UCB Libraries

Exhibit and Art Show Procedures

The University Libraries Programming and Communications Office coordinates exhibits in the Norlin Library art galleries, lobbies and other non-departmental spaces, and the Office maintains exhibits policies and procedures. The Office accepts applications from Libraries staff; CU faculty, staff, and students; and the general public. The order of priority is Libraries, campus, and community. Preference and priority is also given to exhibits that relate to academic or research pursuits; and exhibitors are encouraged to include library books in displays.


To apply for exhibit space, complete an "Application for Exhibit Installation in Norlin Library" form, or contact Deborah Fink at deborah.fink@colorado.edu, 303-492-8302, for a copy. Also consult the Libraries web site or contact the Programming and Communications Office for copies of the University Libraries Exhibits Policy or EXHIBIT CASE AND GALLERY SPECIFICATIONS.

Applicants will be notified by phone or email of acceptance or non-acceptance as soon as possible following submission of the application. A copy of the approved application, including installation and dismounting dates and times, will be emailed to the exhibitor.


Striking a display requires almost as much planning, preparation, and care as installing. Notify Programming and Communications in advance of the exact strike date and time. We will notify the building proctor and Norlin Security, make arrangements to provide case keys if required, discuss appropriate clean up, provide material or equipment if required, and set a final inspection time, The exhibitor is responsible for providing glass cleaner, cloth or paper towels, drop cloths, vacuum, ladder, etc., unless arrangements are made in advance with Programming and Communications. Your responsibility for the use of our space is complete when any and all requirements are fulfilled following the final inspection. Thank you for supporting our efforts to accommodate exhibits and art shows in Norlin Library.


A map of art galleries and ‘niche’ display areas and spec sheets for individual cases and spaces are available upon request.


Exhibit space is often in high demand: requested by more than one exhibitor for the same time period, reserved a year in advance, or in frequent use by the Libraries, and Programming and Communications makes every effort to have only minimal periods of time between exhibits. The planning and installation of an exhibit is typically time-consuming. Should an exhibitor decide to cancel a confirmed reservation, Programming and Communications requests immediate notification - preferably two-four weeks prior to the installation date whenever possible.


Promotion of Exhibits, Shows, and Events in the Libraries


The Programming and Communications office will promote your exhibit in a variety of ways, which can include:

  • Flyers
  • Libraries web site
  • Libraries E-list
  • Libraries News Channel in CU Connect
  • Buff Bulletins
  • Local media calendars
  • Press releases

If you would like control over how and where your display is promoted, we will be happy to accommodate that as well. We also have several other options available for promotion, for full details contact the Programming and Communications personnel listed below:


Please click here for the Application Form for Exhibit and Art Installations in Norlin Library


You may choose one of the following options for more information:

Deborah Fink, Programming and Communications Librarian
Norlin Library, M300C
voice: (303) 492-8302
email: deborah.fink@colorado.edu


Guidelines for Exhibit Case Installations


The exhibitor must make arrangements to get the case keys from the Planning and Promotions Librarian or Design and Exhibits Office on the day of the installation. The keys must remain in Norlin at all times. If the installation occurs at more than one time, arrangements must be made for returning the keys and picking them up again. Similar arrangements are required for dismounting exhibits.


Upright cases include one or more glass shelves. Unused shelves may be left on the bottom of the case, but they are very awkward to move and must handled extremely carefully. To add or remove shelves, arrangements must be made in advance for brackets and storage.

Exhibitors are encouraged to include library books in displays. Arrangements can be made to have library books checked out to Programming and Communications for the duration of the exhibit. Library books must be handled with special care, and Programming and Communications can provide assistance and materials for that purpose.


Exhibitors are responsible for providing all other display items and materials. Materials may be mounted on fabric backing with Velcro, pins, or tacks ONLY. Removable - but not double-sided - clear tape, poster tape, or mounting putty may be used on wood and glass surfaces. Exhibitors are responsible for cleaning cases inside and out before AND AFTER use.


Ladders are not generally available in the Norlin building. Exhibitors may need to provide their own ladder if needed or make arrangements with Facilities Management for the delivery and use of a ladder. Please request permission from Programming and Communications for the use of any electrical outlet.

Exhibitors are responsible for the delivery and pick up of display materials directly to and from the assigned exhibit area. If materials are shipped, the exhibitor is responsible for meeting the delivery and transporting it to the assigned exhibit area. The Libraries CANNOT store exhibit or shipping material before or after assigned installation or dismount dates/times due to extreme space shortage in Norlin.


All exhibits must include a printed, highly visible title, a statement of sponsorship, and form statements provided by Programming and Communications indicating how viewers can request any displayed books for check out or research assistance for additional information on the exhibit subject.

The exhibitor is responsible for knowing and abiding by all rules of Libraries use during the installation and dismount of displays. The exhibitor is expected to adhere to east and west entrance door and mailroom hours. Loud talking, excessive noise, and music are forbidden.  When more than a single day is required for installation, please add “Display in Progress” signs to the cases(s).  We can provide ready-made such signs upon request.


The exhibitor is responsible for the appropriate use and care of cases, glass, windows, pedestals, etc. Alterations (painting, holes, etc.) are expressly forbidden. The exhibitor is responsible for any damage to cases et al. and will be expected to repair and/or cover the costs of any damage.


The Programming and Communications Librarian will review all exhibits as soon as possible after installation. Modifications may be requested to ensure conformity to these guidelines or baseline standards of professionalism, aesthetics, or view ability. As detailed in the University Libraries Exhibits Policy, no blanket restrictions are placed upon the subject matter, display materials, or opinions expressed in exhibits, but the Programming and Communications Office does maintain the right to correct the method of installation.


If an exhibit is not removed on the date or at the time indicated on the application form, Programming and Communications may remove the display items and store them until pick up by exhibitor. However, we maintain the right to discard materials that have not been retrieved after four weeks from the dismount date, and secure storage cannot be guaranteed.


The Libraries does not assume any responsibility for the damage, destruction, or loss of any materials while they are displayed or stored in the Libraries. Items on display are covered by the standard campus insurance policy. For informational purposes only, the exhibitor may provide the Planning and Promotions Office a descriptive list of items and their estimated value (an email attachment is preferred), which will be forwarded to the campus Risk Management Office. Exhibitors may inquire about additional security measures for wall-mounted items.


Guidelines for Art Show Installations

  1. Read “How to Exhibit in the Libraries” and submit application form.
  2. Install appropriate hardware on art work (see “Hardware Recommendations” below)
  3. Create labels for show title, artist’s statement, and piece titles (see “Labels” below)
  4. Lay out works (see “Laying out an Effective Show” below)
  5. Hang cables with hooks
  6. Measure center height and install (see “To Find Hook Height on the Wire” below)
  7. Attach self adhesive title labels to wall or use stick it adhesive
  8. Optional: Place pedestal for reception book/information (request from Planning and Promotions staff)

Several “galleries” (1st floor west Underground Gallery & Stoa Gallery; 3rd floor west Ventana Gallery and Triptych Gallery) and many display “niches” are available throughout Norlin.  A map with photos and specs is available.


Most gallery areas feature the “Arti-tec” picture hanging rail system. In the Arti-tec system, cable is suspended from large rounded hooks that attach to picture rail or molding mounted high on the walls. A small, medium, or large hook that can slide up and down each cable is locked at the appropriate height for hanging the art work. Two cables and the heavy duty hooks are used for larger, heavier works.


The highly recommended mounting technique for art works is wire attached 1/3 down from the top of the picture frame (see Hardware Recommendations below).

Laying out an effective show:


As you approach a gallery, notice areas of walls that are more visible than others--these walls are in the ‘sight line,’ which means that art located there can be viewed from a distance. Each gallery space has a number of sight lines depending on the direction of approach. Position in these locations works that have high contrast or are visually appealing from a distance.


photo: 'Sunset Sillouhette' by Casey Cass

Casey Cass’s photograph is an excellent example of a high contrast photograph that is visually appealing at a distance.


Next, consider subject or content groupings. Related subjects can be grouped near each other, for example all Buffalo photographs grouped together, or they can be broken up with other subjects, e.g., a buffalo photograph then football team photo then a campus photo, to create visual variety. This approach applies to sizes of works and color palettes as well. Either group same sizes in areas that suit the scale or create variation by alternating large and small works.

Small intimate areas like the east side of the Triptych gallery are best suited for small intimate works while the west side of the Triptych gallery has open space well suited to larger works.

Also, similar palettes can be grouped together or contrasted next to palettes that are dissimilar but compliment each other. For example, all Monet water lily paintings which have soft pastel purples and blues can be grouped together OR Monets can be located next to a yellow Rothko color field painting, since purple and yellow are complimentary colors. If possible, series of works should be grouped together.


Use the negative space of the gallery walls to frame the art works. Even spacing for similar size works can create a quiet, static presentation. An alternative is to group works closer together to create bundles of visual information interspersed with wide white blank wall space where the eyes and the mind can rest before engaging in the next group of art works. Another approach is to hang one work above another on the same wire, ‘salon style’. This is particularly effective with smaller, related works.


Once the exhibition lay out is complete, place the cables and hooks along the picture hanging rail above the works. Be aware of art against the wall below the ladder, taking care to move the work aside to avoid dropping hardware on the work.


Art is hung 60” on center. This is the National Gallery Standard Height, the average height of the viewer’s eye level.

To find hook height on the wire:

  • Measure the overall height of the work: Ex. 30”
  • Divide the work by ½ 15”
  • Then pull up on the picture wire in the center and measure the distance between the top of the frame and the wire, 3”
  • Then deduct that number from ½ of the overall height 15”-3 = 12”
  • Add 60” [national gallery standard height] and the last number + 12” = 72”
  • Measure up from the ground to 72” and make a light pencil mark on the wall, unscrew the hook on the wire and slide hook to 72”, erase the pencil mark and hang the work. Level the work by placing a torpedo level on the top of the frame and gently slide the hook left or right on the picture wire.

To find the hook heights of two works hung vertically:

  • Find overall height of both works + the distance in between for Ex 30”
  • Divide by 2 and add the Nat’l Gallery hgt. 60” = 72”
  • Deduct the distance of the wire to the top of the frame 3” , 72”-3”= 69”
  • Place the top art work on the hook at 69”, then measure down from the bottom of the top art work the distance between the two works 10”, then add the distance down to the wire pulled up, 3” 10”+3= 13”
  • Place hook on wire 13” below the bottom of the top artwork.
  • Total height of 2 art works + distance between = 30”
  • Divide by ½ 15”
  • Find distances of wire pulled up to frame 3”
  • Subtract wire to frame distance from ½ works 12”
  • Add the Nat’ Gallery Standard Hgt. 60”
  • Total 72” First hook hgt.
  • Measure down from bottom of top work 10”
  • Add distance of pulled up wire of lower art work, 3” = 13”
  • Place hook and hang lower artwork

Hardware recommendations:


Eye screw


Attaching D ring to picture frame, continue to sink screw until it is flush notice D is angled in to minimize visibility




3 methods to tie off the picture wire:



Wire attached 1/3 down from top of picture frame:



Images from http://www.framedestination.com/info12.html



A show title and artist(s)’ statement are highly recommended.


After hanging the entire show place the title labels to the lower left of the work 45” up from the ground 4” away from the work.


Labels should contain the work’s title, year produced, media, and artist’s name.


For Example:
Superman and the Phone Booth, 2006
Digital print
Wonder Woman


We recommend the font Palatino, size 14, printed on clear matte labels.


The artist or Libraries Programming and Communications office may also add an exhibit flyer on the wall near the beginning of the show.


Christine Owen, Summer 2006
Programming and Communications Art Manager


University Policy on Insurance Coverage


Please contact Deborah.Fink@colorado.edu for information about  the University’s policy on insurance coverage.


Guidelines for Receptions and Other Events


For event and reception guidelines contact Programming and Communications Librarian, Deborah Fink at 303-492-8302.


Posted June 2006. Updated September 2009, August 2010.