Australian National Botanic Gardens
An extract from the ANBG Public Art Master Plan, November 2001 (Section 17)
A. Criteria for Acceptance of Proposed Gifts
The ANBG is aware that from time to time, individual members of the community, businesses or corporations, community groups, and other legally-constituted organisations may formally offer to donate various objects to the Gardens for placement within hard or soft landscape environments.
These objects on offer are most likely to consist of works of art, craft, items of heritage context or value, functional elements such as benches or drinking fountains, trees or plants for landscaped areas, and other such items.
The Gardens of course appreciates the public-spiritedness of such proposed donations, but realises that the acceptance of such gifts entails significant responsibilities. Those responsibilities of the Council in the acceptance of any proposed gift include being able to guarantee that:
a) an appropriate permanent location within the sites and buildings under the ANBG’s control can be designated from the outset for the donated object’s placement;
b) the site designated for the object’s permanent placement provides appropriate protection to the work from environmental deterioration in terms of the daily ultraviolet light levels and fluctuating humidity to which it is exposed, protection from vandalism, and protection from theft, all without the need for provision of display cases or environmentally-controlled display boxes;
c) the costs of any initial restoration, cleaning, or repair of the object upon acceptance, of annual upkeep of the object, and of ongoing maintenance/preservation over its expected lifetime can be committed and ensured within existing Council budgets.
These costs must include sufficient regular cleaning on a monthly or annual basis to ensure an unsullied presentation of the object in its new location;
d) the object has direct significance to the mission of the ANBG and its proposed site in the Gardens, whether through its context, past usage, aesthetic quality, community context and resonance, or other evidence of “connectedness” to the specific site proposed for its installation or placement; and
e) an appropriate means of “de-accessioning” the object [i.e. removing it from itsdesignated location and disposing of it with dignity] has already been discussed and agreed with the proposed donor, should the work inadvertently decay, be damaged, no longer be appropriate to its location through change of building or landscape function, etc.
These five criteria will be the “starting point” against which the advisability of acceptance of any proposed donation by the ANBG will be assessed.
B. Procedure for Assessment & Decision-making on Gift Proposals
When the gift of an object is formally proposed to the Gardens, it is agreed that the following procedures shall be followed:
1) the donor will be asked to submit a written proposal to the ANBG Director for consideration, preferably accompanied by photographs, dimensions, and other technical details of the object;
2) if the object proposed for donation to the Gardens is a work of art, craft, or an object of design, the ANBG Director will formally refer the Proposal to the ANBG Art Advisory Committee via the designated ANBG staff member for administration of the Art Program and the consulting Public Art Coordinator. The Committee’s assessment of the proposal will occur against the five criteria stated above, resulting in a formal recommendation on the proposed acquisition to the ANBG Director. If the object is a live tree or other landscaping element such as a historic bench, the matter should be referred to the ANBG Director for forwarding for assessment to the appropriate senior staff.
If the proffered object is a work of art, craft, or design and the Art Advisory Committee is not scheduled to meet or very urgent advice is required, the ANBG Director will refer the proposal for donation to a Reference Committee for Gifts comprised of one appropriate Art Advisory Committee member, the consulting Public Art Coordinator, and the designated ANBG staff member for administration of the Art Program.
3) prior to the consideration of the proposed donation of a work of art by the Art Advisory Committee at a regularly-scheduled meeting or by the Reference Committee on Gifts, the consulting Public Art Coordinator shall prepare a short paper assessing the object against the criteria for the benefit of Art Advisory Committee Members;
4) if, in its initial consideration of the matter, the Art Advisory Committee concludes that the above- listed five criteria cannot be met by the ANBG in accepting the proposed gift, there is no requirement for the actual object to be viewed by the Art Advisory Committee or ANBG representative at that time.
In that circumsthce, the Art Advisory Committee will forward to the ANBG Director its formal recommendation that the ANBG should not acquire the object on the grounds of not being able to ensure a proper location, maintenance, and protection for the gift on an ongoing basis;
5) if, in its initial consideration of the matter, the Art Advisory Committee concludes that the five initial criteria of acceptance can be met by the Gardens, should it choose to accept the proposed gift, then an arrangement shall be made for the object to be viewed by the Art Advisory Committee as a whole or by designated representatives, depending upon its location and portability.
This viewing shall allow the Art Advisory Committee to comment formally to the ANBG Director on the aesthetic quality of the object, its overall condition, and to provide any additional information on its likely significance to the proposed installation site which arises from that viewing.
Following this viewing of the object, the Art Advisory Committee shall make a recommendation on the acceptance of the gift to the ANBG via the ANBG Director.
Where necessary, the Art Advisory Committee’s recommendation to the Director for acceptance of a gift can be conditional upon the provision of detailed advice from a conservator such as the existing condition of a work or from professional maintenance personnel on annual cleaning and conservation costs; and
6) the ANBG Director will consider the recommendation of the Art Advisory Committee or Reference Committee on Gifts and, where appropriate, ratify that recommendation as a decision by the Gardens.
Unless the ANBG Director does not accept the Committee’s recommendation against acquisition of an object, there is no requirement for further representatives of the ANBG to view the proposed donation.
Where a proposed donation is not accepted by the Gardens, the Director should make reference to the five assessment criteria in the letter conveying that decision to the potential donor. Where a work of art, craft, or design is involved, the draft of this letter should be prepared for the Director’s approval by the consulting Public Art Coordinator as part of the forwarding of the Art Advisory Committee’s recommendations to the ANBG Director.
Accepted as Policy by:
Director, November 2001
Date of policy revision: November 2001
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