Call Detail
The Firehouse
Entry Deadline: 12/5/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 12
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 12
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: California
Budget: $18,000


MidPen Housing Corporation is hiring an artist or artist team with expertise in one or more of the following areas; ceramics, mosaic and tile, metal fabrication, and/or assemblage. The commission is for the design and installation of an approximately 12 square foot wall piece for the exterior of a new MidPen Housing affordable housing community called The Firehouse. The development, located at 1300 El Camino Real in Belmont, California, is named after an historic firehouse that was built on the site in the 1930s. The façade and historic windows of the firehouse have been retained and are to be incorporated into the new housing community’s exterior façade.  Local artists and or artists from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Artists with exterior ceramic experience and outdoor installation are preferred.

The artist's unique challenge is to combine salvaged materials from the original structure, primarily hand-made decorative tiles, with new materials and expression, in order to honor the site’s history while observing its renewed purpose as a visual anchor for the current neighborhood.

The public art will be installed and maintained permanently on The Firehouse property for the enjoyment of both The Firehouse residents and passersby. The intent of the new art installation is to honor the historic salvaged materials, provide enjoyment to the new Firehouse residents, and to contribute to the City of Belmont’s mission to increase public art in the Belmont community.

Project context and history

The Firehouse is a 4-story building that will provide homes for 66 low income families and individuals. The new development is located on a 1/2 acre site at a prominent corner of El Camino Real. The site is within a half mile of the Belmont Caltrans station and walking distance to a diverse range of amenities. The housing community will also include approximately 3,400 square feet of ground floor retail.

As part of the development, the historic firehouse facade is being retrofit as the main wall of the new community room. The original firehouse structure was built through the W.P.A., the Works Progress Administration Franklin D. Roosevelt, widely celebrated for employing many artists, creating significant public art works throughout civic spaces in the 1930's. The original firehouse is recognized as "Spanish Revival" style with a hexagonal tower and large domed windows. In preparation for the moving and renovation of the structure, over 12 square ft. of original hand-made tiles were carefully extracted from the interior of the building along with wrought iron railings.  In addition, the firehouse structure served as the Center for the Independence of the Disabled from 1975 until its recent vacancy.

Click here to view supporting images of the recovered materials.

From the exterior, recovered materials include:

·      60 decorative tiles

·      6 hearty copper gutters

·      6 wooden window frames

·      2 wall sconces

·      and other miscellaneous items  

MidPen is encouraging and facilitating an element of community participation in the design of this commission. Given the history of the site and the neighborhood, the artist is encouraged to work with established local arts entities and/or incorporate community input.

For research purposes, the artist will have full access to all historic resource evaluations, photographs and relevant documents.  We recommend that interested artists read through the Belmont Public Art Plan for reference on local community public art efforts. Site visits are highly recommended.  To arrange a site visit or request more information about the project please email Melissa Smedley at:

Application Requirements

Resume, Artist Statement, 6-12 images

Eligibility Criteria

Artists living within a 50 mile radius of the site with a connection to the Bay Area are preferred. Artists from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.