McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory provides conservation services to the national public art collection administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Work takes place throughout the contiguous United States as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The nature of our work for GSA can be divided into three aspects:
Work with Public Art in the GSA ART-IN-ARCHITECTURE Program
The company has been the sole IDIQ contract conservator for the GSA Art-in-Architecture Program for the past 18 years, caring for federal public art installations dating from 1973 throughout the United States. This collection contains much of the greatest public artwork in America and the collection expands with commissions every year for new federal building construction. The company has just completed its third consecutive 5-year indefinite quantity/indefinite delivery (ID/IQ) contract with GSA caring for this national collection.
The GSA Art in Architecture Program oversees the commissioning of artworks for new federal buildings nationwide. These artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.
GSA reserves one-half of one percent of the estimated construction cost of each new federal building to commission project artists. A panel composed of art professionals, civic and community representatives, the project’s lead design architect, and GSA staff meets to discuss opportunities for artists to participate in the building project. This panel reviews a diverse pool of artist candidates and nominates finalists for GSA to evaluate. Artists who receive federal commissions work with the project architects and others as members of a design team to ensure that the artworks are meaningfully integrated into the overall project.
In this capacity, McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory, Inc. routinely:
- Provides treatments for condition problems in over 200 public works of art located at federal spaces throughout the United States. Some treatments have been performed on-site and others at our large facilities located just outside of Oberlin, Ohio. Typically, these art works are sculptures, mosaics and fountains.
- Examines, assesses, and reports on the condition of a collection over 200 installed public works of art located throughout the United States and advises the government on treatment needs. Typically, these art works are sculptures, mosaics and fountains.
- Writes maintenance procedures for examined works of public art on federal properties throughout the United States for central planning.
- Writes care guidelines for GSA to deliver over its network to property managers so they will know how to protect the public art on their properties and in their buildings.
- Participates as a “Professional Peer” on review committees including architects, engineers, and art curators for new federal public art commissions. In this capacity, McKay Lodge, Inc. conservators speak to matters of best practice construction, stability, maintenance, safety and operation as these are relevant to particular new commissions under consideration
Work with Public Art in the GSA FINE ARTS PROGRAM
The company has been the sole contract conservator for the GSA Fine Arts Program for 18 years caring for the older federal public art installations throughout the United States.
Work of these contracts includes:
- The design and performance of necessary preservation and repair treatments, temporary relocations for building renovations, and reinstallations.
- Condition assessments and technical studies, materials identification, problem solving and recommendations for treatments.
- Designing and writing maintenance procedures and identification of optimal maintenance products.
These are mostly outdoor sculptural works of stone and bronze commissioned from the late 19th century by the United States government for the enjoyment and edification of the public by adorning public spaces in this country.
The Fine Arts Program manages GSA’s Fine Arts Collection to ensure its safety, accessibility, preservation, and appropriate use in order to enhance and promote high-quality work environments for federal agencies and the public they serve.
The Fine Arts Collection is one of our nation’s oldest and largest public art collections. It consists of permanently installed and moveable mural paintings, sculpture, architectural or environmental works of art, and works on paper dating from 1850 to the present. These civic works of art are in federal buildings and courthouses across the United States. In addition, more than 20,000 small moveable New Deal works of art are on long-term loan to museums and other nonprofit institutions. Maintained by GSA as a part of our national and cultural heritage, the Fine Arts Collection serves as a reminder of the important tradition of individual creative expression.
Work with Public Art in the GSA DESIGN EXCELLENCE PROGRAM
McKay Art Conservation Lodge, Inc. participates in the GSA Design Excellence Program on technical and preservation matters involving art in the architectural environment. This participation is as a technical reviewer at a phase in the process of commissioning public art when matters are considered by the artists, conservators, architects, engineers and GSA officials relating to the effects of location on the maintenance and preservation of artworks, projections of maintenance costs, and any recommendations for materials or construction alterations that may benefit the longevity of the artwork with the artist’s approval.
GSA manages architects and engineers to provide design for federal clients needing new workspace. To achieve top-quality design talent, GSA has instituted the Design Excellence Program, which includes a streamlined two-step architect/engineer selection process and the use of private-sector peers such as conservators to provide feedback to the architect/engineer of record.
The program stresses creativity. It also streamlines the way GSA hires architects and engineers, substantially cutting the cost of competing for GSA design contracts.
The Design Excellence Program operates through GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS). GSA’s PBS directs the federal government’s multibillion-dollar building program, which includes construction, renovation, alteration, and repair of federal office buildings, courthouses, and other facilities. Most of GSA’s work is in partnership with architect/engineer groups from the private sector.