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University of Maryland Baltimore Seeks Public Artist for Commission

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Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
University of Maryland Baltimore Seeks Public Artist for Commission


The Maryland State Arts Council and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are now accepting applications for the Health Sciences Facility III public art project. The artwork will be a three-dimensional sculpture sited on the exterior public plaza of the Health Sciences Facility III on the downtown UMB campus, located adjacent to the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy.

Eligibility:  Artists residing in the United States are eligible to apply. The artist must have completed two permanent public artworks with budgets of at least $50,000. Additionally, the artist must meet at least two of the following criteria to be considered for this commission:

  • The artist has completed other public art commissions of similar scale
  • The artist has received awards, grants or fellowships.
  • The artist’s works are included in the public, private, corporate or museum permanent collections
  • The artist has participated in exhibitions at major museums or galleries.


Budget:  $400,000.

Project Background
The Health Sciences Facility III (HSF III) building is the third research building on the UMB campus that is intended to promote interdisciplinary and inter-professional research activity in the health sciences. It will house wet and dry research laboratories, high end imaging, faculty and staff offices. Researchers from the UMB health sciences schools will be conducting research with the goal of advancing knowledge and making discoveries that will provide cures for diseases and illnesses facing today’s society.

UMB is seeking a three-dimensional permanent artwork that is monumental and iconic. The sculpture will be located in a dense urban setting so it must be durable, easily maintained and not create public safety issues. The sculpture should utilize enduring materials that can withstand a downtown environment with pedestrian traffic, and exposure to vehicular pollution. The artist should consider the wind tunnel effect that is often present along West Baltimore Street when conceiving the sculpture. The proposed artwork may not incorporate digital technology. Lighting of the sculpture will be covered by the building construction budget and the artist will work with the design and construction team to ensure proper night lighting of the artwork. Finally, as a recognizable icon of UMB, the landmark sculpture will be in a place intended for meeting, hanging out and/or studying, and used for photo opportunities as a backdrop for special events and graduation photographs.

The artist should consider the following concepts or themes when envisioning the sculpture, which will be the first major public art commission undertaken by UMB:

·         UMB mission, vision, strategic goals and core values

·         Pre-eminence as an innovator

·         Unique character of UMB schools and inter-professional interactions

·         Dynamic university community – seven schools in one university

·         Strong commitment to the neighboring communities including West Baltimore and the adjacent Bromo Tower Arts District.

·         Contemporary and forward-looking but respects our campus history

·         Relationship to the Health Sciences Facility III design elements, aesthetics and public plaza

·         Be inspiring

·         Be engaging; willing to consider movement as a component of the sculpture

·         Be contextual and specific to this particular site



  • RFQ Application Deadline: September 14, 2016, NOON EDT
  • Artist Selection Committee selects semi-finalists:October 10, 2016
  • Semi-finalists Notification and Invitation to Submit a Proposal October 11, 2016
  • Site Visit 1: October 26, 2016
  • Deadline for Semi-finalist Questions: November 16, 2016
  • Deadline for Responses to Semi-finalist Questions: November 23, 2016
  • Site Visit 2: Artists Proposal Presentations: December 8, 2016
  • Selection Committee Review & Selection: December 9, 2016
  • Commission Award Announced: December 16, 2016
  • Artwork Design Development: January-March 2017
  • Artwork Shop Drawings: April-May 2017
  • Artwork Fabrication: June– August 2017
  • Installation: September 2017
  • Opening/Unveiling: October 2017


Evaluation Criteria
The Public Art Committee is seeking an artist or artist team with experience creating a sculpture that integrates well into a dense urban environment.   The sculpture should utilize enduring materials that can withstand a downtown urban streetscape with pedestrian traffic, exposure to vehicular pollution and be easily cleaned and maintained in the event of graffiti or other defacing.  The Committee is seeking artistic excellence and innovation in past artwork, especially examples in urban settings that integrate the themes of health or life sciences in the artwork.

The following specific criteria will be considered during the voting process for final artist selection:

  • Aesthetic Excellence – The highest priority is the inherent aesthetic quality of the artwork and its compatibility and relationship with the site as well as the way the public is intended to respond and interact with it.
  • Relevance – Artwork must be appropriate for and sensitive to the chosen location including surrounding architecture, topography, local history, and community attitudes and concerns.
  • Elements and Principles of Art and Design – The basic building blocks of all fine art media and all forms of visual art may be considered as long as they meet the definition of art in the enabling legislation.
  • Diversity – the MPAI program strives for balance in not only style, scale and media of the collection but also diversity in the artists selected throughout the MPAI program.
  • Durability and Permanence – Resistance to theft, vandalism, and weathering as well as structural sustainability and the potential for excessive maintenance as the work is intended to be permanent.
  • Public Safety – The artwork must be examined for unsafe conditions, materials, or factors.
  • Technical Feasibility – The artist must provide convincing evidence of his or her ability to complete the artwork as proposed.
  • Past Performance – The Artist Selection Committee will consider the artist’s performance under previous contracts including success in meeting established timelines and budgets
  • Cost Feasibility – The Committee will consider the cost feasibility and determine if the project is realistic within the specified project budget.


How to Apply

Applications must be made through CaFE, There is no charge to open an account or to submit for the opportunity.


Please review the full RFQ for complete site, project and application information.


Questions?  Contact Liesel Fenner, Public Art Program Director, Maryland State Arts Council,