Call Detail
Ramapo College of NJ Learning Commons
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Entry Deadline: 8/3/20
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 4, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 4, Maximum:Max. 6
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: New Jersey

Information for Arts Inclusion for the Ramapo College of New Jersey Learning Commons 

Outdoor Sculpture/ Feature at Entrance to Learning Commons 

Ramapo College of New Jersey is soliciting Expressions of Interest (“EOI”) from prospective artists to design, fabricate and install artwork for the Learning Commons at its Mahwah, New Jersey campus. The proposed artwork for the  building is part of the New Jersey Arts Inclusion Program and is coordinated by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Ramapo College.  

Since the passage of the New Jersey Arts Inclusion Act of 1978, the program has led to the commissioning and installation of hundreds of public artworks in state financed construction projects throughout New Jersey.  The Act requires that up to 1.5% of the state financed construction budget is set aside for the inclusion of publicly accessible art.

Ramapo College is the state’s premiere Public Liberal Arts institution. The College is dedicated to providing students with a strong foundation for a lifetime of achievement. Ramapo College values academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College emphasizes teaching and individual attention to all students. Diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement and community involvement are promoted by the College. Ramapo College boasts an average student/faculty ratio of 16:1 and an average class size of 21, affording students the opportunity to develop close ties to the College’s exceptional faculty.

The quality and value of a Ramapo College education is consistently acknowledged through numerous rankings, awards and accolades. The College has been named among the top three (after Princeton and Stevens Institute of Technology) and Number One among the public institutions in New Jersey in College Choice’s ranking. 

Project Description

Ramapo College seeks innovative and permanent artwork for one or both of two outdoor spaces north of the new Learning Commons. The Learning Commons addition will add 18,000 square feet of space to the existing 62,000 square feet of the George T. Potter Library. Anticipated completion date is mid-year 2021. Construction will include the Library collection, meeting spaces, study space, classrooms and state-of-the-art research capabilities. 


The two main spaces for which the College is requesting public art are in front of the Learning Commons building at the crest of a large hill. The public artwork should be of the magnitude to be highly visible in either of the two spaces in the Learning Commons location. The form could range from dramatic landscape re-arrangement to seating, to the installation of sculpture in either, or both, of the locations indicated on the diagram. This area contains high pedestrian traffic and occasional utility vehicle traffic. 


Ideally the work placed in front of the Learning Commons (whether one or multiple locations noted) would welcome our constituents and inspire enthusiasm about knowledge and learning at Ramapo when they think of the Learning Commons. The artwork will help define the character of the area and encourage its use as a gathering space. 


The committee is seeking proposals along the lines of permanent sculpture, hard-scaping, creative landscaping, or seating.

Description of Users, Materials and Location

The users of the space will most likely fall into 3 categories: 1) students of Ramapo College, 2) faculty & staff, and 3) engaged community members. A large portion of the College’s students commute, making on-campus spaces for “down time” important. Faculty and staff will often make use of non-traditional outdoor spaces in order to hold meetings or discussions during good weather. The College is often spoken of as a “hidden gem” but does want stakeholders from off campus to explore and enjoy what the College has to offer. The expanded Library and Learning Commons is something that the College expects many new folks from off-campus to take advantage of and wants their time on campus to be memorable. 

Materials present on the exterior of the Learning Commons include slate, blackened steel and glass. The building opposite this one is curved orange brick with purple tile accents.  The Learning Commons sits atop the crest of a hill among a backdrop of dark pines. The campus is generally quite leafy and bucolic with dry stone walls lining many pathways.

During the design process, in anticipation of the inclusion of public art, discussions between the architect, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts representative, users of the building, and agency management and staff took place.  These stakeholders comprise the selection committee. Potential locations and themes, motifs and materials were discussed that would integrate the art within the context of the Learning Commons building.  The following represents a general understanding of the desired locations and thematic material for the Arts Inclusion Component: 

Creative Direction 

Rather than direct with a theme or motif, it is important to know that Ramapo College of New Jersey values diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement and community involvement. This project should seek to make the campus more engaging and hospitable to students. Proposals for this space should seek to reach out and draw students into the Learning Commons and encourage stakeholders to relax and invest time in this outdoor area of campus with incredible West-facing mountain views. 


  • The front lawn of the Learning Commons, across from the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts, is in two locations, one bisected by a walkway, and the other near a patio. Both locations have the Learning Commons as their backdrop, atop a large hill with the main parking lot below.


  • No official preferred materials though the artwork should work in its physical relationship to the landscape and buildings around it. It should be permanent, durable, and low-maintenance, requiring minimal upkeep.
  • The materials used must be durable, graffiti-resistant, appropriate for a public setting, and environmentally friendly. 

Please refer to the attached site plan for details on the potential location(s) for the inclusion of the art piece.

Arts Inclusion Project Budget

The proposed budget for the artwork is $160,000.00, all inclusive.  

Note: It is possible for an artist to propose one piece for one space, two pieces for two spaces or one larger work in two parts where both spaces are addressed in one body of work. Regardless, the budget of $160,000.00, inclusive of all costs and expenses, will stand for any combination of these proposals.

This call is for the Ramapo College of New Jersey Library Commons only. Other individual projects by State of New Jersey entities feature separate CAFÉ calls. 

The budget shall cover all costs incurred by the artist relating to the design, fabrication and installation of the art work.  Covered expenses include but shall not be limited to compensation for design and engineering services, materials, transportation of artwork, insurance, documentation, permitting, fabrication, installation, etc.

Three finalists each will receive $2,000 to help cover travel and interview preparation expenses. 

Anticipated Process

Three potential artists will be selected from those who are shortlisted or submit expressions of interest. The selected finalist artists will be contacted and requested to prepare a project specific proposal that will be presented, in person, at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah, New Jersey to the Arts Inclusion Selection Committee.

Artists interested in participating in the project shall utilize the web system to submit letters summarizing their interest in this project and experience in the creation of public artworks.  The letter shall be no more than 3 pages, and include a list of at least 3 references (name, contact information – phone number and e-mail address) for similar projects.  In addition to the letter the artists should include other pertinent information including their resume, photographs/images (minimum: 4, maximum: 6) of examples of installations of public art, website links, etc.  Any materials submitted online will be reviewed by the Selection Committee. Materials will not be accepted in any other way except through the process. 

Three (3) artists shall be selected to prepare project-specific, in person, presentations to the Selection Committee.  The presentations shall take place at Ramapo College’s Mahwah, New Jersey campus.  Each of the three (3) finalists shall receive a stipend in the amount of $2,000.00 to cover costs associated with the preparation of the presentation and travel expenses.

Schedule *

Posting date:    May 11, 2020

Closing Deadline:    August 3, 2020

Jury/Panel Review Begins:    August 10, 2020

Jury/Panel Review End:    August 17, 2020

Notification of Finalists:    August 24, 2020 (artists prepare project specific presentations to be presented in-person in September.) It is recommended that finalists plan site visits between 8/22/20 and 12/01/20.

Finalist Presentations (in person):    Between December 1, 2020 and December 21, 2020

Notification of Selected Artist:    January 20, 2021

Authorization to Proceed:    Week of February 1, 2021

Completion of Project:    November 30, 2021 (art work completed and installed) it is anticipated that the artists shall provide periodic updates as to the progress of the design and fabrication of the art.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all dates are subject to change


Site plan renderings attached


For technical assistance with the CAFÉ system and application process, please see CAFÉ help ( or contact CAFÉ technical support: 

For project specific questions, all questions must be received in writing. Please direct project specific questions to:

Ann Lepore

Convener Visual Arts

Ramapo College of New Jersey

505 Ramapo Valley Road

Mahwah, NJ 07430


Ramapo College of New Jersey reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject any or all applications, proposals, applicants, or projects, and to modify or terminate the application process or the selection process for any reason and without prior notice unless otherwise required by applicable law. Applicant agrees that any and all materials submitted pursuant to this call for entry become the property of Ramapo College of New Jersey and shall not be returned to Applicant. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Applicant shall retain all copyright in the work which may be held by Applicant. 

For additional information about the Ramapo College of New Jersey and the project, please go to:

Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria