RU Library Artwork Guidelines

RU Library is a one of the larger public and communally shared spaces on the campus and there is space to accommodate artwork, both inside the building and externally. The library can contribute towards both the concepts of literary and visual literacy.

The curatorial concept is to house South African art, and where applicable some areas of the library will be themed. (For example themes may speak to a RU subject discipline, may reflect SA figures of learning, or be themed by material art type).  


Guiding Principals:

The acquisition of art is to be guided by the ‘Space identification document’ compiled by the Art work Task Team. Size, quantity and type of art is to be guided by the library’s spatial considerations

Artwork may be of differing materials and formats including paintings, graphic prints, visual art, murals, tapestry, sculptures and pottery (both freestanding and hanging).

Where appropriate there will be a focus on Eastern Cape art, but artwork from the rest of South Africa is not to be excluded.

Points to Note:

It is agreed that the George Hallett pictures should remain in a position of prominence in the library.

Artwork is to be prioritized for the key public and communal areas of the library.

There is a need to identify potential artwork and potential donors.  Artwork can be acquired by appealing to donors and by commission via a budget.

The university may call for tender or commission particular artists. For example commission works which respond to the ‘RU institutional culture’.

Artwork may include community engagement where there is collaboration with community artists in the making up of art for the library.

‘Sponsored areas’ of artwork in the library is a possibility, with acknowledgement of the donor, for example a collection of art for a particular room or area of the library.

Artwork will contribute to making the library a ‘critical’ space for engagement, as people naturally respond to art.

Artwork could reflect the subject discipline on the differing library levels.

The area next to the main library staircase lends itself to a large sculptured work, which could be suspended or freestanding.  The space calls for a unique artwork and the work could be decided on via a competitive process for artists.

A designated rotating art project space could be identified for the library. Rotation would be quarterly or by semester and would need co-operative management by both the Library and the Fine Art Department.

Artwork from the ‘old’ library is to be reviewed for hanging particularly artwork by Walter Battiss, John English and Diane Mclean.

Artwork must be authentic, and print editions must be the original fine art editorial print.

Well known RU Fine Art Alumni are a potential source for donation or for commission of artwork.

The Library Director is to indicate whether library staff may have their own agency with regard to artwork in the staff offices.

It is generally accepted that artwork hangs by 1, 3 or 5 artworks, and the ideal height from the ground for viewing is 1.55 meters. If glass is used, it is advisable it be non-glazed glass.

It is recognized that some fixtures in the library i.e. noticeboards, acknowledgement plaques may need to be repositioned so as to integrate artwork into the best viewing space. Any moving of library fixtures will be in consultation with the Library Management Committee.

It is noted that the task team should anticipate controversy. People have different tastes in art, and understanding of the role of art in public spaces. It is acknowledged one of the roles of art is to promote robust debate.

The RU Library Artwork policy proposal is intended to give direction to the process of acquisition and exhibition of art in the library. It is not a prescriptive document.

Approved by the RUL LMC, September 2012.

Approved by the Library Committee, Sub-committee: Collection Development, December  2012.


Last Modified: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 11:10:12 SAST