Commissioned Public Art

Hennepin County Library Board Policy


The purpose of this policy is to express the role public art plays in libraries and to provide guidance and direction for the selection of commissioned public art. The Board understands this policy will not anticipate the creative scope of possibilities for public art projects. It is the intent, therefore, of this policy to provide a broad framework for decision making that does not unduly limit creative potential.


For the purpose of this policy, public art is defined as an original work of commissioned art that is accessible to the public. It is designed for a specific library, reflects the local community, and is intended to support the library as a gathering place where all residents come to learn, grow, and spend time together.


  • The State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, and the Hennepin County Library Board recognize that the presence of public art contributes to the life and vitality of our community.
  • Public art in library buildings contributes to the library’s mission to nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together. It helps to create a community identity and a place of contemplation and curiosity.
  • Public art enhances the library experience; it creates positive public environments; reflects our legacy, and expresses our diversity.
  • Engaged participation by members of the community strengthens the art selection process and builds community excitement.


This policy applies to the acquisition of all public art that is commissioned for the Hennepin County Library. Commissioned public art may be acquired in one of two ways:

  1. Hennepin County’s “one percent for art” program in which library capital building projects of $1 million or more have 1% of the project costs (defined herein as encompassing construction costs, architectural fees, and contingency) dedicated to the selection, purchase, and installation of works of public art.
  2. Public art proposals submitted to Hennepin County Library by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Art Selection Committees

The Library Director, the Hennepin County Library Board President, and the Executive Director of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library will coordinate the formation of an Art Selection Committee for each capital building project. The Art Selection Committee will include members of the community and reflect its diversity.

Additional Art Selection Committees may be established by the Library Director in response to proposals from the Friends of the Hennepin County Library to commission public art for libraries.

The Library Board President will appoint a Library Board member to each Art Selection Committee. Appointees will be active participants in the commissioned art selection process and report progress to the full Library Board.

Selection Considerations

The following considerations will be used by Art Selection Committees to guide the evaluation and selection of commissioned art proposals. The extent to which the public art:

  • Celebrates, explores and includes the diverse histories and cultures of the community
  • Has broad and timeless appeal
  • Represents artistic excellence and innovation
  • Is designed for a publicly visible and accessible area
  • Is safe, durable and able to withstand theft, vandalism and exposure to the environment
  • Requires low maintenance

Roles and Responsibilities

  • The Library Director (or designee) will maintain an administrative policy which details the composition, responsibilities, and authority of Art Selection Committees and which defines the subsequent staff responsibilities for acquiring and maintaining the selected art.
  • The Art Selection Committees will uphold the Principles and Selection Considerations outlined in this policy.
  • Hennepin County directs the art installation by the artist.
  • The Library Board will take formal action to acknowledge and receive the commissioned art, once it is installed.

Associated Resolutions and Laws


This policy is reviewed by the Library Director (or designee) every four years, or more frequently as needed. Recommendations are forwarded to a Library Board committee. The committee reviews and revises as necessary, endorses and advances to the full Library Board for approval.

Policy History

Next Review Date: 2022
Date Approved: 2018