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University of Illinois Seeks Artwork for African American Cultural Center

Posted by University of Illinois ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
University of Illinois Seeks Artwork for African American Cultural Center



The Art in Architecture (AIA) Program of the University of Illinois Facilities & Services is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) to recognized professional artists, artisans, or artist-led teams, to create permanent original public artwork for the interior of the new Bruce D. Nesbit African American Cultural Center (BNAACC). Professional artists are invited to submit proposals to design, fabricate and install artwork to be considered for the permanent original public art at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). This call seeks art for the Bruce D. Nesbit African American Cultural Center in Urbana, Illinois.

BUDGET:  $16,000 (purchase of portable artwork)

ELIGIBILITY: Professional artists over 18 residing in and legally permitted to work in the United States

DEADLINE: March 2, 2020 4:00 p.m. C.S.T.

Request full RFP document with site diagrams by emailing with a return email address. Please include the following in the subject line of the email; “BNAACC – AiA RFP Request”.

About the BNAACC
The mission of Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center is to provide a network of programs and support services promoting the individual, social, cultural and academic well-being of Illinois’ African American students. We develop sustainable initiatives that examine the Black experience in the United States and throughout the African Diaspora via critical dialogue, heritage exploration and the performing arts. Furthermore, we challenge all Illinois students to critically assess their role as global citizens and to consciously advocate for a respectful campus environment and community.


  • To serve as a vehicle for self-expression and leadership enhancement to students of African descent through the vehicles of workshops, seminars, and performing arts groups.
  • To promote campus-wide understanding of the unique contributions of African Americans to the life and culture of the campus, the nation and indeed the world.
  • To encourage within African American students a growing sense of pride and dignity based on their rightful cultural heritage, and to assist them in acquiring a growing cultural awareness.
  • To provide assistance to African American student organizations on the Urbana campus.
  • To provide opportunities for all students to engage in the vital cultural and social experience of meeting, interacting with, and learning from students of diverse backgrounds.
  • To facilitate meaningful relationships and networking opportunities between African American students and Illinois alumni.

Project Description
Regarded as one of America’s oldest African American Cultural Centers located on a college or university campus, the African American Cultural Center celebrated 45 years of existence in 2014 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The African American Cultural Center along with the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois joined in an effort to design and build a new state of the art facility located in its new location at the corner of Nevada St. and Matthews Avenue. The new facility was completed in the summer of 2019 and received its new name Bruce D. Nesbit African American Cultural Center (“BNAACC”). The new facility enhances the academic experience including both curricular and co-curricular activities that genuinely reflect and represent the multiplicity of communities and cultures, as well as facilitate collaborative student, faculty and staff relationships among departments, other campus academic units and community partners. It works to foster the recruitment of new students via a sustainably built state-of-the-art building, integrating higher quality amenities and culturally relevant architectural designs tailored to represent the program’s vision that promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment, while being a safe and personal place to congregate.

The new center links student life and academic elements of the University in functional and meaningful ways. Architectural elements and building features reflect African-American culture as well as the spirit of traditional African architecture. Elements of art, decorations, patterns and the use of color, an inherent part of African and African American expression, are reflected throughout the building. The spatial design is characterized by exceptional flexibility, floor areas, structural systems and vertical movement (stairs/elevators) and organized in a way that changing demands can be accommodated. Additionally, the space allows for encounter, interaction, and exchange through widespread activities (exhibitions, programs, workshops, conferences, meetings, social gatherings, tutoring/classes, etc.) It is a dynamic space in constant evolution, which reflects the cultural significance within its interior and exterior spaces. For additional information on the Bruce D. Nesbit African American Cultural Center building see:

Artistic Objectives
The selection committee has created the objectives for this specific area to complement and celebrate the buildings use. Choice of media for the project is broad but should be in material suitable for an interior environment. The selection committee will consider artwork of any media.

Location: The artwork shall be located on the walls of the Educational Resources, Room 2016 located near the top of the stairs on the second floor. This area is a gathering space for students and contains historical resources for the students. In addition, this space will be included on campus tours for potential students considering enrolling in the University.

Artwork Goals: The artist shall speak to the fact the building is designed to emphasize the beauty and range within the African Diaspora or global Black community.

Interested artists must send the electronic copy of the required material by Monday March 2, 2020 at 4:00 P.M CST.

Selection Process

Artists 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.

What to Submit

Artists and artist-led teams interested in the project should email one copy of each of the following items. Each item should be labeled with the artist’s name.

  1. JPEG Images (10-15) of the artwork along with size and media of the artwork
  2. Artist Resume (if a team, one from each team member) with current contact information
  3. Artist Statement of Intent (one page maximum)
  4. Professional references including contact information

Note: Send images as JPEG files only. Slides will not be accepted nor returned. All submittals become the property of the University of Illinois Art in Architecture Program and will not be returned. The artist retains copyrights to their work.

How to Submit

Electronic copies of the required material must be RECEIVED by Monday March 2, 2020 at 4:00 P.M CST. 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 digital 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 Trent Beane,


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