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Artwork Sought for Rochester Public Library

Posted by City of Rochester ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artwork Sought for Rochester Public Library




The Rochester Public Library is renovating the Rundel Terrace above its riverfront and is seeking an artist to create public art as part of the renovation. For details on the project, visit

Budget: $250,000
Eligibility: Professional artists
Deadline: 05/25/2018 5:00 PM Central Time

Project Description
The Rundel Library is a nationally registered historic building surrounded by terraces on the north, east, and south of the building. The library and terraces are bounded by Broad Street, South Avenue, and Court Street, directly adjacent to the Genesee River in the City’s Central Business District. The library and terraces were constructed in the 1930’s over the Johnson & Seymour Raceway (1817) and the old Erie Canal bed (built during canal construction c. 1821, later repurposed for the Rochester Subway) and supported by a steel and concrete framing system.

The site is unique to Rochester given its layers of industrial development and connection to water through the Genesee River, Johnson Seymour mill race and Erie Canal Aqueduct. The Rundel terrace project serves to promote heritage tourism as well as demonstrate the economic, educational and community benefits gained from establishing preservation districts and preserving significant historic cultural resources.

The project shall reconstruct the Rundel north terrace structural concrete and steel framing, slabs, columns and foundations. It will create a new, updated public riverfront terrace and replace the east (South Avenue) sidewalk. The new Rundel terrace will include river viewing platforms, historical and educational interpretive features, public seating, landscaping, a water feature, bicycle amenities, railings, and lighting upgrades. The public art installation shall be located at the corner of Broad Street and South Avenue in downtown Rochester. Similar to other major City renovations in the public realm, the selected artist/team will be commissioned to work with the Rundel terrace design team and the Rochester Public Library (RPL) to create a piece that complements and is coordinated with site design and construction.

Artwork Goals
The art installation objectives should highlight the historical significance of the site and Rundel building, the Genesee River adjacency, the architectural, spatial and civic relationships at the site, and the site’s role in contributing to the vibrancy of Center City. Consideration will also be given to recognizing the symmetry and balance within the terraces, in relation to the Rundel Memorial Building’s architectural design. Lastly, the installation should reflect the use of the site as a Central Library serving the greater Rochester region.

It is anticipated that services will commence by August 2018; based on this projection, the schedule is as follows:

  • Deadline for submitting questions: May 11, 2018
  • Deadline for applications: May 25, 2018 
  • Selection Committee finalist notification: by June 8, 2018
  • Informational meeting for finalists: TBD in June 2018
  • Finalist Interviews: early August 2018
  • Contract with artist/team: by August 31, 2018
  • Installation: summer/fall 2019

Application Requirements
Please provide the following in digital format only:

a. Contact information for lead artist and all team members;

b. Three references (contact information only) for recently completed projects, including at least one project with a public art budget of $200,000 or more;

c. A one-page letter describing interest in project and approach to design; include a statement addressing eligibility criteria;

d. No more than three pages listing each work sample, each given brief description, location and budget;

e. Biographical information or resume for artist and team members;

f. Work samples: up to ten (10) digital images of your recent projects (each file should not exceed 1 MB), submitted as standard .jpeg and labeled.

Artists are allowed to apply in teams. Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.

Selection Process
Artist/team applications will be pre-screened by RPL administration to ensure applicants have submitted all required submission materials. The Art Selection Committee includes members of the Rochester arts community, City of Rochester planning and architecture staffs, neighborhood representatives and representatives of Rochester City Council and RPL. The Committee will review eligible applications and select a group of up to three finalists to submit proposals with preliminary concepts. Finalist teams will be paid a stipend of $1,500 to prepare a concept design.

Finalist proposals should include a graphic depiction of the proposed artwork, schedule for design, fabrication and installation, material specifications, preliminary installation methods and budget. Additional requirements will be outlined in the June finalist informational meeting. Finalists will have approximately five weeks to prepare preliminary concepts, and will be required to attend an interview with the selection committee as part of the proposal evaluation process.

Selection Criteria
Selection of finalists will be based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of letter, demonstrating understanding of project
  • Quality of work samples
  • Ability of artist/team to complete project based on resume and work experience

Selection of art project proposed by finalists will be based on the following criteria:

  • Project celebrates and explores the unique history of place, culture and relationship to water
  • Project conveys artistic excellence and has a broad, timeless appeal
  • Project creates a welcoming setting that associates the work with the mission of the Rochester Public Library
  • Project is designed for a publicly visible and accessible area; durability of the work is apparent relative to theft, vandalism and the environment
  • Project is considered complimentary to overall design, and will provide similar level of low-maintenance as the full Rundel terrace installation

Additional considerations for finalists:

  • The work will be welcoming, accessible and appropriate to the site
  • Artist/team involves community members in the process
  • The original work will help to establish the Central Library as a premier destination
  • The work recognizes the Rundel Memorial Building’s architectural design

How to Submit
Submit via email to  Please provide instructions for sharing/accessing files larger than 5 MB.

QUESTIONS?  Contact Brie Harrison, or 585-428-8056  A complete RFP is available.



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