15 FAM 740
OFFICE OF ART IN EMBASSIES (OBO/OPS/ART)
(Office of Origin: OBO)
15 fam 741 OFFICE OF art in embassies (obo/OPS/art)
The Office of Art in Embassies, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/ART), curates, plans, and administers exhibitions of original art for overseas chief-of-mission residences. The majority of works are on loan from artists, dealers, institutions, foundations, corporations, museums, and public and private collections. The office oversees all aspects—from creation to installation—of the permanent art collections for the public spaces of all embassies, consulates, annexes, and major renovations under the Capital Security Construction Program (CSCP). These collections foster cultural exchange and highlight the artistic heritage of the United States and the host country.
15 fam 742 program purpose
a. In collaboration with an ambassador or a U.S. representative to an international organization abroad (when a principal officer), OBO/OPS/ART creates and assembles loaned art exhibitions for chief-of-mission residences. The exhibitions provide a cultural backdrop for representational activities and facilitate cross-cultural communication. Exhibitions are contingent upon several variables, including regional bureau policy and budget, shipping constraints, post facilities, and climatic and security conditions; see 15 FAM 773.
b. The program also includes art acquisitions for capital construction projects in new chanceries, consulates, and annexes. OBO/OPS/ART selects and commissions works by artists from both the host country and the United States for these permanent collections.
c. Additional information is available on OBO/OPS/ART’s website.
15 FAM 743 OFFICE OF Art in Embassies: Requirements
a. Responsibilities: The Office of Art in Embassies, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/ART), curates temporary exhibitions for the representational areas of chief-of-mission residences (CMR), and identifies possible artists and lenders for each exhibition. OBO/OPS/ART oversees all logistical aspects with regard to the consolidation, crating, and shipment of the exhibition to post. Additionally, OBO/OPS/ART provides the fine arts insurance coverage. The regional bureaus fund the loan exhibitions, including consolidation, crating, and transportation costs. Post and the ambassador must follow the instructions provided by the lenders and OBO/OPS/ART for the care, handling, and safekeeping of the works of art. The ambassador must observe the terms of the loan agreement and the return of the works of art. (See 14 FAM 411.2-9 for employee responsibilities related to personal property and 14 FAM 411.3-2 for compliance enforcement.)
b. Receiving art: Before the works of art arrive at post, OBO/OPS/ART cables a detailed inventory and instructions for unpacking and handling of the shipment. Comprehensive information concerning care and safekeeping follows in a separate cable.
c. Installing art: In residences that OBO has designated as historic or culturally significant, special care must be taken to avoid damaging historic or high-value wall surfaces, finishes, or architectural elements. Repairs to these surfaces can be expensive and difficult to accomplish. Post and OBO/OPS/ART share the responsibility for ensuring that historic building materials are not damaged by OBO/OPS/ART installations, and post has sole responsibility for guarding against damage from non-OBO/OPS/ART installations. The Office of Cultural Heritage, Directorate for Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/CH) and the Architectural Design Division, Office of Design and Engineering, Directorate for Program Development, Coordination, and Support, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/PDCS/DE/AD), must give written approval to mount non-OBO/OPS/ART-installed art directly to walls in CH facilities.
d. Preserving shipping materials: Post must retain shipping crates and packing material in a climate-controlled area, preferably at the ambassador’s residence or in a post climate-controlled warehouse, for the artworks’ eventual return.
e. Safeguarding art during display: Post should place works of art away from the flow of traffic. Do not install art outdoors, in bathrooms, above lighted candles or over working fireplaces, in direct sunlight, in nonrepresentational rooms, under hot lights, or in damp or humid environments. Do not place floral arrangements against or under unglazed works of art. OBO/OPS/ART monitors the location and condition of the works of art at post, including climate control. OBO/OPS/ART will notify OBO/PDCS/DE whenever deficient climate conditions exist. Do not hang art while these deficient conditions exist. Post must contact OBO/OPS/ART before cleaning or moving the works of art. For any renovation or repair near the works of art, post must request moving and storage instructions from OBO/OPS/ART.
f. Returning art: Post must pack and ship art to the Department under the ambassador’s recognizance. OBO/OPS/ART will provide complete packing and shipping instructions to post. Post must return the works of art prior to the ambassador’s final departure from post. A U.S. citizen employee must supervise all packing.
g. Art at posts in crisis: OBO/OPS/ART may recall art with clearance from the regional bureau’s executive director. If a post is in crisis, OBO can only offer art from the U.S. Government-owned (GO) collection.
h. Publications: Funding permitting, OBO/OPS/ART creates a full-color multilingual publication for the loaned Office of Art in Embassies exhibitions. The publication serves as an educational public diplomacy tool for post, documents the exhibition, promotes the artists, and acknowledges the generosity of lenders. OBO/OPS/ART determines the format, design, content, and serves as liaison with the printer. Post provides all translation services.
i. Artists Exchange/Artists Abroad: OBO/OPS/ART selects and funds a limited number of artists per year to participate in the Artists Exchange/Artists Abroad Program. OBO/OPS ART coordinates with posts on cultural exchanges and short-term cultural programs for artists and/or lenders. OBO/OPS/ART funds travel, lodging, meals, incidentals, and other expenses.
j. Capital projects: OBO/OPS/ART creates permanent art collections for all new chanceries, consulates, and annexes. OBO/OPS/ART oversees all aspects of the collections for the capital security construction projects, including budgetary planning, selection, commission, acquisition, shipping, and permanent placement of the art within the representational spaces. The collections reinforce the cultural connections to the host country. OBO/OPS/ART manages project funds. Once the collection is permanently installed, OBO/OPS/CH takes responsibility for it.
k. Donations: OBO/OPS/ART maintains an inventory of works on loan and donated to OBO/OPS/ART.
l. OBO ART Committee: OBO/OPS/ART chairs the OBO Art Committee.
15 FAM 744 THROUGH 749 unassigned