A long, twisting and winding, turquoise blue, ribbon-like artwork is attached to a wooden fence. There are text cutouts on the artwork. There are trees in the foreground and buildings in the background.
"All the Rivers in the World, Tacoma" (2019) by Vaughn Bell, located at the University of Washington Tacoma, in Western Washington.
This undulating, 270-foot-long sculpture celebrates the Puyallup River as a lifeline and connector. It reflects on how UWT and the city of Tacoma are home to people from all over the world. Click to learn more about this artwork on My Public Art Portal. Photo by Joe Freeman. Part of Washington's State Art Collection.

Artwork Acquisition

How do we acquire artworks for the State Art Collection?

The selection of an artwork for the State Art Collection starts with an Interagency Agreement. This contract lays out the process of acquiring and caring for artworks between ArtsWA and the agency or site where the artwork will be located. We then compile a Partner Agency Contact Sheet. This sheet lists all the people who will need to contact each other for the project. Our partner agency then works to put together a local art selection committee.

We work closely with partner agencies and sites to choose an artist and develop an artwork that is reflective of the community’s values. Depending on the agency, the local committee follows one of these guidelines:

The local art selection committee chooses an artist from the Public Artist Roster. The development of the artwork then proceeds in phases. Each phase requires its own documentation.

  • Proposal Phase | The commissioned artist must sign a contract with ArtsWA, called the Proposal Development Contract. During the proposal phase of a new public art project, artists will consult with a conservator. After this consultation, the artist presents their preliminary concept to the local committee. We then require a detailed conservation review. This review looks at the materials, maintenance responsibilities, and life expectancy of the proposed artwork.
  • Fabrication and Installation Phase | The next phase of the project involves fabrication and installation of the artwork. This requires a separate Commission Contract between the commissioned artist and ArtsWA. Before we consider a project complete, the artist must also submit a Detailed Artwork Report Form. Please contact Michelle Avitia michelle.avitia@arts.wa.gov for a copy of this form.
Resources for Artists

For more information about our process, please review the following publications:

Public Artist Handbook. Learn what we expect from an artist selected to create a site-responsive work of public art.

  • Manual del Artista Público. Conozca lo que esperamos de un artista seleccionado para crear una obra de arte pública que responda al sitio.

Detailed Artwork Report. Artists provide us with technical information about their artwork so we can plan future maintenance.

Materials and Fabrication Handbook. Review our recommendations and requirements for materials, fabrication methods, and placement for commissioned artwork.

Painting Materials Guide. A straightforward guide designed for artists with painted mural projects at K-12 public schools.

Artwork Presentation/Framing Guide. Review our requirements for framing your two-dimensional artwork, including works on paper and paintings on fabric.

ArtCare: Collections Management Policy for Washington’s State Art Collection. Review our collections management policies and procedures. This includes information about artwork conservation, deaccession, and rights and reproductions.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Art in Public Places program, please contact:

Mike Sweney, AIPP Program Manager at mike.sweney@arts.wa.gov or 360-228-4080.

Explore More of the State Art Collection: