5-1: Art Displays and Artistic Expression – Policy

Policy Overview

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) provides an open forum encouraging the liberal exchange of ideas and opinion, intellectual exploration and freedom of expression including artistic expression. This is a ‘first principle’ that serves as the foundation for other principles on this topic. This policy establishes, describes and defines the use of space to display art on property owned or operated by SFCC .

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all those who display art on SFCC sites including students, employees, donors and others wishing to display art on campus. This includes the SFCC Foundation art collection.

Policy Statement

SFCC supports artistic expression and the College’s use of campus space for artistic displays. All areas of the College premises are treated as extensions of the classroom and therefore subject to regulation by the SFCC Governing Board. The College accommodates the rights, privileges, and preferences of three constituent groups:

  1. Those who wish to display art and express themselves artistically;
  2. Those who wish to visit the campus to view art; and
  3. Those who wish to visit the campus for purposes other than viewing art.

SFCC accommodates all three constituent groups by designating where on campus art may be displayed. More specifically, this policy stipulates that art may be displayed in designated locations where visitors may come for the purpose of viewing it and that art may also be displayed in other spaces but may not interfere with or disrupt the regular conduct of business at SFCC.

By extending the classroom into a temporary and more public space, students are introduced to the challenges faced by artists interacting with a public audience. At the same time, such exposure brings with it greater responsibilities. Art displayed in more public spaces attracts a different kind of scrutiny from that received in the classroom. Audiences can be less predictable, and successful communication presents greater challenges. Faculty should help students understand these issues within an educational framework. Both faculty and students should be aware that art often raises topics that are complex and demand thoughtful engagement.

At SFCC, artistic expression includes granting privilege to students, faculty, staff and members of the public for using space on campus for displays of works of art. The public display of artwork by a student is subject to the specifications of this policy. The restrictions described herein with regard to public display (except for those concerning safety and protecting persons and property from injury or damage) do not apply to the display of a student’s submissions to the art faculty as part of the process of reviewing and judging the student’s satisfying any and all artwork the student wishes to submit as part of the requirements for a course or program. This policy only applies when such artwork is proposed for general display.


  1. Artistic Expression The conscious use of skill and imagination in the production of objects or experience to communicate an idea and/or engender discussion.
  2. Employee is any member of the college workforce: all staff (regular full-time, regular part-time, term, temporary, probationary, sensitive position); all student employees; all faculty (full-time, part-time, adjunct, probationary); all administrators, including interim; all contract employees.

Policy Process

  1. All works of art that are candidates for display at the College first undergo a process of review and selection by the Arts, Design, and Media Arts faculty, the Art on Campus Advisory Committee or a lessee which is authorized to display student art. No works of art may be placed on public display without approval from art faculty, the director of any commercial venue including galleries operated by the College, the Director of Art on Campus with support from the Art on Campus Advisory Committee, or the lessee in the case of displays in areas designated for them.
    1. SFCC shall establish designated areas for art display to include areas reserved exclusively or primarily for art displays, and may permit the display of art in other areas such as general traffic areas on campus.
    2. The willingness of SFCC to grant space on its property, including the Santa Fe Higher Education Center, to display art does not constitute license to exhibit any and all artwork of individual artists.
  2. The Privilege to Display Artwork
    1. Faculty of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts and/or the Art on Campus Advisory Committee under SFCC Foundation, have the authority to grant or deny the privilege to display artwork on College-owned property/occupied property based on their judgment of the particular artwork’s aesthetic or educational worth, subject to other general considerations (such as safety issues and concerns for unimpeded traffic flow). Lessees may be granted authority to display student art in areas designated in their lease.
      1. No artwork shall be approved that violates any laws, presents an undue safety hazard, or is likely to damage SFCC property.
      2. Artwork shall not be allowed to impede pedestrian traffic or block doorways, handicap access, fire alarms, or fire exits.
      3. Artwork shall not present a danger to viewers. For example, artwork shall not be approved for display if it involves poorly constructed or suspended objects, shards of glass or anything that might cut or otherwise harm someone, or toxic material that presents a health hazard.
      4. Indoor artwork shall not unduly damage walls, floors, ceilings, fixtures, or other parts of the building. Outdoor artwork shall not damage buildings or other structures, grass, trees, walks, or grounds. Artwork shall not be attached to trees or involve the digging of holes, except that holes may be approved for the display of sculpture.
      5. Selection and placement of artwork shall be determined by faculty of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts, and/or the Art on Campus Advisory Committee, or lessees whose lease includes display of student art. For example, the main gallery is often reserved for cohesive exhibits of accomplished works. Other gallery space is reserved for works of a certain type, like sculpture and photography. Hallways, particularly in parts of the Arts and Media Arts departments, may be devoted to the display of particular fields, genres, or types of art consistent with their educational purposes. See list of locations in Policy Process section I.
      6. All these areas shall be considered extensions of the classroom and are subject to standard classroom guidelines in keeping with the educational mission of SFCC. If any work of art is or becomes, in the judgment of the faculty of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts, and /or the Art on Campus Advisory Committee, detrimental to the educational purpose of the place in which it is displayed, the College may take any appropriate steps, including removing the work or moving it to a different location.
      7. None of the foregoing standards limits the factors that the College may consider in its decision making. The final authority to grant or deny a request to exhibit artwork resides with the President, based solely on the President’s consideration of the other, non-aesthetic factors listed in this policy.
  3. Designated Instructional Areas for Art Displays: Approval Authority
    1. SFCC shall establish restricted space for the display of art (that is, designated areas of the campus reserved exclusively or primarily for art displays), and these areas shall be published as part of this policy.
    2. Some areas on campus (such as identified portions of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts or areas designated for lessees whose curriculum includes art and display of student art is included in their lease) serve as standard, designated space for the display of artwork. Students and faculty have been granted regular, ongoing access to such areas for displays, subject only to scheduling constraints and any generic procedures (such as those regarding safety and fire regulations) pertaining to space usage that are applicable across the campus and not just to art displays.
    3. The authority to grant or deny requests to exhibit art in these Designated Instructional Areas shall reside with the faculty of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts for areas designated to them or the lessee for areas designated to them. The faculty or lessee, as appropriate for the area, shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this policy.
  4. Other Areas for Art Displays: Approval Authority
    1. SFCC shall permit the display of art in areas other than those specifically designated for Instructional purposes (that is, art may be approved for display in general-traffic areas on campus).
      1. The authority to grant or deny requests to exhibit art in these general traffic areas shall reside with the Director of Art on Campus with support from the Art on Campus Advisory Committee, who shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this policy.
    2. The authority to grant or deny requests to exhibit art in the Visual Arts Gallery shall reside with the Visual Arts Gallery Advisory panel in support of the Gallery Director.
  5. Commercial Venues
    1. Where the College operates commercial venues for the purpose of assisting students to sell their art, the College shall retain the responsibility for decisions about what art may be displayed and sold in this venue.
    2. Commercial venues may include works by visitors, guests and others.
    3. The authority to grant or deny requests to exhibit art in these venues shall reside with the Gallery Director with input from arts professionals, students and employees.
  6. Displays are not limited to artwork created by students and employees. Guest artists may be invited to exhibit their work, and the College may choose to display other artwork that it owns or has accepted on loan.
  7. After a work of art has been judged suitable for display, decisions to grant the use of space are based on factors other than the decision maker’s judgment of the value of the work of art qua art (i.e., individual “taste” in art is not a valid criterion for making managerial decisions about displays).
    1. Administrative decisions are based, instead, on the same kinds of considerations that are taken into account in any decision about the use of space on campus. These include, for example:
      1. The need to insure the safety, security, and physical appearance and tidiness of public space;
      2. Compliance with both the spirit and letter of the law, when applicable;
      3. The economics of space utilization, where space is seen as a relatively scarce commodity for which competing claims exist;
      4. Equable protection of the prerogatives of all participants in campus life; and
      5. The need to maintain unobstructed traffic flow and not interfere with the normal conduct of business at an educational institution.
    2. All such factors, however, are considered within the larger ideological context that promotes free expression within the progressive educational environment of the college.
    3. The Director of Art on Campus, Gallery Director, and arts faculty are responsible for installing all works of art using best practices for handling art work and cultural artifacts. The Facilities and Operations Office may consult on hanging art. No individual may hang or otherwise install art without appropriate approval.
  8. In displaying artwork in institutional space, students and employees should recognize that in this as in all such cases, responsibility accompanies privilege. They should exercise the same respect for, and sensitivity to, the feelings and opinions of others that they in turn expect to be accorded in expressing themselves. For example, visitors to a specified area of the School of Arts, Design, and Media Arts that is designated for the display of art enter such an area for the explicit purpose of viewing works of art; and visitors should expect on occasion to confront the more disruptive or discomfiting properties of art. Casual visitors to the campus or other persons traveling through our public space, however, may legitimately expect that their presence will be respected by others; and they should not be forced to confront unnecessary obstacles to the conduct of their business or have that business interfered with. Just as artists resist the imposition of others’ aesthetic judgment to constrain artistic expression, they in turn should refrain from imposing themselves on others. Accordingly, students and employees who wish to display works of art on campus should exercise discretion regarding which displays are located in general-traffic areas, so as not to obstruct or interfere with the College’s normal activities.
  9. I. Designated Areas for Displays of Art
    1. The following portions of SFCC premises are designated solely or primarily for the display of art (the numbers on the attached diagram coincide with the numbering of this list):
      1. Educational Areas:
        1. Visual Art Gallery, Room 701
        2. East Wing Gallery
        3. Media Arts Hallway Gallery
        4. Courtyard B
        5. Courtyard C
        6. Multipurpose rooms 727 and 711, classrooms used for lectures and exhibitions
        7. External sculpture yard, known as the “Working Courtyard”
        8. External Art Gallery, known as “Area A”
        9. Areas designated to lessees to display student art.
      2. Art on Campus venues:
        1. Perimeter campus walkway
        2. Public spaces and offices on SFCC main campus
        3. Grounds, offices and public spaces at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President of Finance/Chief Financial Officer and the Facilities and Operations Office), shall be responsible for enforcing art installation policies and procedures. The Facilities and Operations office shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and to develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.


SFCC Governing Board approved: 1/15/02
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 2/18/16

Associated Procedures