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Activating Library Spaces

Exhibition and Performance Policy

Exhibits and performances are selected with the intention of achieving an inclusive and balanced program that responds to the developing diversity of the Wesleyan community. These activities are managed to ensure the selection process is transparent and in conjunction with the Library’s Values and Commitments.

The aim of this policy document is to provide a clear summary of the Library’s performance and display activities of student and nonstudent art, in particular outlining the principles, qualifications, and stipulations that inform the process by which individual exhibitions and events are selected.

Statement of Principles

  • Ensure balanced and diverse representation.
  • Support the professional profiles of participating students and community partners.
  • Encourage ideas and curatorial involvement from the student body.
  • Respond to changing community needs.

In general terms, exhibitions and performances should be:

  • Insightful – Allowing opportunities for a range of diverse voices and approaches.
  • Inclusive – Maintaining and expanding contemporary perspectives.
  • Imaginative – Providing insights into the visual and performing arts practices of the Wesleyan community.


This policy covers onsite library exhibitions and performances by students and community partners. It does not cover the full range of creative and other collaborative activities at Wesleyan University [e.g., Unique Collections, SC&A, DAC, CFA/Zilkha Gallery]. Collaborative exhibitions and performances are encouraged and there is the potential for displays to be curated with and by students, artists-in-residence, and other community partners.


  • Exhibition: the public display of artworks, including objects, installations, recordings, projections, etc. of student and nonstudent creative industry in designated library spaces.
  • Performance: the act of staging or presenting a play, piece of music, ceremony, or other form of entertainment.
  • Exhibitor: one who contributes a work of art for display in the Wesleyan libraries.
  • Performer: one who performs a play, scene, concert, ritual, etc. at a scheduled event in the Wesleyan libraries. 
  • Activating Spaces Team: the group that evaluates exhibition and performance proposals to ensure quality and integrity as well as oversees the planning, preparation, installation, and de-installation of library displays and events.


  • All Wesleyan undergraduate and graduate degree (BA, MA, MPhil, MALS, PhD) candidates and alumni may submit proposals.
  • Groups, organizations, and individuals not affiliated with Wesleyan University may submit proposals.
  • Wesleyan faculty, staff, and academic professionals wishing to enhance their area of study or pursue other academic interests may submit proposals.


The Activating Spaces Team maintains the following library spaces for exhibitions/displays:

Olin Library

  • Lobby, 1st floor
  • Gribbel Room, 2nd floor
  • Balcony, 2nd floor
  • Corridor vitrines, Lower level 

Exley Library

  • TBD and open to suggestions

Other areas of the library may be used from time to time. Displays usually run for a period of 6-12 months, but in some instances the display term will be shortened to accommodate internal or external demands and depending on the material to be displayed. Applicants wishing to display their work in the wall cases located on the Lower Level of Olin Library must commit to a one-year exhibition period. The library will inform the artist of the duration of the display prior to its start.

Performances can be held in publicly available spaces in both the Olin and Exley Libraries.*


  • Exhibitors and performers understand that the Library is an unsupervised public space. They assume all risk for lost or damaged artwork, props, instruments, scores, set pieces, etc. The Library will notify exhibitors/performers of any known damage or theft to objects/displays. However, the Library accepts no responsibility for the safety of exhibitions or performances and is not obligated to compensate exhibitors or performers for lost or damaged work.
  • Exhibitors must sign the Exhibitor Agreement Form releasing the Library from liability.
  • The Library reserves the right to de-install any object/display/exhibition for any reason at any time without notification.
  • The Library prohibits anything that would damage paper-based materials, the building, its furnishings, or contents as well as objects/displays that impair egress, block fire pulls, present potential tripping hazards, or promote unsafe conditions. 
    • Some examples of prohibited materials include organic matter, water/liquids (including bodily fluids), fire/combustion, live animals, toxic or any dangerous substances.  
  • Exhibits must adhere to the university policy on Posters, Banners, Announcements, and Other Forms of Communication outlined in the Student Handbook.
  • Exhibitors must be present for the installation of their exhibition. Library staff are not permitted to handle art unless supervised by the artist or an authorized representative.
  • Exhibitors must commit to a de-installation date and be present for the de-installation of their work. Exhibitors absent on the date of de-installation risk removal by untrained staff and the potential disposal of their work.
  • Explanatory text [i.e., exhibition label] must be included for exhibits unless there is a compelling artistic or curatorial reason for not doing so.
  • Exhibitors must agree that artwork included in a display may be photographed and included in public news media for publicity purposes.
  • Exhibitors must be willing to have their work displayed alongside the work of others included in the exhibit.
  • No pricing of art is permitted. Sales of art must take place between the exhibitor and the buyer. The Library will keep contact information for the exhibitor on hand to provide to individuals interested in purchasing artwork.