Call Detail
Ross-Barnum Library
Entry Deadline: 7/18/23
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 8
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 9
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: Colorado
Budget: 20,000.00 USD


Public Art Project

Ross-Barnum Library

Budget: Approximately $20,000.00 USD

Eligibility: Open to artists or artist teams residing in the state of Colorado

DEADLINE: Tuesday, July 18, 11:59 P.M. MST



The City of Denver’s Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or team of artists to create an original public artwork for the Ross-Barnum Library located at 3570 West 1st Avenue, Denver, CO 80219. A 13-member selection panel of community representatives, arts and culture professionals, and civic leaders has been assembled to select and recommend an artist or artist team for this project. The selection panel has identified one potential outdoor area for the artwork for the allocated total budget of approximately $20,000.00 USD.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which Denver’s Public Art Collection works stand - - land where we stand, live 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.

Barnum Neighborhood

The Barnum Neighborhood, located in the west area of Denver, is bounded by Federal Boulevard, West Alameda Avenue, South Perry Street and West 6th Avenue (6th Avenue Freeway). In 1878, circus mogul Phineas T. Barnum bought 760 acres and the Barnum subdivision was platted. Barnum never wintered his animals in Colorado and only made four documented trips to the state. The Community Coalition for Barnum, the registered neighborhood organization that represents the Barnum and Barnum West neighborhoods, has discussed changing the name of the neighborhood. The effort would seek to create a unique identity that is separate from the circus folklore. However, a decision has not yet been made.

Barnum has always been a haven for working-class families. The area was annexed to the City of Denver in 1896, after which new residents, businesses and amenities followed. Beginning in the 1950s, the area began to see a large shift in its demographics. In 1950, 10% of Barnum residents identified as Latino/x; three decades later, most of its residents identified as Latino/x. Demographics continue to change and today, the area is home to a diverse populace of Denver, including refugee and immigrant communities. Barnum remains a vibrant, working-class neighborhood.

Ross-Barnum Library

The original Barnum Branch Library first set up shop in a firehouse, circa 1919. Organized by librarian Florence Briber, the firefighters themselves helped in setting up the shelves and shelving books, and the branch operated together with the working fire station. The current location opened in 1954 and was the second of four libraries funded by the Frederick R. Ross Trust. A major renovation in 1973 relocated the main entrance from the north to the east. Another renovation in 1994 added on to the children’s area and meeting space to the south. The branch serves a diverse area with Spanish and Vietnamese speakers as a large percentage of its patrons. Families represent a large segment of customers. The branch’s collection reflects the neighborhood’s diversity, and the library staff works hard to ensure access to materials and programs for these customers.

Personal Icons, a 3’ x 3’ bronze tile artwork, was permanently installed on the front of the building in 1989. The artist, Barry Rose, established a series of workshops at the library, working with people in the neighborhood to produce the bronze tile mural. Duplicates of these tiles are also a part of a much larger mural that involved eight different organizations, installed in the pavilion at City Park.  

Los Osos de Barnum Reciclan (The Barnum Bears Recycle), created by artist Alex Perinne in 2020, was a community place-making project funded though Denver Arts & Venues’ P.S. You Are Here Grant Program. These projects are generally temporary but if the organization and community have a desire to keep and maintain the piece, they can. Los Osos de Barnum Reciclan has become a beloved addition to the library and staff plan to keep and maintain the artwork.

The Ross-Barnum Branch Library will soon be undergoing a renovation to better meet the needs of the community. Improvements include making the basement accessible by installing an elevator, updating interior spaces with new finishes, furniture and fixtures, improving HVAC, surveillance and access control, electrical, IT, communication systems, and updating ADA compliance.

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 patrons and members of the community.


The Ross-Barnum Library is a community hub, providing services for the neighborhood that go beyond books. The panel is invested in artwork that is welcoming, inclusive and outward facing for the larger community. The panel would like to see artwork that is culturally representative of the diverse neighborhood. The panel encourages intentional artwork that draws focus to the entryway. While not required, the panel is interested in artwork that could be interactive or artwork that provides opportunities for the community to be included in its creation.


The panel has identified the white façade of the main entry as the preferred location for public art. Artwork in this location could extend the length of the facade and potentially wrap around to the north. Additionally, retaining walls outside of the entry or the underside of the façade could also be activated. Successful artwork will consider existing artwork at this location.

Media & Materials:

The selection panel is open to two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork in all media, materials and formats that are suitable for outdoor display, including mosaic and paint.

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 may therefore 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 $20,000.00 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 improvements made to the Ross-Barnum 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 the online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments)

July 18, 11:59 P.M. MST                                           Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)

August 2023                                                              Finalist Selection

October/November 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 Denver. The Ross-Barnum Library art selection panel is comprised of 12 voting members and one non-voting advisor. The selection panel is responsible for reviewing the site, establishing criteria for a request for qualifications, reviewing applications, selecting and interviewing finalists, and selecting an artist or artist team for the commission. 

Selection Process

  1. 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 art selection panel, Denver Public Library and Denver Public Art program staff. The finalists will receive an honorarium to prepare the proposal and present it in-person or virtually.
  2. The selection panel will review the proposals, interview the finalists and recommend an artist/artist team for the commission.
  3. 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.

Application Requirements

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 ( There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.

Digital Images

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

Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available here:

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

Statement of Interest

Please submit a brief statement (2,000-character maximum) outlining the following:

  • Your interest in the Ross-Barnum Library Public Art project including any ties to the Barnum neighborhod
  • Description of your general concept and design approach
  • 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 that will be sent to the email on file from 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 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.

Denver Arts & Venues complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender or language. It is your right to request oral or written language assistance services in your primary language, if needed. Please contact Amber Fochi at and these services will be provided to you free of charge.

Eligibility Criteria

Who May Apply

This project is open to artists who reside in the state of Colorado. The selection panel is especially interested in artists who can demonstrate a deep understanding of the library, its users and the neighborhood, as well as the area’s history and urban landscape. 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.

Applying for these opportunities

In response to this RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit the following items via (CaFÉ™).

  1. Six digital images of past work
  2. Resumé
  3. 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 Denver Public Art Program and Denver Public Library staff when finalizing their designs for installation.

Please direct all questions about the project to:

Megan Deffner, Denver Public Art Program Administrator,, 720-865-5564.