Hays County is a place that values freedom of expression in the visual arts, but the Government Center does not serve as a gallery or museum. The County reserves the right to relocate or remove works of art at its own discretion. Exhibiting works of art does not create a public forum. The Hays County Fine Art Insurance Policy covers works of art loaned to the county for display while they are on premises under the care of county personnel.
The county will take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the works of art loaned to it, but is not responsible for damage or theft, except in cases covered by the fine arts insurance policy. The organization or artist lending the work of art assumes all risks not covered. This year, 549 photographs were presented, with 150 selected for the exhibition. The Art Committee may reschedule or cancel an exhibition at its sole discretion at any time before the start date of the exhibition.
Works of art presented in electronic format may be displayed without the audio portion, if any, at the discretion of the Arts Committee and as needed to carry out commercial activities at the Hays County Government Center. The artist or organization must lend works of art for an exhibition to the County at no cost to the County. The Art Committee is the sole curator of an exhibition at the Hays County Government Center, with absolute discretion as to the selection and location of works of art. If the Art Committee decides to appoint a selection panel, its members may include county staff and community representatives. The organization or artist lending works of art for an exhibition at the Hays County Government Center shall provide an appropriate replacement, subject to approval by the Art Committee, for works of art removed from an exhibition before its completion. The works of art exhibited at the Hays County Government Center may be for sale by the organization or artist, provided that the works sold remain on display until the end of the exhibition.
The works of art displayed in these public areas should be appropriate for an office environment and for viewing by public officials, county employees, and citizens who carry out business transactions in the building. The Art Committee may cancel an exhibition on display if it determines that cancellation is necessary to protect artwork or because of an unexpected use of the building. Public art will not be displayed in courtrooms or administrative offices located on first, second, or third floors. If a complaint is received stating that a particular work of art is mocking, vulgar, appalling, or otherwise offensive to visitors, it will be reviewed by the county judge and a decision will be made. The art center has partnered with local artists and restaurants to raise funds for the Hays County Food Bank through an event called Empty Bowl entitled “Buy a Bowl, Feed 100 People”.
However, since Hays County Government Center is attended by citizens with diverse opinions and backgrounds who come there to do business with the county, it does not function as a gallery or museum. The Art Committee may invite organizations or individuals to submit a proposal for an exhibition at the Government Center. Works of art displayed at the Hays County Government Center during an exhibition will remain in place until its completion unless approved by the Art Committee for early removal.