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It’s Only Temporary: Public Art and the Museum

Thesis by Molly Mandeltort (2016)

This descriptive study examines the process of commissioning public artworks formally determined or directed by their environments—ie: sculpture gardens and site­-specific public art installations—from the perspective of the museum. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with museum professionals from the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Hammer Museum, the Walker Art Center, and the Seattle Art Museum. Findings suggest that art installations sited outside the four walls of the institution are treated as an extension of the traditional gallery experience. Furthermore, there is an interest in using community-based practice to reach new publics, but the barriers to exhibiting these types of artworks are space limitations, lack of infrastructure to sustain community-based practice, and prohibitive costs in both the short- and long-term.


Keywords: research, public art, education, community-based practice, public art, site-specific


Mandeltort, M. R. (2016). It’s only temporary: Public art and the museum (Order No. 10138562). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1821306716). Retrieved from