CITY OF CHICAGO: ALBANY PARK BRANCH LIBRARY
PUBLIC ART COMMISSION OPPORTUNITY
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) —working closely with the Chicago Public Library, Alderman Laurino and community stakeholders—invites professional artists working in video to submit their interest and qualifications for a public art commission at Albany Park Branch Library. Four artists/teams will be commissioned at $4500 each to create original video artworks for the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection.
This opportunity is open internationally to professional artists working in video. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and may not be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Of the four videos commissioned, at least two will be awarded to Chicago-based artists.
In 1978, Chicago City Council unanimously approved a Percent for Art ordinance that requires 1.33 percent of municipal construction or renovation costs be allocated to commission public art at the site. Since that time, nearly 500 works have been commissioned as part of Chicago’s Public Art Collection, one of the largest municipal collections in the country. Because the Albany Park Branch Library was funded with Tax Increment Financing (TIF), the Percent for Art ordinance did not apply. However, due to the important impact of public art, Chicago Public Library identified $25,000 of bond funds available to commission public art at this site.
$18,000 will be used to fund four distinct video commissions at $4,500 each. The remaining $7,000 will be used to pay design fees to the artists invited to submit proposals during the semifinalist stage of the selection process, in addition to educational materials that will support public engagement with the commissioned artworks that result.
The City is not responsible for any expenses that a finalist may incur beyond the contracted amount of $4,500. For example, if a finalist resides out of town and intends to visit the site during the development of their commission, or for the launch celebration of the video program, there are not separate funds available to cover those costs. The total commission amount for a finalist is fixed at $4,500.
The Albany Park Branch Library—located at 3401 W. Foster Avenue in Chicago’s 39th Ward—primarily serves the North Park and Albany Park neighborhoods. The 16,500 square foot state-of-the-art building designed by Jackson Harlan LLC opened to the public in September 2014, replacing the original Albany Park Branch Library that opened at the same site in 1963. This branch features many community amenities including several computers with internet access, a YOUmedia center for teens, an interactive children’s area, and meeting rooms that welcome diverse community-driven activities such as bookbinding workshops, book club discussions, story times, seasonal gatherings, themed craft-making activities, legal clinics and more. Albany Park is one of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods and the library has been an important part of the community for over 50 years.
The site’s lobby prominently features a four-panel Planar Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System to which there are sightlines throughout the branch. The commissioned videos are intended to contribute a depth of experience for visitors to the branch, enhancing a sense of place by meaningfully intersecting the culture of the neighborhood. Values that stakeholders have expressed as vitally important to the Albany Park community include diversity, immigration, creativity, lifelong learning, and the natural environment. Given that the branch is a family friendly site welcoming intergenerational visitors, content should be suitable for all ages. Applications for this competitive opportunity will be reviewed based on the originality of applicant’s stated approach, their responsiveness to the site, and the strength of their previous video work.
Applicants from the local area are encouraged to visit the site before submitting their application materials. For those applicants who are unable to visit the site, teens engaged in the library’s YOUmedia program have created a short video tour > YOUmedia teens’ video tour of the site.
Additional links applicants may wish to explore:
· Alderman Laurino, City of Chicago Ward 39
The commissions need to be silent, single-channel files that do not require any special software or hardware to screen optimally. If desired by a commissioned artist/team, a video may be edited to uniquely activate the four panels that distinctly comprise the single plane of the video wall via a single channel. Please consult the specifications provided for detailed information about the Planar Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System (four panel LX46HDS-L model).
The four commissioned videos will run continuously on a loop with brief slides inserted between each to indicate the artist/s and running time for the preceding and following videos. The video program will be accessible to the public for 8 hours each day the branch is open. There are no minimum or maximum length requirements for the commissioned videos.
The commissions will be contracted as unique, non-editioned, one-of-a-kind artworks for Chicago’s Public Art Collection. However, artists may develop still iterations of the video as a saleable counterpart. Artists may also retain an artist’s copy of the commissioned video for screenings at festivals or fairs, but the video may not be posted online.
DCASE’s Public Art staff will oversee all aspects of the artist selection and commissioning process including interagency and aldermanic consultation, community engagement, selection panel development, application review, artist contracting and consulting, and project implementation.
Pamela Feldman—Artist, longtime Albany Park resident/parent
John Glynn—Manager, Albany Park Branch Library
Regin Igloria—Artist, longtime Albany Park resident, founder of North Branch Projects
Abina Manning—Executive Director, Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Jordan Martins—Artist, faculty at North Park University, Executive Director of Comfort Station
Mark McKernin—Artist, faculty at Northeastern Illinois University
Gregorio Rodriguez—North District Chief, Chicago Public Library
A community forum will be held in the community room of the Albany Park Branch Library on Wednesday, February 1st, from 4:30-5:30pm to discuss this public art opportunity. Anyone interested in the project is welcome to attend. DCASE Public Art staff and representatives from the selection panel will be present to share information about the project, listen to community input, clarify how to apply, and address questions.
Applicants must submit the following by 10:59pm CST, Sunday March 12, 2017
A statement of intent (no more than 300 words) that indicates the applicant’s intended approach to this commission opportunity and its responsiveness to the site, as well as why this specific opportunity at Chicago’s Albany Park Branch Library is of interest to the applicant.
A resume that clearly highlights the applicant’s past experience relevant to this opportunity (no more than 3 pages).
An annotated media list that gives brief context to the video/images submitted.
At least one video, and no more than three, edited so as to not exceed one minute each. The video sample/s should best demonstrate the applicant’s skills relevant to their intended approach for this project.
Up to three video stills may be submitted but are not required.
One URL may also be submitted for review but is not required. If an applicant opts to submit a URL, please include it on the annotated media list.
The application deadline is 10:59pm CST, Sunday March 12, 2017. No late submissions will be accepted, and incomplete applications will be ineligible. After the application deadline, submissions will be reviewed by the selection panel. That process will identify a short list of semifinalists to whom honoraria will be paid to develop formal proposals. Semifinalists will be contacted in April, and proposals will be due in July. After the panel reviews the semifinalists’ proposals, four finalists will be recommended for commission, with at least two commissions awarded to Chicago-based artists. A final community forum will be held at the Albany Park Branch Library (details TBD) to present the panel’s recommendations before the finalists are contracted in September. Commissioned videos are expected to be complete within a year of contracts being issued.