In what cases might a public art program chose to hire a fine are appraiser? What services can an appraiser provide, and why might those be useful for a public art program?

As public art collections have grown in size, so too has the need to asses the number, condition, and value of the objects in those collections. Public artwork is seldom sold or transferred, and has limited re-sale potential due to legal restrictions, the popularity of site-specific commissions, and commonly accepted best practices for the field.  (Nevertheless, deaccessioning remains an important collections management tool—see Question 6.5 for more). Public art programs, however, can benefit from the services of a fine art appraiser in order to properly estimate insurance needs (such as an artwork’s replacement cost) or as a tool to help evaluate or promote a program’s commissioning history. Often, appraising a collection of public art is the first step toward advocating for better maintenance and conservation practices. Appraisals can demonstrate the value held in a public art collection, and the steep cost of repairing damage (or replacing) older artworks. This is particularly important in communities that regularly face catastrophic weather events, which could threaten large numbers of public artworks at once.
Like conservation services, an initial survey of a collection is likely to represent a significant expenditure, and for that reason comprehensive collection reviews are typically only completed by larger public art programs. Once an initial survey has been completed, then future updates can be made for modest sums.