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Artist Sought for Public Art at University of Maryland Baltimore County

Posted by Maryland State Arts Council ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artist Sought for Public Art at University of Maryland Baltimore County



The Maryland State Arts Council and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) are now accepting applications for the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) public art project.

The permanent public artwork will be two-dimensional, integrated on three large contiguous but separate vertical walls viewable from the first and second floors and sited inside, on the first floor of the main hallway in the student commons area.


The concept design development fee is $20,000. The artwork project budget is $180,000 and is inclusive of all costs associated with the project, including, but not limited to: artist fee and expenses (sub-consultants, travel/lodging, printing, overhead, etc.); artwork fabrication details and specifications; artwork materials and fabrication; transportation and installation; related permits, licenses, insurance; and significant site modification. Any expenses that exceed the contracted amount will be the artist’s responsibility.


Professional artists or artist teams residing in the United States are eligible to apply. Additionally, the artist must meet at least two of the following criteria to be considered for this commission:

  • The artist has completed public art commissions
  • The artist has received awards, grants or fellowships
  • The artist has had work exhibited in museums or galleries

Artists serving on the Maryland Public Art Commission are ineligible to apply.  Artists currently enrolled in any university or college degree program are not eligible to apply.


  • November 17, 2016: RFQ posted
  • December 15, 2016: Application submission deadline.
  • Week of January 17, 2017: Approximately 30 applicants selected for shortlist and notified
  • Week of February 10: Three-four semi-finalist artists or artist teams selected and notified
  • Week of February 27: Semi-finalists artists interviews. One finalist artist or artist team selected to for artwork Concept Design Development. Interviews are in-person, semi-finalists must be available to travel to UMBC this week (date TBD)
  • By March 10, 2017: Artist or artist team contracted for Concept Design Development
  • April 18, 2017: Concept Proposal Presentation
  • Late May, 2017: Design Development Presentation
  • Late June, 2017: Final Design Presentation (may be conducted by WebEx/conf call)
  • July 2017: Artwork design approved and artist contracted for fabrication/installation
  • July-October 2017: Construction Documents/Shop Drawing Phase
  • November 2017: Shop Drawings approved. Permission to fabricate
  • 2018: Fabrication with studio check-ins
  • May 2019: Artwork installation in coordination with building construction schedule
  • September 2019: Artwork dedication



UMBC’s new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) will provide flexible and adaptable research and education spaces to support ongoing and future interdisciplinary life science programs. The ILSB will be fully multi‐disciplinary, drawing students and faculty from diverse programs, but with common interests in life science program areas such as biochemistry and molecular biology, bioinformatics and computational biology, geography and environmental systems, biochemical engineering, neurosciences and cognitive sciences, and biological sciences. The consolidation of core research facilities and the introduction of interdisciplinary lab settings will promote unique relationships across traditional academic college boundaries. The ILSB will continue the evolution of how STEM courses at the university are taught and will be a living laboratory for new pedagogies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


The proposed public artwork will be sited inside on the first floor of ILSB’s main hallway student commons area. The commons space has tables and lounge seating study areas with classrooms and labs lining both sides of the large space. The permanent public artwork will be integrated on three contiguous but separate vertical walls each measuring 23’ long x 24’-8” high and will be viewable from the first and second floors. The public artwork may be applied to the wall, or applied on substrate and attached, or project out from the wall, no wider than a depth of 12”. Spanning from floor to mezzanine, the public artwork must be durable to withstand a highly trafficked hallway where the public may come in contact with the artwork. Electricity can be provided for integrated lighting components; however, no digital media technology may comprise the artwork. The artwork will receive diffuse natural light from skylights above and glass doors and windows at either end of the hallway. Given the exposure to the public and natural light sources, color safe materials should be used. The building construction budget will cover supplemental lighting for the artwork in consultation with the artist.


Overarching themes in the artwork should encompass the strengths of UMBC, a historically-diverse, highly-selective, public research university. UMBC combines the traditions of the liberal arts academy, the creative intensity of the research university, and the social responsibility of the public university. We are known for integrating research, teaching and learning, and civic engagement so that each advances the others for the benefit of society. These concerns touch all of the members of our campus.

At UMBC the life sciences generate questions and discover new knowledge as we investigate our world and address challenges to society. The convergent science and engineering disciplines sharing the building are recognized for an emphasis on extensive laboratory and field research in life sciences, scientific approach, and engaged faculty working side-by-side with students.

Positioned in the heart of the campus, the artwork location in the interior of the ILSB will mark a commons where people may gather, sit and reflect, and continue their learning in an informal setting. Our campus imagines an artwork that reflects our spirit of ever-evolving scientific curiosity, collaboration, inquiry and enterprises to solve societal problems. The artwork should reflect the spirit of open engagement, excellence and intellectual rigor that faculty investigators and students bring to bear on our world and our needs as people. The artwork must be durable, reflect our moment in time while welcoming future discoveries, and reflect the science investigated within the ILSB through materials and forms.

UMBC is a campus committed to the stewardship of our environment, and the artwork should demonstrate a commitment to responsible fabrication and resourcing, and passive or low-energy use. The artwork should be effectively integrated into the environment, and consider both available natural and artificial light sources, and viewing from multiple vantage points and elevations. The selected artwork will invite people to rest and converse, and distinguish this commons destination as a special place within the building and on the broader campus.


The Artist Selection Committee will select up to three to four artists or artist teams for in-person interviews. The finalist artist or artist team will be selected and enter into a Design Development contract to develop the design for the artwork. When final design is approved, the artist or artist team will enter into a fabrication and installation contract with UMBC.


Artists will be selected based on experience and qualifications using the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and innovation demonstrated through past work, especially examples that integrate the themes of life sciences in the artwork
  • Experience working collaboratively with multi-disciplinary professionals and committees
  • The artist’s experience and Statement of Interest aligns with the ILSB artwork goals and site specificity of the project
  • The artist’s experience successfully designing and implementing prior projects on time and in budget



Submit online ONLY through the CaFE application system.

QUESTIONS?  Please contact Maryland State Arts Council, Public Art Program Director, Liesel Fenner at