Library seeks artwork for common areas

by Samantha Stark

The Livingston Lord Library and Technology Center is located at the heart of MSUM’s campus and is home to the library, Information Technology, Faculty Development Center and the University Archives.

After an extensive two-year renovation, the library celebrated its grand opening in the fall of 2014. The 120,000 square feet of top-to-bottom renovation consists of new flooring, lighting, furniture, paint, grand central staircase and heating and ventilation throughout the building.

This renovated space is the tie that brings MSUM students, faculty and even the surrounding community together. In efforts to wrap-up the last of the renovation, MSUM left a percentage of the $19 million library renovation for art installation.

This percentage is required due to the Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places program, which acquires works of art to be exhibited in and around state buildings in areas regularly accessible to the general public. Artwork is purchased with funds provided by Minnesota’s 1984 “Percent for Art” legislation, which encourages state building projects with construction or renovation budgets of $500,000 or more to use up to one percent of the total construction budget to purchase or commission original artwork for the site.

“All significant building renovation projects at public institutions have an art component,” said Britney Goodman, Executive Director of Library Services. “The cap on what can be spent is $100,000.”

MSUM has allocated $75,000 to $85,000 for the selected artist. The project fees will cover all costs and expenses associated with designing, creating, and installing the artwork and implementing the scope of services.

In MSUM’s project they are seeking  artists to create a permanent art installation to be located on the Library’s first floor.

The first option is the library’s main lobby (on the west side of the library) that consists of 1,89 square feet combined with 9-foot ceilings. The bare space contains seating (that can be moved at artist’s direction) and stairs to Information Technology on the southeast corner.  Other than the two rest room doors, a few couches and a single water fountain, the main lobby craves artistic attention.

The second option is the library’s learning commons, or atrium, that contains the grand central staircase, decorative “pendant” pendulum lights, and a mezzanine on the second floor that overlooks the main grounds. To think of an artistic piece that compliments the bright, open space of the atrium may be a challenge for any artist.

Goodman said that artists can select either location unless they have an effective proposal that incorporates both locations. 

The deadline for artists to submit Request for Qualifications documents is Feb. 6.

“We have no idea what to expect on numbers,” Goodman said. “When I checked on Friday we had 21, although I expect several more before the deadline.”

The RFQ submission requirements consist of a brief introduction letter and the artist project approach, up to 10 images with a one page summary description of the artist’s previous work and curriculum vita.

Qualifications for the artist’s eligibility consist of previous commission experience with budgets in excess of $50,000, previous experience working within architectural constraints and limitations and residency in the United States.

“There is nothing that prohibits a student, but the chances of a student having experience with public art project in excess of $50,000 is unlikely,” Goodman said.

During the week of March 11, the Subcommittee of Facilities and Grounds Committee will organize on-campus interviews with the four finalists who will then be sent on to  the Facilities and Grounds committee for approval.  The contract with selected artists will be finalized April 20. 

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