Taking the lead to help elected officials display art in offices

Notes and recommendations

Helping local or state elected officials display art in their Capitol or local offices is a great and ongoing advocacy opportunity!  The goals are to keep art and local artists in the sight and consciousness of decision-makers on a daily basis, and developing and sustaining a pro-active partnership as a community and cultural resource with your legislators and staff.  Below are notes and recommendations on the process.

Keep in mind that there’s a lot of flexibility in the way the process is introduced and evolves.  Think of this as a partnership with and service to your legislator.  It’s important to keep it interesting and beneficial for all, and to keep the details as simple and logistically easy as possible so that it’s seen as a positive benefit for and connection between the legislator and constituents.


  • Recommend artists and artwork from the legislator’s district for display.  2d work is easier to deal with, but 3d work is possible if there are appropriate places for display in legislators’ offices.  It’s important to remember that while you want to maintain high standards and high quality, this is not a full-blown, fully-realized exhibit; it’s effective to have even one or two or a few pieces of art on display.
  • Arrange and monitor logistics and details of picking up, hanging, taking down, returning artwork, with legislator’s office and artist.    All parties should agree to work together to make sure the transfer process works as well as possible for all.    Note:  2d work must be hung using a specific hanging system in the Capitol—nails or hooks in walls are not allowed.  The Capitol maintenance staff must be involved in the display process and can be allies in ensuring that work is hung correctly and safely.
  • Hang and take down work in legislator’s office, if logistically feasible.  Travel to the State Capitol in Madison is not necessarily mandated – it’s possible for the coordinator to make arrangements with the legislator and his/her staff to pick up/return the work when they are back home in the district on weekends or other times.
  • Work with coordinator on logistics and any other arrangements.
  • The state’s overall insurance policy provides basic coverage for the artwork on display; it’s important to make sure that exhibited artists understand and are comfortable with that arrangement.


  • Provide appropriate wall, table, other space to display art work
  • Work with Capitol maintenance staff to ensure appropriate mechanisms for hanging art work, if needed
  • Work with coordinator and artist on logistics, time frame for exhibit and any other arrangements
  • Provide in-office security for artwork
  • Host opening or other celebratory reception if possible
  • Provide contact info for artist in office to offer if requested by visitors
  • Provide additional publicity as needed.


Anne Katz, Executive Director | Arts Wisconsin | 608 255 8316 | akatz@artswisconsin.org


Updated 2-7-13