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Donate Art to the City

The City of Highland Park public art collection has been in development since the mid-1920s when the War Memorial in Memorial Park was dedicated. Over time numerous other artworks have been acquired and placed for the public’s benefit.

In order to effectively manage the public art acquisition process, the City Council has adopted the following guidelines for the consideration of artwork to be purchased by the City or donated artworks to be accepted into the City’s collection.

This policy acknowledges the generosity of the offer to donate an artwork to the public art collection but recognizes that consideration of acceptance must be balanced with the recognition that the artwork will be an ongoing presence in the City landscape and an ongoing obligation of the City of Highland Park.

The criteria used to determine whether the City should acquire, either through purchase or donation, an artwork are the following:

  • The City seeks to acquire works of art whose aesthetics heighten the impact of a particular site.
  • Priority shall be given to works of artists from Highland Park, the Chicago area and the State of Illinois.
  • The City Council, in consultation with the Cultural Arts Advisory Group, will define and recommend sites for works of art in consideration. The Cultural Arts Advisory Group may consult with other City entities (such as the Plan and Design Commission) or outside consultants such as landscape designers, as appropriate.
  • Fine art acquisition and placement decisions will consider:
                       - The aesthetic importance of the work of art.
                       - The aesthetic suitability of the work to the particular context.
                       - The educational aims of the City and its role as a public institution.
                       - Public accessibility.
                       - Conditions imposed by the artist or donor.

In addition, works of art under consideration shall: 

  • Be an original work or authorized limited edition.
  • Be created of suitable materials for placement outdoors or indoors as appropriate.
  • Not present the City with burdensome requirements with regard to maintenance or conservation.
  • Not present a hazard to staff or the public, with special consideration given to children and people with disabilities.
  • Present no intellectual property barrier to display or use.
  • Be submitted as an unrestricted donation or with such conditions as may be acceptable to the City Council.

Offers determined to be of potential benefit will be brought to the attention of the Cultural Arts Advisory Group. Documentation of the offer and pertinent information shall be provided for CAAG review and an informed evaluation.

Offers of items clearly outside the collecting scope of the City may be refused by the City Council with input from the Cultural Arts Advisory Group at the time of the initial offer.

The Commission will consider each potentially desirable offer in view of the guidelines listed above and will present its recommendation to City Council and seek a vote by the full.

  • If the decision is affirmative, the City will proceed with the acquisition and accession into the collection and work with an appropriately trained architect and/or landscape architect to site the work.
  • If the decision is negative, the City Manager or their designee will notify the donor as soon as possible after the action of the Council. A record of each offer shall be maintained in the City Manager Office files.
  • Gifts from artists of their own works of art may be considered. Recommendations shall be made in consideration of the Accession Policies guidelines outlined above.
  • The City Council, in consultation with the Cultural Arts Advisory Group, may solicit contributions from selected artists.
  • Gifts of works of art or funds for fine art purchases are tax deductible in accordance with the guidelines of the Internal Revenue Service. The professional staff will not assume responsibility for appraisals. However, staff may direct donors to reputable appraisers for determination of current market value. Fees charged for the evaluation of gifts must be borne by the donor. It is customary for the City Manager to be informed of the appraisal value at the time of the donation and to keep this information on file.

In order for the Cultural Arts Advisory Group (CAAG) to properly review and make recommendations to the City Manager and City Council regarding your proposal for donation, you will need to submit a formal application at least ten days in advance of a Commission meeting. Proposals should be directed to the City Manager who in turn will direct the matter to the CAAG.

Applications for donation submitted to the Commission should contain as much detail as possible concerning the proposed artwork.