Landmarks has its origins in a policy for Art in Public Spaces that was approved by The University of Texas System Office of the General Counsel and the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in 2005. The policy sets aside 1-2 percent of capital improvement projects to acquire public art and it outlines the official review and approval procedures. Ongoing expenses, such as conservation and education programs, are supported by private contributions.
Landmarks is led by its founding director Andrée Bober, who oversees the development of the collection and a vibrant range of programs that support scholarship and learning. She reports to Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts, and works closely with the Landmarks Advisory Committee, the associate vice president for Campus Planning & Project Management, the Campus Master Planning Committee, and the senior vice president and chief financial officer.
In collaboration with the eventual users of the building, the provost, senior vice president and chief financial officer, associate vice president for Campus Planning & Project Management, and the Facilities and Space Council determine allocations. Considerations include the degree to which the university is raising construction funds for the project, the overall project budget, and the location and use of the building.
Peter Walker Partners created a Public Art Master Plan (pdf) to ensure a comprehensive approach to building a collection of public art. The plan corresponds to the 1999 César Pelli Campus Master Plan and it serves to guide overall public art acquisition and placement. Among many considerations, it proposes the best locations for installations of public art to provide visual anchors at gateways, to accentuate main axis corridors, and to delineate architectural edges.
Each project is reviewed and endorsed by a team of specialists and community stakeholders. Landmarks convenes a standing advisory committee to consider upcoming building projects, to evaluate artists for the public art component, and to endorse specific proposals. The current advisory committee includes:
A broad range of criteria guide project selections that include, but are not limited to:
- Artistic merit (quality, condition, rarity, provenance)
- Quality of presentation in architectural and/or landscape setting
- Reputation of artist
- Art historical merit
- Relevance to art history and other curricula
- Relation to other works in Landmarks collection
- Support public art master plan
- Contribution to cultural environment
- Feasibility of installation and cost
- Feasibility of care and maintenance
- Durability of work
- Safety and disability standards
The University of Texas at Austin and its affiliates enjoy a limited right to reproduce images of Landmarks’ projects for educational and promotional purposes. The university does not own the copyright to these works and it may not reproduce these images for commercial purposes. Any party who seeks to reproduce art in the Landmarks collection for commercial gain must first obtain permission from the copyright holder, which typically belongs to the artist or the artist’s estate.