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Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures
Managed By: Icon Here Art Archivist
The Smithsonian Art Inventory includes over 400,000 works of art, including paintings and sculptures. This category is looking ONLY for outdoor public sculptures. This encompasses many sculpture types including monuments, mounted art, statues, abstract and realistic sculptures.
Expanded Description:
The Art Inventories of the Smithsonian Institute are a tremendous resource for research and preservation of American art. Here is a description from the Smithsonian Art Inventory .

"The Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture document more than 400,000 artworks in public and private collections worldwide. The Inventory of American Paintings includes works by artists who were active in America by 1914. The Inventory of American Sculpture has no cut-off date and includes works from the colonial era through contemporary times. These online databases are supplemented by a photographic collection of over 80,000 images. The photographs are available for study purposes in our Washington, D.C., office. Digital images are in the process of being added to the online database. "

Much of this database for sculptures was obtained through a program called "Save Outdoor Sculpture," a joint project between the Smithsonian and Heritage Preservation . Their stated mission is: "Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!) is a program committed to the preservation and celebration of America's outdoor sculptures. SOS! works to generate appreciation, enthusiasm, and a sense of ownership for America's largest collection of art and to promote outdoor sculpture as an education resource."

"Nationwide, nearly 7,000 volunteers collected information about the history and condition of their communities' public sculpture. Unfortunately, they discovered that much of America's outdoor sculpture is at risk. More than half of the 32,000 public sculptures documented by SOS! volunteers needed conservation or maintenance."

Most of the survey was done in 1993, and has not been systematically updated. So, there are gaps and there are items that have either been moved or destroyed. So, one of the purposes of this category is to add further documentation for these public works of art, adding GPS coordinates, photographs, and descriptions.

Although there doesn't seem to be a mechanism to add photos directly to the database, there is a form for reporting new sculptures that do not appear in the current inventory. The instructions for reporting new works of art are quite involved, requiring specific information, including measurements, inscriptions, dates, artists, and descriptions using proper terminology. An online document with these guidelines is available on the Smithsonian website for the Research Program. Also available is an online Inventory Report Form.

There are some works of art that are located outside of the United States that are listed, and these are perfectly acceptable.

For the purposes of this category, all items must be listed in the Smithsonian Art Inventory Catalog . To find the listing for a particular piece of art, use the Smithsonian Art Inventory Search Page

Instructions for Posting a Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures Waymark:

** All works of art must be sculptures listed in the Smithsonian Art Inventory Catalog
** Only outdoor, publicly accessible sculptures will be accepted.
** No items inside of museums, other buildings, or in private collections not available to the general public will be accepted. (Those on display outside of museums are acceptable).
** No paintings or murals will be accepted.
** Items that are listed, but are missing may NOT be waymarked. The exception is an item that has been moved, in which case it must be waymarked at the new location and the changes noted in the description or variable field.

1. Originally obtained GPS coordinates.

Ideally this should be at the actual site of the art work itself unless access is limited, by a fence, for instance, in which case you may take your coordinates from an acceptable viewing area. If this is the case, please state it in your description.

2. Photographs:

Since this is a category for visual art, photos are important. A waymark may be denied if low quality photos are submitted. We don't expect professional photography, of course, but photos that are greatly underexposed, distorted or otherwise fail to give an adequate representation of the work of art may be reason for denial.

At least TWO original photos are required -- one depicting the entire work of art, or major portion, and others that are close-up photos showing details of the piece. Ideally, these should show different angles. Zoomed and cropped photos are okay as part of the photo gallery. The two photo requirement may be fulfilled by a close crop of one photo as long as the result is clear (NO BLURRED IMAGES) and shows sufficient detail. The object of this requirement is to show both and overall view of the sculpture AND some aspect of detail appropriate to the size and orientation of the sculpture.

NOTE: Very few pieces of art require only two photographs. Most require several. (Rarely, one photo may be sufficient).If there are inscriptions, plaques or signs, there should be close-up photos of them. Look for signatures, dates, and other marks. The idea here is to give the best visual presentation of the art possible, NOT merely to satisfy the minimum requirements for a waymark. The photographic presentation for each waymark will be evaluated on its own merits for that particular work.

Waymarks with insufficient or inadequate photographic presentation may be declined with a request for further visual documentation.

NO copyrighted photos will be accepted -- unless they are yours!

3. Description:

A good narrative description is as important as a good visual presentation! You can use the description in the Smithsonian Art Inventory, but you should also provide your own narrative description. Especially describe the art's location and surroundings. There are often other local or state resources for these items that may provide more detailed information, but your own personal observations are also important. Include as much information as you can about the work of art -- its historical or cultural significance, artist, location, subject, etc. If your research turns up some good sources, please share them with us.

Your original writing is strongly encouraged! The objective of this category is to contribute to the body of knowledge, so merely a copy on paste of information from the Smithsonian site, while good, is really not sufficient. If your research yields little, at least provide a first-hand description of the sculpture and its location. The goal is to augment the information in the Inventory listing, not merely to reproduce it.

If there are difference between what you find from your personal visit or research and the Inventory description, please note that in the long description of your waymark or in the variable field provided.

NOTE: If you copy information from another source you MUST give proper attribution including a URL if applicable.

4. Inscriptions

These are frequently given in the Smithsonian Art Inventory description, and should be included in the long description of the waymark. Since our waymark format is more flexible than the database, it is preferred that the inscriptions be entered in the format in which they appear on the art work, observing line arrangements, spelling, and placement. This will take extra effort, but will result in a better waymark record than a merely copying and pasting from the database.

Inscriptions include plaques and signs, as well as engraving on the sculpture or base itself. The text of these should be included in the long description, especially if they are not in the Smithsonian database.

WAYMARK TITLE: The name of your waymark must consist of the title exactly as given in the Art Inventory listing, [If there is a difference in title, or you have a better title, still list it according to the current SIA entry until it is changed] followed by the city and state (The use of the standard USPS two letter state abbreviations is encouraged, but you may also use the full name of the state if you prefer), using this standard format:

Great Public Art - City, State (or country if outside the United States.).

5. Variables

All of the variable fields are made to correspond with the inventory database entries, so it is a matter of copy and paste for them.

It is particularly important to include the Control Number. All control numbers for this category begin with IAS. Inventory of American Sculpture (IAS), is a designation that distinguishes the art work from the Inventory of American Paintings (IAP) which is also included in this database.

Physical Location: If the sculpture is located at the site of a building, then the street address is required and other descriptions such as "in front of, beside," etc. For other locations such as parks, cemeteries, plazas, road side placements, etc., be as specific as you can and include street and highway names when possible. The goal of this variable is to give a clear idea about where the piece is located It is also essential to provide the direct URL to the individual listing in the inventory database.


One of the purposes of this category is to assist in augmenting and updating the Smithsonian Art Inventory. Please carefully note any differences between the current SIA inventory information and your own observations and research. These might include such things as misspellings, a moved or missing sculpture, corrections to the name or description, or condition of the sculpture (particularly if it needs maintenance).

Please note these with as much detail as possible in the "Differences Noted" variable box. Someone at the Smithsonian is monitoring this field and will make corrections as necessary, so DO NOTcontact them directly.

For sculptures that are not listed in the SIA, please use the Inventory Report Form to submit new listings. Once they are listed, they may be entered as a waymark.

SPECIAL NOTE: While the details outlined in our category description, and the requirements listed in the posting instructions, cover the MINIMUM elements and standards for all waymarks in this category, each waymark will also be evaluated by a volunteer reviewer for overall quality and appropriateness. If a reviewer deems that there are deficiencies in some aspect of the waymark, the waymark may be either declined or accepted with request for changes and/or additions in either content or format.

Each waymark will be evaluated on its own merits. We will endeavor to be reasonable and flexible while maintaining the quality standards for the category. If there is a disagreement, try to work it out with the evaluating officer, or appeal to the group leader, but we reserve the right to accept or decline a waymark based on our best judgement.

Instructions for Visiting a Waymark in this Category:
Please give the date of your visit, your impressions of the sculpture, and at least ONE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH. Add any additional information you may have, particularly any personal observations about the condition of the sculpture.
Category Settings:
  • Waymarks can be added to this category
  • New waymarks of this category are reviewed by the category group prior to being published
  • Category is visible in the directory
  • DATE
  • Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory
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Smithsonian Art Inventory SculpturesWe the People - Gallup, New Mexico

in Smithsonian Art Inventory Sculptures

110 foot steel wall-type sculpture located in Gallup's City Park

posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Max and 99

location: New Mexico

date approved: 7/8/2010

last visited: 5/19/2017

Premium Member Downloads: download.GPX Lite File       download.LOC File       download .KML File (Google Earth)