Charitable Donations – Artwork

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All University Personnel
Last Revised:
October 23, 2013
Director of Finance
Approved By:
Board of Governors
Senior Financial Officer (306) 790-5950 ext. 2405


First Nations University of Canada has a unique collection of art that is composed of both pieces that are part of the Native Heritage Collection of Canada and other pieces forming the permanent collection of art of the university. The university maintains art for the purpose of encouraging and preserving the artistic heritage of Aboriginal peoples of Canada.


“Donation” – a voluntary and gratuitous transfer of a piece of artwork in which the donor disposes of the property and the University receives the property given;

“Charitable Receipt” – an official receipt issued by the University in the name of the donor to be claimed for income tax purposes in an amount determined by a professional independent appraisal provided to the University at the time of the donation;

“Collection Committee” – a group of individuals comprised of: 1) Head of Indigenous Arts & Culture programs; 2) Two faculty representatives; 3) President of the Native Heritage Foundation; 4) Senior Financial Officer; 5) Department of Indian Fine Arts Research Assistant; 6) Indian Fine Arts student; and 7) One external representative. This committee is entrusted with the duty of establishing policy related to the acquisition, governance, display and management of the art collection;

“De-accession Process” – an ongoing process by which artwork owned by the university is continually assessed for relevance to the overall collection with protocols to be observed in removing a piece of artwork from the collection;


Roles and Responsibilities of the Collection Committee

  1. General
    1. Responsible for the acquisition and display of artwork to meet the educational mandate of the university;
    2. Responsible for the safeguarding, storage and maintenance of the artwork collection;
    3. To assist in communications involving public display and programming related to the artwork collection;
    4. To recommend policy revisions to the Executive Management Team as they are considered advisable;
    5. To avoid conflict of interest situations all members of the committee will ensure that:
      1. No member of the collection committee or their immediate family may sell or donate awork of art to the university;
      2. No member of the collection committee should actively compete with the university inthe acquisition of a particular piece of artwork;
      3. No member of the collection committee may act as an agent for the insurance of the collection;
      4. No member of the collection committee will make a financial evaluation of works of art for a fee nor will they give any certification or written statement of authenticity; and
      5. No purchases for any individual including committee members will be made in the name of the collection.
  2. Acquisitions
    1. Except in rare circumstances, no piece of artwork will be acquired by the university for monetary consideration;
    2. Collection emphasis will be placed on works of Indigenous artists as well as art relating to certain regions traditionally and historically associated with Saskatchewan such as the Northwest Territories in the 19th century;
    3. Artwork acquired should be of the highest artistic quality;
    4. Employees are not permitted to accept artwork on behalf of the University;
    5. All works of art acquired must be in a good state of preservation (not works that have been restored or reworked or works that will require extensive conservation before handling or display or will require special storage facilities, unless these works are considered essential to the overall collection);
    6. All works of art added to the collection must be in quantities that are within the University’s collection management resources so that the acquisitions will not reduce the ability to care for the existing collection or strain available resources;
    7. All works of art added to the collection must be original pieces as opposed to replicas, reproductions and casts bearing in mind that multiple originals are normal in bronze and marble sculpture as well as printmaking, illustrated books, photography, film and video;
    8. Collect works of art from a wide range of mediums and styles;
    9. Acquisition proposals should be presented to the collection committee for their assessment and to prepare a recommendation on the attribution and contribution that the work will make to the overall collection. All recommendations must be referred to the President for final approval.
    10. No piece of artwork will be accepted if there is any question as to legal title or authenticity or if it may have been removed illegally from its country of origin or if ownership by the university would be objectionable to the people of whose culture it represents;
    11. All relevant documentation including the sale/transfer agreement, conditions (if any), professional appraisal, letter of authenticity, artists resume and biographical information, medium, size and date of production, special care and handling instructions and contact information relating to the artist or dealer should be retained;
    12. Donated artwork for which a charitable receipt is requested must be professionally appraised at the donor’s expense prior to the artwork being accepted;
    13. All donations will constitute a complete transfer of ownership, without restrictions;
    14. The University may refuse the whole or part of any proffered donation.
  3. De-accession
    1. Any decision involving the de-accession of any piece of artwork must be approved by a twothirds majority vote of the full committee;
    2. Any restrictions or commitments agreed to at the time a piece was acquired will remain as restrictions for de-accession as well with the committee’s actions governed accordingly;
    3. Memorial gifts will not normally be de-accessioned unless undertaken with the approval of the donor or his/her family or power-of-attorney;
    4. When a decision is made to de-access a piece of artwork the following steps will be taken in descending order:
      1. The artwork(s) would be offered back to the donor or donor’s family;
      2. Other museums should be contacted about the possibility of an exchange for artwork(s) more relevant to the University’s collection;
      3. The artwork(s) should be offered to other museums, archives, educational or cultural institutions;
      4. The artwork(s) could be sold through public auction;
      5. The artwork(s), as a last resort, will be destroyed or disposed of under the guidance of a trained conservator.
    5. Prior to the de-accession the artwork(s) will be thoroughly documented as follows:
      1. A technical description will be prepared with photographs and other relevant information;
      2. The process will be documented and retained in hard copy and digital form;
      3. The accession and catalogue numbers of the de-accessioned artwork(s) will not be reassigned;
      4. When the de-accession involves the transfer of ownership or responsibility, the transferal information must be included on the de-accessioning form;
      5. It must be noted in red ink on the catalogue worksheet and on all hard copy documents relating to the artwork, that the work has been de-accessioned and is no longer in the University’s care.
  4. Exhibition and Display of the Collection
    1. The University is committed to the educational dissemination of its collection and will encourage the sharing of pieces from its collection for outside exhibitions, traveling exhibitions or displays in public locations;
    2. When artwork(s) owned by the University is considered for exhibitions or outside display the contacting organization, curator or individual will be required to provide the following information:
      1. Exhibition or display timelines;
      2. Location and condition details for the display;
      3. Transportation arrangements;
      4. Storage facilities used while the works are not on display, if applicable;
      5. Qualifications of user in taking care of the works;
      6. Confirmation of insurance.
    3. A selection of the artwork maintained at the Regina campus should be on continual display and rotated at least yearly;
    4. The artwork maintained at the Saskatoon and Prince Albert campuses should be on continual display and rotated within the campuses at least every two years;
    5. Any damage to work on display at any campus should be reported immediately to the Head of Indigenous Arts & Culture and thoroughly documented with an incident report and photographs retained;
    6. Proper safeguarding and security measures should be taken with all artwork on display in public areas.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Artwork will not be acquired, stored, displayed, exhibited or de-accessioned without strict adherence to these policy terms.


All donations of artwork with necessary documentation, including the recommendation from the Collection Committee and approval by the Executive Team, as described in this policy must be communicated to the Receivables Clerk in Finance for preparation of the charitable receipt. The charitable receipt will be forwarded to the President’s Executive Assistant where a thank you letter and acknowledgement will be sent to the donor from the President along with the receipt.

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