Call Detail
Public Art at the Durham County Main Library
Entry Deadline: 2/26/19
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 10
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 10
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: North Carolina

Public Art at the Durham County Main Library

RFQ No. 19-016


The County of Durham, North Carolina, invites qualified artists or artist teams to submit Qualifications for the design, fabricate, and installation of art to enhance the public spaces of the Durham County Main Library.    


Project Goals

Create artwork inspired by the Durham County Library System's 120-year journey to twenty-first century technology, resource innovation, and citizen enrichment. Install original work that will artistically promote the new Durham County Main Library as a vibrant, modern learning environment and vital component of the downtown culture.

Project Description

The County of Durham, North Carolina is seeking artists or artist teams (“Candidates”) to design, fabricate, and install permanent public artwork at the Durham County Main Library currently under construction. Candidates should have experience creating public art that fosters a unique sense of place. The Main Library is located on approximately 4 acres on North Roxboro Street between Liberty Street and Holloway Street, and is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2019 (Exhibit A).


The main entrance to the Library is from the Liberty Street side.  Two areas have been identified for Public Art. The first area identified for Public Art is at the intersection of North Roxboro and Liberty Streets.  Adjacent to this corner is a large entry plaza with bench seating which provides a unique opportunity for engagement and interaction with the Public. The second area is inside the Library is directly across from the main entrance along the monumental stair wall (Exhibit B). These installations will be highly visible to all pedestrians, passing traffic and visitors to the Library and downtown Durham.



The total budget for this Public Art project is $100,000. This allocation is inclusive of all costs associated with this project, including materials, equipment, labor, permits, engineering documents, insurance, taxes, travel, installation, shipping, identification plaque, maintenance instructions document, and written and professional photographic documentation of the completed project.



Durham County defines Public Art as original visual art including, but not limited to, sculptures, murals, photographic renderings, mosaics, lighting and electronic art installations installed on a permanent basis in spaces which are visible from public streets and pedestrian walkways, free of any admission fee, through a public process providing opportunity for community input.


Commissioned artwork should be respectful of the values and mission of Durham County and its Library system. The work should be culturally responsive and make visible strides to engage with

and connect to the public by activating and enhancing the facility’s grounds. Interested Candidates should be mindful of the operational activities and regular daily use of the facility and seek to create an inviting civic statement that welcomes visitors, building staff, and passersby.


Project Background

The transformation of the Main Library represents a significant capital project costing approximately $44.3M.  Designed by the firm of Vines Architecture, the new 85,000 square foot state-of-the-art "Library for the Future" will replace the 65,000 square foot 1980 Main Library building that had reached the end of its useful life.  Funds for the project were approved in the 2016 bond referendum.


The new Library will be LEED Certified and includes an auditorium with telescopic seating to allow flexibility in its utilization, and an amphitheater to extend Library programming into the outdoors.  Technologies planned for the new Library include computer use and training areas as well as gaming spaces, conference areas, 3D printing/maker spaces, video production areas, recording areas, and the capacity to incorporate emerging technologies. The North Carolina Collection will be permanently housed in the new facility.


For more information, please visit:


About the Durham County Library System:

The Durham County Library system is committed to creating a community of lifelong learners.  Their mission is Encourage Discovery, Connect to the Community, and Lead in Literacy by promoting comprehensive literacy for the residents of Durham.  In addition to the traditional aspects of reading, the Library desires to be a significant resource for all areas of literacy including cultural, technological, business, and others. The Library is S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) focused while encouraging creativity and innovation among both users and staff.  As a department of Durham County Government, the Library furthers GOAL 1 of the County's strategic plan by enhancing cultural, educational, and creative opportunities.

About the Library Service District and surrounding neighborhoods:

"The Main Library is an integral part of the downtown community" said Tammy Baggett, Library Director.  With recent or planned renovations occurring close to the Library site, and future development being explored or proposed, the need to fully connect the Library into the greater context of Durham will be key.  The building will be a signature component of downtown for generations to come. Visitors will arrive to the building from the heart of downtown to the south and west, and from neighborhoods to the north.


Durham’s History:

A booming County in North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle, Durham began in 1864 as a small rail depot village. Tobacco drove the early economic development of Durham; the distinctive voice of the Piedmont Blues music grew to entertain workers, and the largest black-owned insurance company in the country opened its headquarters on Parrish Street in 1906. Drawing on this rich and diverse history, Durham has reimagined and repurposed its earlier tobacco and textile warehouses and prominent landmarks to create a vibrant downtown.  Southern Living Magazine wrote: "With a reverence for life’s everyday pleasures (we’re talking coffee, beer, pizza, and pie here), a passionate mix of chefs, farmers, brewers, bakers, and baristas have quietly transformed Durham into one of the hottest food destinations in the South.


Part of what makes Bull City compelling is the confluence of old and new: Its foodie future is gradually wiping out its tobacco past, yet remnants of the town’s first industry provide a backdrop for its current scene. Both the American Tobacco Historic District and Brightleaf Square, two mixed-use developments brimming with restaurants, bars, and live music venues, are housed in former tobacco warehouses that date back to the 1800s and 1900s."  Four local Chef's recently became James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalists, and two national award-winning micro-breweries and craft distilleries have located downtown.  Since 2000, the County has experienced exponential growth with a total of $1.3 billion in investments.

For more information about Durham, please visit:

All questions and requests for clarifications relative to this RFQ should be submitted in writing via email to Hilda W. Williams by 3:00 P.M., on   February 15, 2019.

All responses to questions will be submitted online via Call for Entry (located at https//


Project Manager(s)


Brenda Hayes-Bright, Durham County Engineering




Peri Manns, Durham County Deputy Director of Engineering and Environmental Services