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REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
Public Art Project
Pauline Robinson Branch Library
Budget: Approximately $17,000.00 USD
Eligibility: Open to artists or artist teams residing in the state of Colorado
DEADLINE: Tuesday, July 18, 2023, 11:59 P.M. MST
The City and County of Denver’s Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or team of artists to create an original public artwork, or series of artworks, for the Denver Public Library: Pauline Robinson Branch located at 5575 E. 33rd Ave., Denver, CO 80207. A 13-member selection panel of community representatives, arts and culture professionals, and civic leaders has been assembled to identify art opportunities, and to select and recommend an artist or artist team for this project. The selection panel has identified one outdoor and two indoor locations for potential art opportunities for the allocated total budget of approximately $17,000.00 USD.
We acknowledge that the land Denver’s Public Art Collection occupies - - land where we stand, live, work and learn - - is the traditional territory of the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapaho Peoples. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado. Our nation was founded upon, and continues to enact, exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples. May this acknowledgement demonstrate a commitment to dismantling ongoing legacies of oppression and inequities, as we intentionally honor and celebrate the Indigenous communities in our city and express our gratitude for their ongoing and significant contributions. Let’s not forget that this land was theirs long before we made it ours.
Park Hill Neighborhood
The greater Park Hill community consists of three designated neighborhoods: Northeast Park Hill, North Park Hill and South Park Hill. Located in northeast Denver, the area is bounded by Interstate 70, Colorado Boulevard, Quebec Street and Colfax Avenue. Park Hill has a long and storied history. The area was originally settled in the late 1880s and became an established neighborhood by the early 1920s; it is frequently characterized as one of Denver’s most desirable places to live. However, racially restrictive covenants were established that limited who could live in Park Hill, and for many years, Downing Street was the racial dividing line in Denver.
By the 1960s, Park Hill became ground zero for residential and school integration. The Park Hill Action Committee, which later became the Greater Park Hill Neighborhood Inc., was formed to help organize the neighborhood and its civic efforts. To this day, pride in Park Hill runs deep. Annual tours, civic and neighborhood events, and civic participation characterize community life.
Pauline Robinson was a trailblazer who fought for equal rights and better opportunities for children. She was one of the first Black graduates from the University of Denver and became the first Black librarian in Denver in 1943. She worked at several branches of the Denver Public Library (DPL), establishing many programs that still exist today, including Summer of Adventure, one of the largest summer reading programs in the country.
Robinson was active in the community and her impact extended beyond Park Hill. She was instrumental in desegregating Lakeside Amusement Park. She organized the first Negro History Week, which later became Denver’s Black History Month. Robinson also served on the selection committees for the nation’s two most prestigious children’s book awards. She has been honored by an induction into the Colorado Black Hall of Fame in 1973 and posthumously into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.
Pauline Robinson Branch Library
Denver Public Library desired to create another branch in the city and selected a site in northeast Park Hill. The Pauline Robinson Branch Library was built in 1995 and opened in March of 1996. With support from the community, DPL named the branch in Pauline Robinson’s honor. She was able to attend the groundbreaking, but passed away less than a year later on February 18, 1997.
The Pauline Robinson Branch Library serves as a community hub. In addition to the library, other local neighborhood organizations include the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center, the Center for African American Health, and the Vickers Boys & Girls Club at the Nancy P. Anschutz Center. The area is also home to Skyland Park, as well as neighborhood businesses, churches and schools.
Currently, the library has aging infrastructure, and inadequate community spaces and staff work areas for the population it serves. The renovation project associated with this public art project will increase square footage with an addition, and provide renovated spaces and updated equipment.
Goals, Site, Media & Materials
The selection panel members have set forth specific goals and parameters for this public art project with the hope of creating unique and inspiring works of art for library users.
The panel is very invested in artwork that recognizes Pauline Robinson’s contributions to Park Hill and the greater Denver community. The panel is interested in artwork that highlights Black culture and its significance to the neighborhood and community. The panel desires to see artwork that is enriching and educational, and sparks curiosity; additionally, the panel is invested in artwork that is welcoming, inclusive and accessible to all. Although not required, the panel is open to interactive artwork. Works that are engaging and help to tell the story of Pauline Robinson and her contributions are encouraged. The selection panel encourages artists from the local community, emerging artists and/or artists who have yet to receive a public art commission to apply for this opportunity.
The panel has identified two main areas as potential sites for public art, located inside the library. Selected finalists will create proposals corresponding with one or both of these areas.
Media & Materials:
Artworks could be created using diverse media including, but not limited to, paint, sculpture and mosaic applications. Works that are engaging and help to tell the story of the library, neighborhood and surrounding communities are encouraged. The selection panel is open to artwork in all media and materials that are suitable for indoor display.
Maintenance & Durability
This artwork will become a permanent addition to the Denver Public Art collection. All applicants must consider the issues of long-term conservation and maintenance of public art, along with time and budget. These projects are in the public realm and will be exposed to physical stresses, as well as be subject to vandalism. Public art projects should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator prior to the submission of a final proposal. Artist proposals awarded contracts will be reviewed by the City of Denver’s Public Art Committee to ensure conformity with city standards of maintenance and durability, as well as ADA standards. All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved time frame.
The budget for this commission is approximately $17,000.00 USD which will be allocated to the artist/team selected. These funds come from the City of Denver’s 1% Percent for Public Art Ordinance resulting from renovation of the Pauline Robinson Branch Library. This contract amount is inclusive of all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to, the artist’s design fee, other consultation fees such as structural engineering consultation, insurance (including Colorado Workers Compensation), tools, materials, fabrication, transportation, installation, any building or site modification required, travel to and from the site, per diem expenses, project documentation, contingency to cover unexpected expenses, and any other costs. For all work done on city property, prevailing wage requirements will be applied.
(Except for online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments)
- July 18, 2023 11:59 P.M. MST Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)
- June/July 2023 Finalist Selection
- September/October 2023 Selected Artist or Artist Team Notification
Project Selection Panel
According to Denver’s Public Art policy, the project selection panel plays an active role in the commission of public art for the City and County of Denver. The Pauline Robinson Library selection panel is comprised of 11 voting members and two non-voting advisors. The selection panel is responsible for reviewing the site, establishing criteria for a request for qualifications, reviewing applications, selecting and interviewing finalists, and finally for selecting an artist or artist team for the commission.
- Three to five artists/artist teams will be selected as finalists. Those selected will receive more specific information regarding the site and have the opportunity to meet with community members from the selection panel, Denver Public Library, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Denver Public Art program staff. The finalists will receive an honorarium to prepare the proposal and present it in-person or virtually.
- The selection panel will review the proposals, interview the finalists, and recommend an artist/artist team for the commission.
- The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Public Art Committee, the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, and the mayor of Denver for final approval.
*All decisions of the City and County of Denver are final.
Applying for these opportunities
In response to this RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit the following items via www.callforentry.org (CaFÉ™).
- Six digital images of past work
- Statement of interest no longer than 2,000 characters
From these applications, the selection panel will choose three to five finalists who will create site-specific proposals and be interviewed in-person or virtually. Artists will be paid an honorarium for this work. Artists/teams selected as finalists will be required to submit a Diversity & Inclusiveness Form for their proposals to be considered, which will be provided upon notification. As directed by Executive Order 101, this form must be submitted for all city solicitations of proposals. Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program staff can provide guidance on filling out this form.
Based on the interview and proposal, an artist or artist team will be selected for this commission. The selected artist or artist team will work with the Public Art Program staff, Denver Public Library, and Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) staff when finalizing their designs for installation.
Materials to be Submitted
Please read this section carefully. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered. The applicant’s name must appear on all materials submitted.
All materials must be submitted online, via the CaFÉ™ website (www.callforentry.org). There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.
In order to be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit six digital images of previously completed artworks through the online CaFÉ™ system. Artists who wish to submit kinetic, sound or media works must submit a complete CaFÉ™ application and will have the opportunity to upload one video file.
IMPORTANT: if submitting audio or video files, do not use them as your very first image. They must be submitted last in your image sequence.
Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found at https://www.callforentry.org/uploading-images-audio-and-video-files/.
Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available here: https://www.callforentry.org/artist-help-cafe/.
If an artist does not have access to a computer, s/he/they may call 720-865-5564 to make arrangements to use a computer at Denver Arts & Venues.
To request this RFQ in an alternate format (such as Braille, large print or accessible electronic format) please contact DisabilityAccess@denvergov.org.
To request this RFQ in another language, please contact Amber.Fochi@denvergov.org.
Statement of Interest
Please submit a brief statement (2,000 character maximum) outlining the following:
- Your interest in the Pauline Robinson Library Public Art project
- Your approach and experience working on projects of this kind
- Please also include information on your experience working with diverse communities and stakeholders
Submit a one to two-page current résumé via CaFÉ™ that highlights your professional accomplishments as an artist. Please name your résumé file accordingly: Last name.First initial (i.e. Smith.J.pdf). Résumés that are more than two pages will not be downloaded. If applying as a team, please submit one résumé with no more than one page per team member.
Applicants will also be required to fill out a short demographic survey when submitting the CaFÉ™ application.
Applicants who are selected to be finalists will be required to provide three professional references.
Denver Public Art is also hosting a virtual pre-application meeting on Thursday, June 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m. for interested applicants. The meeting will cover project backgrounds and goals, and the application process for these two Requests for Qualifications: Athmar Park Library, and Pauline Robinson Library. Attendees will also get information on CallForEntry.org through which artists may apply. This event will be hosted on Zoom. Interested applicants are asked to register to get information on how to join prior to the event. If you cannot attend, a recording will be available on the Denver Arts & Venues Vimeo channel.
Who May Apply
This project is open to artists who reside in the state of Colorado. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to building a public art collection that represents a broad diversity of artists and encourages applicants from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities including artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/x, People of Color (BILPOC), people with disabilities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexual, asexual, Two-Spirit + (LGBTQIA2S+) communities. Denver Arts & Venues also encourages applicants at various stages in their career and applicants practicing a variety of artistic disciplines.
Can a team apply?
Applicants may apply as a single artist or multi-person collaborative group. If applying as a team, please submit one résumé for the team, with no more than one page per team member.
Please direct all questions about the project to:
Megan Deffner, Public Art Program Administrator, email@example.com, 720-865-5564.