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Guidelines for Fine Art Shows at the Art Hallway of the USGS National Center, Reston, VA

U.S. Geological Survey
MS 135 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, Virginia 20192

Art Hallway Layout Facility:

The Art Hallway consists of two wall spaces on either side of a long, wide hallway. The 12-ft. high wall spaces are 119 ft and 45 ft. long.  The remainder of the space is floor-to-ceiling glass with plants; this space may be used to hang moderate sized stain glass pieces, and is sometimes used for USGS science conference poster boards.  The space was renovated in 2011, with new fabric wall coverings and lights.  A hanging rail with wires and hooks for hanging pictures has also been installed. Shows can utilize one or both of the walls. 

To get to the Art Hallway, visitors enter through the Visitors' Entrance, pass the Auditorium and turn left into the Art Hallway.  The Art Hallway, which connects the auditorium and visitors entrance with the Lobby, Main Elevators and stairway to the cafeteria, is a main thoroughfare for visitors and USGS employees.  A loading dock with wheeled carts for bringing in pictures is available behind the auditorium. Gallery Talks can be presented in the Visitor’s Center or in the Art Hallway itself.


The National Center
The National Center is a public, smoke-free building, open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is located at 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia.  Parking is available in the Visitor’s Lot outside the Visitor’s Entrance.  With prior arrangements, artwork may be brought in and taken out through the Loading Dock. A map showing the loading dock can be found online.  Vehicles are stopped for wanding and inspection before proceeding to the Loading Dock.  Due to security restrictions, all parcels and packages are subject to search upon entering the Visitor’s Entrance.  This includes personal items such as purses, briefcases, shopping bags, and boxes or packing crates of normal size. All laptops must be registered by serial number in order to be brought in and taken out of the building. Art objects that cannot be passed through the screening device are subject to inspection by guards at either the Loading Dock or the Visitor Entrance. Photo identification will also be required from each individual when signing in at the Visitor Entrance. Vehicles must be moved to the parking lot as soon as the artwork has been unloaded onto the loading dock
Art Hallway Layout

Art Hallway Layout

Security and Risk Policy:

Security guards are present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Notwithstanding this security, the U.S. Geological Survey assumes no responsibility for the pieces being shown.  Any insurance of the pieces must be handled and held by the artist.

Submission Process:
The Art Hallway is only available for shows of outside artists on a limited basis, due to the existing schedule of Federal Special Emphasis months and committed Reston community shows. Most shows are scheduled one to two years in advance.

An artist interested in exhibiting in the Art Hallway should contact the Fine Arts Committee (see contact information below) and provide, in hard copy, by disk, or a website with:

Periodically, but at least once per year, the Fine Arts Committee reviews potential artists for consideration for shows in the Art Hallway. Artists will then be notified of the potential for a show and potentially available dates.

The following art specifications and hanging guidelines are highly recommended. If the art in your show cannot be displayed in accordance with these guidelines, be sure to contact one of the contacts named below to clear any discrepancies with the Fine Arts Committee before you fill out the form on page 5.

Specifications for Art:

Guidelines for Hanging Shows:
All art should be of good taste for a public building where young children and diverse audiences are frequently in the gallery.  The Fine Arts Committee reserves the right to unconditionally reject any piece of art deemed not suitable for display based on content or quality.  If the piece is rejected, the artist must remove the piece immediately.

In order to ensure smooth transitions between shows, shows must be put up on the first day of the agreed upon show dates and must be taken down no later than the last day of the agreed upon dates.  Space is normally available for one calendar month. Shows must be put up and taken down by the artist and/or group, who should provide all necessary supplies and equipment.  The Fine Arts Committee does not have staff to assist with hanging shows.


As part of the month’s exhibit, artists may hold a reception in the Art Hallway for their invited guests and/or USGS employees.  Artists may also give a talk about their work in the USGS Visitor Center, which can seat a maximum of 60 visitors. The Visitor Center has rear-projection equipment for slides or power point. The reception and/or talk must be scheduled in advance through the Fine Arts Committee. Any artist talk in the Visitor Center should be held for 30-60 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when USGS staff is most likely to be available to attend.  The reception can then be held immediately following the talk. Another alternative is to schedule a less formal “Meet the Artist Reception” in the Art Hallway itself. For most USGS staff, these are best scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday either at midday, or as people leave, between 4 and 5 pm. It is a good idea to set up a sign welcoming USGS employees if you would like to invite them to stop to see the show and enjoy refreshments. If USGS employees are invited, flyers may be placed in a stand in the Art Hallway. If you are inviting many outside visitors, receptions on Friday afternoon may be best, but due to security limitations, no one can be permitted to enter the building after 6:30 p.m. and everyone must exit the Visitors Entrance by 7:00 p.m. The artist/group may provide nonalcoholic refreshments, if desired. Refreshments and reception items must be removed from the USGS premises prior to leaving the building. Tables and chairs can be provided by USGS as requested. USGS does not provide publicity for openings or exhibitions.

Short term exhibits:

Artists should be aware that there are occasionally exhibits of scientific posters, health fairs, or other exhibits in the art hallway. Exhibitors may set up easels on the floor of the art hallway, in the 1st floor near the guards’ desk, and around the outside of the auditorium. The walls are reserved for month-long exhibits, primarily art shows.  Short-term exhibitors must work around the exhibits on the walls, and exercise care when moving around the hanging artwork, the cases, and any artwork that is freestanding on the floor, as some of this artwork could be fragile.  Artwork and cases may not be moved by short-term exhibitors.

Signage:  Artists may provide a hard-mounted poster, which may be hung on the wall or placed on an easel (provided by USGS) to provide a title/description of their work in the show.

The Fine Arts Permission form is provided so that the USGS can make the proper arrangements for your show.  Please send it to Sarah Gerould and Susan Miles three weeks prior to the show.

Contacts for USGS Fine Arts Committee:
     Sarah Gerould, CoChair, Fine Arts Committee: 703-648-6895,
     Susan Miles, Member, Fine Arts Committee: 703-648-5768,


USGS Exhibition Permission Form (PDF)

USGS Exhibition Permission Form (Word DOC)

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