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Tampa Public Art - Portable Collection

The current portable works collection consists of 500 works located in city facilities. Some challenges that public programs face with portable works collections include: artworks that are too large for office spaces, are in poor condition, or contain inappropriate imagery. The recommendations here are intended to address problems and to focus the collection for the future:

Purpose of the Portable Works Collection

To acquire and display interior artwork that educates the public, and expand upon the commissioned work in the City's permanent collection; and to acquire and display drawings and models of commissioned artwork in the collection.

Selection Criteria

The portable works collection is exhibited in the most public areas of public buildings. The following criteria have been developed to guide the acceptance of donations or the purchase of artworks for the collection. The portable works collection should bear a relationship to Public Art and to the TPA collection.

Criteria to be considered in selection include:

  • Acquisition of works by Regional Artists
  • Acquisition of works by artists who have been commissioned through the TPA Program or are active in the field of Public Art
  • Artworks that respond to Florida and its communities or to the Tampa Bay region
  • Small-to-medium scale artworks that can be easily stored and moved as space needs change
  • Imagery or subject matter that is appropriate and is of interest to the general public
  • Artistic merit and relationship to other works in the Collection
  • Artwork that is in good physical condition and its projected future maintenance and conservation costs are not cost prohibitive
  • Availability of City storage, and willingness for protection and preservation of artwork.

If works are being collected for a specific building or department, the Public Art Committee or the selection panel might recommend general themes or guidelines.

Selection Process

Several options are available for selecting works to be purchased depending on the amount of money available for purchase and the intended site. If the work is selected though a panel process, the meeting process outlined herein may serve as a guideline for the purchase panel. Other options include utilization of a 1-3 member selection panel of arts professionals with an advisor from the User Agency, whereby artists submit images of available works, which the panel narrows to a small number that will be viewed by the TPA Administrator for final selection.

Installation Considerations

The following steps should be taken to ensure secure and archival installation of any portable works:

  • Artworks should be framed with UV protective glass, with UV sleeves
  • Works on paper should be hung away from natural light
  • Utilization of acid-free matting, and a tamper-free mounting system
  • Labels and explanatory signage

Care and Maintenance

The portable works collection requires ongoing supervision. All works should be checked at least once per year to insure that work is in its designated location; mounting and frame are secure; and frame, mat and artwork are in good condition. Works that do not meet these criteria should be removed for repair.

Deaccessioning Guidelines

Carefully following the acquisition guidelines should limit the need to remove artwork from the collection. Criteria for the artwork to be deaccessioned include: works that are too large to fit into available or prospective locations; situations where value to repair work exceeds the value of the work itself; work that does not meet the criteria for the collection.

When an artwork does not meet the criteria for the collection, the following steps are outlined in the deaccession procedure. In short, the steps are:

  • Perform a professional appraisal of the artwork
  • Offer the work to the Tampa Museum of Art, to be held on loan from the City
  • Works refused by TMA should be sold or auctioned, and funds from the sale of artworks should be deposited into the Public Art Fund and earmarked for the portable works collection
  • Offer the work to the artist at price or for an exchange
  • Offer the work to other public facilities or schools.


Loans to the portable works collection should be accepted with a set time frame, location and purpose. Long-term loans should be discouraged. Works that are currently on loan to the collection should be evaluated and a set time frame should be established or the work should be returned to the owner.