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The Spike 150 Commission seeks an artist’s vision to create public art that includes and honors the voices of the diverse communities that labored on and were impacted by the driving of the Golden Spike and the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad.
ELIGIBILITY: Artists living in the United States
DEADLINE: February 28, 2020
On May 10, 1869, a Golden Spike was ceremoniously driven into a polished laurel tie at Promontory Summit, Utah, linking two great oceans, uniting a Civil War-torn nation and propelling America to become a world industrial leader. Shortly thereafter, this singular moment in time was memorialized by Andrew J. Russell’s “East and West Shaking Hands at Laying of the Last Rail,” commonly known as “The Champagne Photo.” Over the course of a century and a half, this photo has been framed by historians, scholars and educators to capture the entire narrative of the construction of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. The Champagne Photo has been both a source of pride of accomplishment and for some a painful reminder of exclusion.
However, in Russell’s “Chinese laying the last rail on May 10, 1869,” eight Chinese railroad workers are placing a ceremonious rail on behalf of the Central Pacific Railroad just shortly after eight Irish railroad workers placed a ceremonious rail on behalf of Union Pacific Railroad and just prior to driving the Golden Spike. Same day. Same photographer. Different story.
While the old adage says a picture is worth a thousand words, it may not necessarily tell the entire story. The Spike 150 Commission is setting out to widen the lens of history and expand the timeline to truly understand the breadth and depth this magnificent and unprecedented project, considered to be the greatest engineering feat of the 19th century. By giving voice to the voiceless and exposing the invisible, the Selection Committee hopes the artist(s)’ final piece will evoke empathy for these workers and within the learning context encapsulated at the Golden Spike National Historical Park and demonstrate to the world that great things are possible with vision, hard-work, dedication and collaboration.
ABOUT SPIKE 150
The Golden Spike Commission was created by the Utah State Legislature through Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, passed during the 2017 General Session to mark the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah. The resolution empowered the state to commemorate the anniversary with special events and entrusts the governor with the responsibility of appointing the commission to plan the celebration.
The Golden Spike Foundation (aka “Spike 150”) was established by the Commission in order to facilitate the organizing process of the event. Both the Commission and Foundation comprised of leading Utah state and federal officials as well as prominent business and community leaders.
The sesquicentennial celebration goals of Spike 150 are to Unify, Educate and Inspire a new generation to lead Utah into the next century while Leaving a Legacy. By expanding the lens of this historic moment through Spike 150’s official historical, educational and arts partners, Spike 150’s series of activities and events showed the world that great things are possible with vision, hard-work, dedication and collaboration. Spike150.org
SITE HISTORY: GOLDEN SPIKE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
The purpose of Golden Spike National Historical Park is “to serve as a national memorial commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad across the United States.”
The National Park Service’s General Management Plan is to:
History of the Park
Following the 1869 celebration, Promontory Summit remained largely ignored and neglected until the efforts of Bernice Gibbs Anderson. The 1919 50th Anniversary was celebrated with a parade in Ogden, Utah. On September 8, 1942, an “Undriving of the Spike” also known as the “Funeral of the Rails” ceremony was held as the rails and railroad ties were removed in order to utilize the resources for the World War II effort. The site was authorized as a National Historic Site on April 2, 1957 under non-federal ownership. It was authorized for federal ownership and administration by an act of Congress on July 30, 1965, as Golden Spike National Historic Site and on March 12, 2019 it was re-designated as Golden Spike National Historical Park. https://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Spike_National_Historical_Park
The National Park Service is currently in the design phase of remodeling the Visitor’s Center for completion by May 10, 2021. This is relevant to this project in that the “viewshed” is paramount to the site and the experience of visitors to the Center. Any artist proposal must not interfere with the historical viewshed as per the 1978 general master plan. The plan’s primary goal is to maintain the site’s scenic attributes as closely as possible to its appearance and characteristics in 1869. The shaded area below is the protected view shed.
Currently, there are several memorial plaques and a plinth at the Park. There is a proposal under review to move these plaques and plinth to the opposite side of the visitor center to ensure the viewshed is better preserved.
A large bronze work of an American Bison by the artist Michael Coleman has recently been donated to the park and is scheduled for installation in 2020. The National Parks Service plans on providing information on how the Transcontinental Railroad affected the American bison population which saw it dwindle from an estimated 30 to 50 million in 1850 to just a few hundred by the turn of the century. This had a direct effect on permanently changing the way of life for Native Americans.
Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty
Robert Smithson’s iconic Spiral Jetty is approximately 30 minutes to the southwest of the National Park Visitor Center at Rozel Point on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. The road to Smithson’ work passes by the Visitor Center and is frequently visited by those driving to / from the Spiral Jetty.
The location(s) of this commission has not been pre-determined. The Committee will be open to reviewing proposed sites as envisioned by the finalist artists and as appropriate to the proposal, the site and restrictions as outlined. One area of the site has been identified as possible placement as the triangular area immediately outside the main entrance to the visitor center. Please note the site is not equipped to provide power nor water for any proposal.
The Spike 150 Legacy Selection Committee, in consultation with the Utah Division of Heritage Arts, Utah Public Art Program and the National Park Service, has full oversight for the selection of an artist(s) for this project.
Artists may submit qualifications via CaFE.org. Once reviewed by the Committee, up to four finalists will be invited to present proposals to the Committee in Salt Lake City, Utah. Finalists will receive a travel stipend and proposal honorarium. Finalists will be asked to present a full proposal of concept, design, material, budget, and timeline. The finalist honorarium will be applied toward the commission amount for the artist(s) awarded the commission.
Once reviewed and selected the National Park Service will initiate a secondary review process. The current overall philosophy for management of the cultural landscape focuses on the use of compatible site features (materials and finishes), protection of viewsheds, selected screening of visually intrusive development, and addition of non-historic contributing elements, such as reconstructed track, wye, and locomotives.
WHAT TO SUBMIT
HOW TO SUBMIT
All applications are being accepted through https://www.callforentry.org/ Spike 150 and partner organizations will not be responsible for applications delayed or lost in transit. Faxed or e-mailed applications cannot be accepted.
Spike 150 reserves the right to withhold the award of a commission or re-release the call for entries.
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