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University of Illinois Seeks Art for Mechanical Engineering Building

Posted by University of Illinois ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
University of Illinois Seeks Art for Mechanical Engineering Building




The Art in Architecture (AIA) Program of the University of Illinois Facilities & Services is pleased to announce a Call For Artwork (CFA). Professional artists are invited to submit images of work available for purchase to be considered for the permanent original public art at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Artists’ work may also be considered for commissioned custom work. This call seeks artwork for the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building Renovation and Addition Center located at 1206 West Green Street on the Urbana-Champaign Campus in Urbana, Illinois. The project will renovate the existing building and construct a new 40,000 GSF addition to the east side of the structure. The project is currently under construction with completion scheduled for late Fall of 2020.

Budget: $100,000 (maximum purchase or commission for any one artist’s work; several works may be purchased or commissioned within this total)
Eligibility: Professional artists, artisans or artist-led teams currently residing in AND legally permitted to work in the United States
Deadline: 11/20/2019 4:00 PM Central Time

A complete PDF copy of the Call For Artwork document is available via email. Send a request for this document to with a return email address.

Project Description
The Department of Mechanical Engineering within the Grainger College of Engineering is renovating a large portion of their existing four-story space and adding on a five-story new east addition with a beautiful new entrance into the facility. The highly anticipated project will transform the department and campus in an impactful way.

The facility will serve as an intellectual locus and will be abuzz with energy and human potential. Caring creators, inventors and savants will linger its halls and healthy spaces, listening and teaming to learn how engineering can help solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Nine classrooms will be modernized and adaptable for future pedagogies. Students will learn concepts in engineering mechanics, big data and computation, automotive systems, bioengineering, combustion and propulsion, design methodology and tribology, dynamic systems and controls, energy systems and thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, manufacturing and production, materials behavior and processing, statics and dynamics, and microscale and nanoscale phenomena and systems. The lower level will encourage design thinking methodologies and be the most capable Innovation Studio space on campus, with maker spaces for 3D printing, waterjet operations, laser cutting, wood making and metal machining. Instructional laboratories will explore topics such as heat transfer, controls, robotics, manufacturing, and machining. The facility will embrace the Japanese concept of “waigaya”, with the first floor lobby serving as the main hive. Additional spaces for thinking, problem solving, and rest will allow for spontaneous learning and collaboration throughout. Truly, this transformed facility and its exciting family will amaze and wonder.

For additional information on the Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building and example artwork see:

Artwork Goals
The ABET accredited undergraduate program ( in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois has consistently for decades been ranked among the best in the United States. The College’s leadership and recognition throughout the world draws well known scholars and corporate giants. This artwork must embody the College’s vision of leadership in the international community and inspire the next generation to join in the quest.

Faculty, students, and staff were asked what in art inspired them. Clearly defined and kinetic art was highly preferred with artists such as Anthony Howe, Reuben Margolin, and Arthur Ganson used as examples. The College seeks art that reflects wonder, curiosity, exploring, infinity, and timelessness through motion, balance, and precision. Motion self-powered through rain, wind and/or solar, would be appropriate. The use of light may well enhance its appearance. Each viewer should ask, “Just how does this work?” Art that elicits emotions of anger or frustration and may cause confusion or cognitive stress should be avoided.

“Who makes up the College of Engineering? We are gazers into the future, ever seeking to solve challenges that improve life in the universe. We love pushing limits, breaking boundaries, and causing industrial, technological, and soon, medical revolutions. We appreciate beauty in complex system design. We long to explore the universe, and yet also find enjoyment in discovering nature and protecting the earth. We visit the world to gain and share perspective. We are dreamers, yet graciously led by math and science. Our minds seek truth and solutions, yet pause to love and embrace the infinitely unknown and awe-inspiring.”

Artwork Location Description
A location on the raised Green Street entrance plaza of the new addition is the preferred site of the proposed sculpture. Green Street runs east-west through campus and serves as the north-south boundary line between engineering campus to the north and other college programs to the south. Goodwin Avenue just to the east of the new addition runs north-south and intersects with Green Street. This Goodwin & Green intersection is viewed as the busiest on campus and the eastern approach to the Grainger College of Engineering campus. We expect that the artwork shall be proportionate to the surroundings and complement the architecture. The sculpture shall respect the solar energy harvesting on the south façade of the new addition.

Funding is available for University resources to provide a base and foundation for the mounting and presentation of the artwork. 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 and other relevant partners to coordinate all aspects of the installation. University Facilities & Services will provide reinforced, structured
attachment points on which the artwork can be mounted.

Selection Process
Artist and/or artist teams may submit their work for consideration and selection by the Selection Committee as defined below. The artist’s work that is selected will be announced through the email to all submitters. Letters/emails will be sent to the selected artist with details of the purchase process. The selection committee may select a shortlist of artists to be interviewed prior to making a final selection and requesting a proposal. Do not send a proposal unless you have been contacted by the Art-in-Architecture Coordinator. Following notification that an artist has been selected to provide or produce artwork, the artist will be required to register with the University Vendor Services through an online application.  See Help document and directions for this process at:

What to Submit

  1. Biography
  2. Resume: 1 page(s) maximum
  3. Work examples: 1 – 15

How to Submit

Interested artists must send material by Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at 4:00P.M. Submissions received after this date will not be considered for this project but will be kept for possible review and consideration for other Art in Architecture projects. Submission material may be delivered by email to Hand delivered submissions should be addressed to: Art in Architecture Program, University of Illinois Facilities & Services/ Capital Programs, 1501 South Oak Street, Champaign, Illinois, 61820

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


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