Call Detail
City of Boulder: NoBo Library
Entry Deadline: 4/17/19
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 2, Maximum:Max. 8
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 3
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 2, Maximum:Max. 8
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Unspecified
State: Colorado

The Boulder Office of Arts + Culture is seeking an artist, or artist team, for a site-specific public art commission for the forthcoming North Boulder (NoBo) Public Library. Envisioned to be a jewel in North Boulder, the library facility will be a beacon for the community, meet the City’s climate action goals, be integrated with and reflect the area’s natural surroundings.  Possible locations and themes for the NoBo Library Public Art Project have been identified with specific emphasis on shared goals of the library facility.

This public art opportunity has a total budget of $225,000. Although it is anticipated the contract will be given to one artist/artist team in the full amount, it has the possibility to be assigned into two projects: a signature project of $175,000 - $200,000 and a smaller-scale opportunity of $25,000 - $50,000. This will be determined prior to notification of semifinalists.

This commission is open to all artists/artist teams working in all media. The estimated budget is all-inclusive. A project-specific selection panel has been assembled for the selection process. The public art components will be managed by staff in the Office of Arts + Culture Public Art Program, with input from the project’s architect WORKac, and key members of the NoBo Library design advisory group and the city’s technical review committee.

Boulder Public Library and the NoBo Library Overview

The Boulder Public Library’s Vision: Connecting people, ideas, and information to transform lives and strengthen our community. The guiding principles of the Boulder Public Library can be found

NoBo Library:

The City of Boulder will construct a new North Boulder Branch Library to replace and expand library services that are currently offered at the NoBo Corner Library. During the past several years, the North Boulder community has experienced significant residential and commercial growth. Construction of a full-service North Boulder Branch Library has been a community priority since 1994 and requests for a full-service library in North Boulder continue to appear in library user surveys. It is a high-priority goal in the Library Master Plan.

The new North Boulder Branch Library is being developed by the architecture firm WORKac and is estimated to be 12,000 square feet. This library will offer expanded, community-oriented services with a strong focus on the customer experience. Envisioned as a jewel in North Boulder, the library facility will be designed to meet the City’s climate action goals for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The design uses sustainable strategies and technologies to create ‘iconic systems’ that inform the building’s architecture. The building will be integrated with and reflect the area’s natural surroundings, including an accessible green roof, a playground integrated into the building, community gardens and a large urban plaza that connects to Broadway.

 Key goals of the new NoBo Library:

1. The library will have iconic and unique architecture. It should be designed to become an icon in North Boulder.

2. The library will serve the North Boulder community’s library needs through community-oriented design, flexible, multi-functional spaces, including a makerspace, and integration of local art.

3. The library will be a showcase facility for meeting Boulder’s Climate Commitment.

4. The library will provide exceptional civic and community space.

Visit WORKac's Design Concept Presentation:   

About North Boulder

North Boulder boasts the city’s only formal Arts District, serves as a gateway to Boulder, and contains a mix of uses, including a variety of housing types, retail and food establishments, offices and studios, light industrial businesses, and parks and open spaces.

Since its founding, Boulder has attracted visual artists, poets, performers, writers, musicians, designers, and creative people of all kinds as a beautiful, inspiring, and supportive place to live, practice their craft, and prosper in the business of their art. The residents, workers, and business owners of the neighborhoods of North Boulder have consistently demonstrated support for the activities and impacts of a creative district, the recommendations for culture in the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan, and the Community Cultural Plan.

North Boulder has a long history, starting as an agricultural area and later developing into a neighborhood after WWII, when tracts of land were offered to returning soldiers.  North Boulder is unique to Boulder development in that it boasts a mix of density and uses. Additionally, the nearby Holiday Neighborhood was designed with sustainability and affordability in mind, providing a walkable neighborhood, public parks, and many types of residential units. The NoBo Art District, formalized by acknowledgement from the Boulder City Council in May 2017, creates opportunities for artists to connect with each other and the broader community through art, education, and events. The NoBo Art District Mission is to enrich and advance the arts in Boulder through educational activities and engagement that promote the role of artists and creatives in our community.

North Boulder is described as “mixed, diverse and unexpected. The old quirky Boulder with the new and young, all mixed together.”

Residents compiled the following descriptive list during the NoBo Place Project:

Alive • First Friday Art • active • bikers • artists’ haven • gritty • excitement • beautiful, radiant, dramatic light • innovative • creative spirit • casual atmosphere • cauldron of opportunities • community • contemporary • crossroads • contrasts in new and old • urban • off beat • potential • developing open opportunities • scrappy • vintage • good restaurants • inclusive • individualistic • inviting • less crowded • unique to our city • multi-dimensional • old, but so NEW! • new restaurants, shops • old strip mall • place where the mountains meet the plains • quirky • really needs some public ART!

Public Art: Parameters & Goals

The selection panel’s specific goals for this public art opportunity are to create a unique work of art that contributes to and compliments this new library facility and reflects the NoBo neighborhood. Artists interested in applying are invited to submit work samples that exhibit how their work might address interior/exterior and dualities/contrasts articulated in WORKac’s presentation.  

Appropriate & Unique: The selection panel seeks a one-of-a-kind artwork. No specific site has been determined, as the selection panel feels this is best explored once an artist has joined the project team.

Location: The NoBo Library will be constructed in north Boulder between Broadway and 13th Street (west/east) and Rosewood and Violet Avenues (north/south). The final project’s location may require site-specific permitting, which will be the selected artist’s responsibility. It should be noted the project includes a footprint within the floodplain. Artists are encouraged to avoid working within the floodplain, or to research stipulations associated with building within a floodplain.

Materials & Media: The project is currently open to artwork of any media. The City of Boulder is committed to sustainability and resilience in the need for climate change adaptation. This will be a selection panel consideration.

Durability & Maintenance:   All public art projects in Colorado are exposed to weather, physical stresses, and subject to vandalism, and should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Semi-finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator or fabricator before submitting a final proposal. Artist proposals awarded contracts will be reviewed by the selection panel, the Office of Arts and Culture, the Technical Review Committee (a project-specific technical group comprised of city staff and Broadway Reconstruction Project design professionals), the Boulder Arts Commission, and the City Manager’s Office to ensure conformity with city standards of construction, maintenance and durability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.  All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved timeframe, integrated with the overall NoBo Library project.

Applying for these opportunities

In response to this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), applicants will be asked to submit up-to eight digital images of existing work samples, two video or audio samples, a résumé or CV, and a statement of interest in the NoBo Library Public Art opportunity of no more than 2,000 characters via (CaFÉ™).  From these applications, the selection panel will choose between three and five semi-finalists who will be brought in for an interview with the panel. If a formal proposal is requested, the artists/artist teams will be provided an honorarium to prepare and present the proposal in person.  Semi-finalists are strongly encouraged to conduct a site visit, and will be expected to pay for travel expenses from the honorarium.  The project selection panel will choose an artist/artist team for this commission from the interview or proposal. 

Eligibility:  This project is open to all artists, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, gender variance, national origin, age, religion, marital status, political opinion or affiliation, or mental or physical handicap.  Artists working in any media are eligible to apply.  Artists are not required to have previous experience in public art.

Can a team apply?:  Applicant(s) may apply as a single artist or multi-person collaboration.  In the case of teams, please submit a single résumé for the whole team (see details below).

Selected artists will collaborate with the NoBo Library Design Advisory Group and Technical Review Committee when finalizing their designs for installation. Public art commissions must go through applicable review and permitting processes.


This public art opportunity has a total budget of $225,000. Although it is anticipated the contract will be given to one artist/artist team in the full amount, it could be assigned to two projects: a signature project of $175,000 - $200,000 and a more human-scale opportunity of $25,000 - $50,000. This will be determined before semifinalists are notified.

This budget 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; insurance, including Colorado Workers Compensation; small tools; materials; fabrication; transportation and 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 of any kind. The project timeline will ideally be integrated with the NoBo Library construction timeline, with the potential for collaborative budgeting opportunities. 

Tentative Timeline

(Except for online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments):

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 11:59 p.m. MDT       Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)

Week of May 8, 2019                 Semi-finalist selection

May 15, 2019                              Notify semi-finalists

May 15 – July 8, 2019                Proposal development and site visit (to be scheduled)

July 10, 2019                              Draft proposals due for Technical Review Committee review

Week of July 22, 2019                Semi-finalists present proposals, community engagement

August 21, 2019                          Boulder Arts Commission Review

Late August 2019                        Finalist notification

Mid-2020                                     Library construction begins

This timeline reflects a goal to integrate into the library’s construction timeline: Library design finalized May 2019, Construction anticipated to begin mid-2020.

Project Selection Panel

The NoBo Library Public Art Selection Panel is composed of six voting members. The technical review committee is composed of approximately seven additional non-voting advisors. 

Selection Process

Between three and five artists/artist teams will be selected as semi-finalists and will receive a $1,500 honorarium. They will receive more specific information regarding the site and will have the opportunity to meet with the selection panel and technical review committee during a site visit. The selection panel will interview and/or review proposals from the semi-finalists and recommend finalists for the commission.

Community engagement is a vital component in Boulder’s decision-making process. Semi-finalists should be prepared to present or have their proposals presented to the public in some fashion during the decision-making process. The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Boulder Arts Commission and the city manager for final approval.

Materials to be Submitted

Please read this section carefully. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered, without exception. 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:   To be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit up to eight digital images of previously completed artworks through the CaFÉ™ system.  Artists who wish to submit kinetic, sound, or media works may include up to two videos and up to two audio attachments.

Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found at:  Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available during regular business hours by calling 303-629-1166 or 1-888-562-7232, or e-mail  If you do not have access to a computer, call 303-441-4342 to make arrangements to use the Office of Arts and Culture computer.

Statement of Interest:  Please submit a statement of interest that briefly outlines your interest in the NoBo Library Public Art Project and experience working on projects of this kind (2,000 character maximum) via CaFÉ™. 

Résumé/CV:  Submit a one-to-two-page current résumé or CV, via CaFÉ™ that highlights your professional accomplishments as an artist.  Please name your résumé file accordingly: Last name. First initial (i.e. Smith.J.doc).  Résumés over two pages will not be downloaded.  If applying as a team, please submit one résumé with one to two pages per team member. 

References:  Submit two or three professional references that can speak to your accomplishments as an artist.

Questions about the project:  Please contact Mandy Vink, public art administrator and NoBo Library Public Art Project Manager: 303-441-4342 or

For more information about the Public Art Program, visit Boulder’s Community Cultural Plan can be found

Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria