Collection

Evergreen’s art collection developed in several phases.

A. Donated Works: Beginning in the early 1970s, patrons of the college, members of the community, and some individual faculty and staff members began to donate works of art to the college. These works were not reviewed by a collection committee. They were donated with no stipulations regarding their use, placement, and disposition.

B. The “Teaching Collection”: purchased in 1976-77, was part of the construction funding for Lab II. The funding was committed to art purchase because the State of Washington was creating the Art in Public Places Program, or the 1/2 of 1% for Art Program. Evergreen’s project pre-dated the final enactment of this law, but the funds that had been set aside were still used for purchasing art. These are not Washington State Arts Commission artworks. The then-existing Visual Environments Group (VEG), which included many of the visual arts faculty, was charged by the Provost to develop a plan. The VEG developed a guidelines document.

C. 1/2% for Art Purchases: Since the law was enacted, artworks have come to Evergreen through the Washington State Arts Commission process; these works are bound by WSAC policy, and WSAC provides conservation services for them.

D. 2021-2022 the Visual and Media Art faculty joined to offer combined curriculum, and durable artworks were indicated as public art, the balance of the collection being designated fragile art.