University of Illinois Seeks Sculpture of Pleistocene Mammoth

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Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
University of Illinois Seeks Sculpture of Pleistocene Mammoth




The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Art in Architecture committee is seeking to procure three-dimensional environmental artwork for the exterior of the Natural History Building (NHB), a historic building in a very visible location near the main Quadrangle of the University. The art committee proposes that the art work be a sculpture that depicts, at full scale, a Pleistocene Mammoth, in a dramatic, action pose.

Budget: $100,000
Deadline: 05/16/2018 4:00 PM Central Time
Eligibility:  All professional artists, artisans, or artist-led teams currently residing and legally permitted to work in the United States.

Project Background
The Natural History Building serves as the home of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment (SESE), and serves as the main teaching facility of the School of Integrative Biology (SIB). The components of these academic units are:

  • SESE: The School of Earth, Society & Environment hosts three academic departments (Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences; Dept. of Geography & GIS; and Dept. of Geology). In addition, SESE anchors a fourth undergraduate major in Earth, Society & Environmental Sustainability, an interdisciplinary degree in environmental studies. For more information about the School of Earth, Society & Environment, please see:
  • SIB: Departments in the School of Integrative Biology seek to discover the complex interrelationships among living organisms and the physical and biological environment in which they live. This is the “new biology,” with an emphasis on bringing multiple disciplines to bear on complex scientific questions. For students, this emphasis leads to a deep understanding of biology and its interrelationships. For more information about the School of Integrative Biology, please see:

The Natural History Building, located at 1301 West Green Street, Urbana, was designed by the prominent architect, Nathan Ricker, and was constructed in three phases between 1892 and 1924. Its exterior facade of red brick has a Victorian look. The building is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The NHB Renovation and Construction Project, which took 7 years and cost nearly $79 million, involved a complete gutting and reconstruction of the building’s interior. The 156,000 sq. ft. building now hosts state-of-the-art lecture halls, instructional labs, classrooms, research laboratories, and offices. These serve all components of the three academic departments of SESE, and the teaching components of SIB.

Artwork Location Description
The sculpture will be located outdoors in a public area. Final placement of the artwork will be decided by project committee, in consultation with the artist. It is anticipated that the sculpture will be placed on a raised land surface, in which native Illinois grasses and shrubs will be growing and in which several glacial erratics (boulders), selected by faculty and students, will be placed. The raised area will be surrounded by a stone curb or edge.  The proposed artwork serves as a dramatic entry to the campus, and as a visual block between a main sidewalk, and a bicycle parking area.

Artwork Description

Because of the nature of the academic activities that take place in the building, the committee is seeking to procure environmental artwork that shall depict and communicate in a realistic, naturalistic, or even abstract way, an aspect of the geological and biologic history of Illinois.

The art committee proposes that the art work be a sculpture that depicts, at full scale, a Pleistocene Mammoth, in a dramatic, action pose. Mammoth were native to Illinois between the time that the last Ice Age glaciers retreated, and about 5,000 years ago. In concept, the sculpture will draw attention to the natural history of Illinois. The sculpture will relate to integrative biology because it depicts an organism, and it would relate to Earth Science because these organisms only lived in this area during the geologic past and are known only from the fossil record. The sculpture should have the following characteristics:

  • It should be full scale (i.e., about the size of a large elephant)
  • It should have a dramatic, action pose.
  • It should have large curving tusks.
  • It may be somewhat abstract, but should still be easily recognizable as a mammoth.
  • It can be either solid, or semi-see through.
  • It should be envisioned as a new campus landmark.

The three-dimensional, ground-mounted sculpture, should consist of a material to be suitable for exterior exposure. It can be made of finished metal or ceramic material that can last indefinitely outside. Concrete, rusting metal, and bright paint finishes should be avoided.

Budget Description
The budget for the artwork shall not exceed $100,000. The budget includes all expenses associated with, but not limited to the design proposals, design, labor, fabrication, project management, materials, tools, contracted services, operations and meetings, travel required to complete the artwork plus installation, related permits, licenses, taxes, insurance, transportation and delivery of the work to the site, as well as documentation of the completed project. Any expense that exceeds the contracted amount will be the artist’s responsibility. If special installation requirements are needed for large and/or complex pieces, the artist is responsible for working with the University of Illinois Facilities & Services Art-in-Architecture Program, the using agency, and other relevant partners to oversee all aspects of the installation. Facilities & Services will provide a foundation for the exterior mounted artwork: costs to be provided from the AiA budget.

Selection Process

The Art in Architecture committee shall select an artist for the commission from the artists submitting letters of interest and examples of their executed works. Following that selection, the artist will submit a proposal to the committee to develop and execute the commission.

Artists/teams may submit their work for consideration as defined below. The artist or team that is selected to produce the custom artwork will be announced on the AiA website. Letters will be sent to the selected artist/team with details of the procurement process and/or contracts. See the appendix for supplemental information and examples of sculptures referenced by committee members.

Do not send a proposal unless contacted by the Art-in-Architecture Coordinator.

The University of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program reserves the right to alter any aspect of the selection process or overall project in any way for its own convenience at any time. This Request for Artwork does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract and these provisions are subject to change.

Selection Criteria
Artists should contact the Art in Architecture coordinator to receive a PDF copy of the Call for Artists, which includes all submittal information plus site plans and photographs.

Application Requirements

Artists, artisans, and artist-led teams interested in the project should e-mail or post ONE copy of each of the following, labeled with the artist’s name as well as the project name and number.

  • Resume (if a team. one for each member) with current contact information. including: Name, Address, Phone, E-mail, Website (if available)
  • Artist Statement/letter of Intent (1 page maximum. double spaced)
  • Images of the artwork:  Up to 15 JPEG images of the examples of the artists’ artwork. If provided on a CD, please label it clearly with artist or team name as well as the project name and number. Please provide the images in the following format:
    • One image per JPEG; maximum file size per image: 1MB
    • Name each image: project #lastnameimagenumber.jpg. for example: U10070miro01.jpg.
    • A corresponding numbered, annotated list of images with title, media, dimensions, location, brief description, date of the work, and project partners, if applicable.
    • When submitting by e-mail, please send images as attachments and not in the body of the e- mail.
  • References of at least three professionals (commissioning agency or organization. design or arts professional. architect. landscape architect. engineer. etc.) who have a detailed knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods. Include contact name, complete address, telephone number, and e-mail for each reference.
  • (Optional) One PDF file of additional support material. including press clippings or other relevant information on past projects (maximum 1MB file)

PowerPoint presentations are not accepted.

All submittals become property of the University of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program and will not be returned. Submissions may be made available for public viewing. The artist retains copyright.

Interested artists must send images of the artwork materials by Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 4:00 P.M  Submissions received after this date will be kept for review for other Art -in-Architecture projects. Application materials may be delivered by:

How to Submit

Submissions may be emailed to

Alternatively, submissions may be hand delivered or mailed to:

James R. Lev
University of Illinois Art in Architecture Committee
Capital Programs, F&S
1501 South Oak St
Champaign, IL 61820

QUESTIONS?  Contact James Lev, or (217) 244-5095