Tapiolan pyöräparkkiin levittäytyvät värikkäät kuvat ja hahmot ovat suurennoksia Seela Petran piirroksista.
Seela Petra: Sinä Päivänä, 2019. Image: Ella Tommila / EMMA

An artist will usually compile a maintenance manual for a work of public art to make sure that the work is properly taken care of

A contract involving the commissioning of a piece of public artwork often includes a section on the provision of a maintenance manual or instructions to the client. A maintenance manual is a document in which an artist provides a detailed description of materials used and how a work needs to be maintained. The instructions ensure that the work is taken care of in a manner appropriate to the particular form of art. The maintenance manual is given to the client and the party responsible for maintenance no later than at the point of handover.

The content of the manual depends on the artwork and covers factors such as its material composition, size, life cycle and location. Points to remember when drawing up a maintenance manual:

A description of the work and its components

  • the artist’s name and contact details
  • a general description of the work
  • the address and the exact location of the work at that address
  • photographs of the work in its original state as agreed with the client; the client may be responsible for the photos if the work is to be placed in a museum art collection, for example

Materials and techniques

  • the materials used described as accurately as possible
  • suppliers of the materials and any subcontractors
  • colour codes for paints, lighting intensity
  • the mounting method
  • photographs of the mounting procedure and other phases with descriptions

The artwork’s life cycle

  • what is/is not considered natural wear and tear (e.g. patina)

Instructions for the artwork’s care and maintenance

  • methods and frequency of servicing, maintaining and cleaning the artwork
  • technology-related instructions

If the artwork is broken or damaged

  • who to contact when damage is detected
  • instructions for making spare parts and relevant suppliers
  • digital models if these were used for the production of the artwork

Make sure that the information is archived with the party responsible for the maintenance of the artwork.