Pre-Fabrication Reviews

Before Art is Even Made

Photograph taken from a pre-fabrication review at an artist's studio showing notes, sketches, construction drawings, and sample materials.

The Art Conservation Program at the Cambridge Arts Council is nationally known for its Pre-Fabrication Conservation Reviews, developed by Rika Smith McNally in 1999 and first published in the book Conservation and Maintenance of Contemporary Public Art in 2002. These reviews are used to consider materials, fabrication methods, and installation plans before the art is made and placed on public view. The process is not meant to "judge" the physical acceptability of a proposed artwork, but to inform all involved, and to prompt discussion of materials or methods improvement in addition to establishing a funded maintenance plan.

As artist advocates, we welcome both traditional and new materials. The conservator collaborates with the artist, the fabricator, the administrator, and allied City professionals such as landscape architects or structural engineers to ensure all expectations are met. We also consult as needed with materials scientists or sound/media/light engineers. The artist’s voice for long-term planning for preventive care is heard through interviews and narrative, and the process results in specifically written directions regarding care and expected longevity. The conservation program also provides project management during fabrication and installation.

The Benefit of a Pre-Fab Review

A Pre-Fabrication Conservation Review is the single most important preservation planning care document for a public work of art, and saves significant longer-term costs by adjusting materials or installation methods in advance.

Click to download Pre-Fabrication Conservation Review Form.