Frequently Asked Questions

What is Landmarks?

Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. It was launched in 2008 after the university adopted a comprehensive public art policy with ongoing support for the acquisition of public art. Landmarks was created to facilitate the complex process of developing a campus public art collection that complements building projects, supports broader university-wide priorities, and conforms to the Public Art Master Plan. The program applies a curatorial perspective to the development of a cohesive collection of public art for the university’s main campus.

How is Landmarks funded?

Landmarks has its origins in a 2005 policy statement 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. A funding goal was set of 1 to 2 percent of the capital cost of new construction and major renovations of main campus buildings. Like similar programs at other universities, this initial construction allocation is augmented by private contributions and support from foundations.

Which projects participate in the percent-for-art allocation?

A number of elements are considered to determine if a particular project qualifies for the percent-for-art allocation. These 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. In collaboration with the eventual users of the building, the provost, the vice president for University Operations, and the Facilities and Space Council determine allocations.

What is the Public Art Master Plan?

To ensure a comprehensive approach to building a collection of public art, Peter Walker Partners, architects of the Speedway and East Mall reconstruction, created a Public Art Master Plan (pdf). This 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 clarify patchy architectural edges.

What are Landmarks initiatives?

There are three key Landmarks initiatives. The first is the long-term loan of twenty-eight sculptures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These mid- to late-twentieth-century sculptures are located throughout the main campus and they provide an art historical foundation upon which the university builds its own collection.

The second initiative guides the purchase or commission of art for new construction and major renovation projects on the main campus. These works are funded by an allocation from the total project cost and installed in the building’s vicinity.

The third initiative enhances public sites that are not associated with a specific building project. Spaces such as gateways, medians, malls, corridors, and Waller Creek have become university-wide priorities. Public art in these locations creates focal points, unifies overlooked areas on campus, and ensures an even distribution of works in accordance with the Public Art Master Plan. These projects are funded by private contributions.

How are works of art selected?

Each project selection is reviewed and endorsed by a team of art 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 advisory committee consists of the Landmarks director, faculty and student representation, and is advised by the chair of the Subcommittee for the Review of Artwork (SRA). All submissions require review by the SRA and follow the established university approval process for public art on campus.

What criteria guide the selections?

To make the most of every opportunity for public art on the main campus, a broad range of criteria are applied to Landmarks project selections. Considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:

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

Who serves on the Landmarks Advisory Committee?

LAC meetings may include representatives from the departments, divisions, or offices most affected by the site, building project managers, architects, and other professional experts as appropriate. Current LAC members are:

Andrée Bober, Landmarks director
Eddie Chambers, Art History faculty
Amy Hauft, Chair subcommittee for the review of artwork
Juan Miró, Architecture faculty
Ann Reynolds, Art History faculty
Veronica Roberts, Blanton Museum curator
Michael Smith, Studio Art faculty
Robin Williams, Art History graduate student

What is the approval process?

The Subcommittee for the Review of Artwork (SRA) of the Faculty Building Advisory Committee (FBAC) is a group assembled to review public works of art proposed by Landmarks as well as by donors and university officials. If the art will be located outside a building or in unenclosed public interior spaces, the SRA submits its recommendations to the FBAC. The FBAC reviews the recommendation and submits a report to the office of the vice president for University Operations (VPUO). For art located in enclosed public interior space, the SRA submits its recommendation directly to VPUO. In turn, VPUO shares all recommendations with the Facilities and Space Council, which makes the final decision on behalf of the university. Some public art proposals may require further approval by the board of regents.

Who leads Landmarks?

To take best advantage of the expertise available at the university, Landmarks operates within the College of Fine Arts with oversight by the office of the vice president for University Operations. Andrée Bober is the founding director of Landmarks and reports to Douglas Dempster, dean of Fine Arts. She works closely with Pat Clubb, vice president for University Operations and Ken Hale, associate dean of Fine Arts and SRA chair.

Why is photography not permitted?

The University of Texas at Austin and its affiliates enjoy a limited right to reproduce photographs of Landmarks’ projects for educational and promotional purposes. The university does not, however, own the copyright to these works of art 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.

How may I support Landmarks?

Landmarks welcomes support in many forms. Donations may be made to fund acquisitions, operations, or for the ongoing care and maintenance of its collection. Gifts of public art that enhance the curatorial program are considered, as well as other in-kind contributions of goods and services. Learn more about ways to contribute to Landmarks on the Support page of this website and make an online contribution today. To inquire, please contact landmarks@austin.utexas.edu or phone 512.495.4315.

How can students and faculty get involved?

Beyond visiting the works of art and learning about them, students may support Landmarks by volunteering their time and expertise to become a Landmarks Docent or join the Landmarks Preservation Guild.

Faculty may engage their students by including Landmarks projects in their curricula and by scheduling class tours. Faculty may also volunteer their time to serve on Landmarks committees, host educational events, and to lend their expertise to teach others about Landmarks projects.

Students and faculty may also become a Facebook fan to learn about upcoming news and events.

Who are the Landmarks Docents?

Landmarks Docents are a group of dedicated student volunteers who lead tours of Landmarks projects. They contribute time, energy, and ideas to make the Landmarks collection accessible to the university community and to campus visitors.

What is the Landmarks Preservation Guild?

Landmarks Preservation Guild is a committed group of student volunteers who examine and maintain works of art in the Landmarks collection. They devote time and energy to preserve works of public art so they may be enjoyed by future generations.

What tours are available?

Landmarks offers public tours and bike tours that are led by docents, as well as self-guided tours and audio tours. With Landmarks’ automated mobile website, visitors can also use mobile devices to listen to audio tours while viewing the works of art on exhibit. These features are also available under the Landmarks tab on the university’s official iPhone application, which may be downloaded for free.

What is Landmarks Video?

Landmarks Video is an ongoing presentation of the most highly regarded and influential works of video art from the past five decades. The program screens the work of one artist per month on an ongoing basis. Videos are presented on a media station located in the ART building atrium, located on the corner of East 23rd Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. For more information, please visit Landmarks Video.