Artwork for the planned new South Berkeley Branch Library,
1901 Russell Street, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way



All artists residing in, or who have a studio workspace within Alameda or Contra Costa Counties are eligible to submit proposals for the planned new West Branch Library building. Primary consideration will be given to artists who have not previously received a commission from the City of Berkeley, or the Berkeley Public Library for a public art installation. For those who have received a commission, a 5 year period between new commissions is suggested.

Functional Art Element Requirement

Artwork must be original and functional as part of the building structure or systems. Specific examples include custom glass panels or lights, metalwork, terrazzo or ceramic tile finishes. Freestanding artworks that are not a functional or structural component of the building, such as traditional framed paintings or drawings or similar two dimensional art intended to be wall hung, or three dimensional sculptures not integral to the building structure or systems, will not be considered. Artwork installations shall be installed within the interior of the Library except for artwork glazing for installation for exterior wall locations.

Acceptable opportunity locations for proposed artwork installations include:

  • On MLK, Jr. Way street side, three recesses on exterior at the West elevation.
  • Window seat/bench and wall reveals, and glazing for exterior windows at the East elevation of Adult reading room No. 113, and at Kids' ( Children's) reading room No. 115.
  • Wall art / graphic for Kids' (Children's) reading No. 115, East elevation ( above book shelving), contributing to the character and understanding of the room.
  • Ceramic tile alcove at the Drinking Fountain in Vestibule 110A.

Selected architectural drawings are available online, and may be viewed and downloaded at

Hard copy drawings for the new building shall be available for review at the Central Public Library, 2090 Kittredge Street, Administration Offices, 3rd Floor, during normal Library hours.

Artwork Theme

Artwork proposals shall reflect and respond to the cultural diversity of the South Berkeley neighborhood, and consider the cultural history of this locality, through an artistic, creative, expression.

Project Timeline

  • Application Deadline: 4:00 PM, Tuesday September 6, 2011
  • Panel Selection of Finalists: week of September 12, 2011
  • Honoraria Awards to Finalists: week of September19, 2011
  • Finalists Proposals due ( 5 weeks ): week of October 24, 2011
  • Presentation to Selection Panel: week of October 31, 2011
  • Civic Arts Commission recommendation/ approval: November 9 or 16, 2011*
  • Board of Library Trustees, Award of contract: 2011-2012
  • Fabrication of Artwork element: 2011-2012
  • Installation of Artwork element: 2011-2012
* Estimated Holiday schedule for Civic Arts Commission

Artwork Specifications

All media appropriate for use as a functional art element for the project site will be considered. The artwork must be designed to meet current City and State Building Codes and Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and must comply with the City's current adopted edition of the California Building and Electrical Codes, and any local amendments thereto. The artwork materials shall be durable, impact resistant, graffiti and stain resistant, easily maintained and not a public safety hazard to patrons of the Library. The selected artist receiving a commission for this artwork shall coordinate final design and details with the project Architect and the building contractor for its timely fabrication and installation, in a cooperative manner and in accordance with the City's Community Workforce Agreement to avoid any delays in construction, interference in the normal course of the construction, and with due care to prevent damage either to the commissioned artwork element or to the building structure or adjacent construction surfaces or finishes provided by others.

Artwork Budget

The specified budget amount for the final commissioned artwork is not to exceed $43,000. This amount shall cover all costs associated with the design, fabrication, transportation and installation of the artwork, including engineering drawings by a licensed professional if required by the City Building Official, and all required local building, electrical or related permits.

The Submittal Process

All resumes, artist statements, images and examples of previous art work shall be submitted through this web site hosted by BayVAN. Scroll down to begin the application process. Additional information and access to construction plans can be seen on the Library web site:

You will be guided through the steps in the application process after agreeing to the terms and conditions stipulated by BayVAN. Artwork included in your resume should have been created and installed within the past five years. Artists may submit a maximum of five (5) images in .jpg format, 1920 X 1920 pixels at 72 dpi. Contact BayVAN for any additional instructions for sending your images to be downloaded. An artist resume and an artist statement relating to the Artwork Theme stated in this Call for Artists are also part of the application process on the BayVan site.

The Selection Panel will individually rate all of the artists’ submittals from information organized by BayVAN, according to the Selection Criteria noted below, and will determine three finalists to receive Honoraria to develop proposals for further consideration by the Panel. One artist will be selected from the three finalists for this Branch Library.

The submittals will be reviewed in the approximate time line as shown above. All Selection Panel, Committee, Library Board and Civic Arts Commission meetings are open to the public.

The selected artist will be required to obtain a City of Berkeley business license and shall complete all required compliance and disclosure forms as part of City contract terms.

Selection Criteria

Finalists will be selected on the basis of information provided in the Statement of Interest and Qualifications for:

  • Artistic merit as evidenced by representation of relevant past work

  • Appropriateness of the artist’s medium, style, and previous experience in relation to the project goals and setting.

  • Experience with projects of a similar scale and scope including familiarity with public agencies, the public review process, and/or collaboration with City agencies and community groups. Artists must have good communication skills and be able to work with diverse City representatives.

Final approval of the panel’s recommendation is reserved to the Library Board of Trustees and the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission.

Acceptance of Proposals

The City of Berkeley reserves the right to reject all design proposals.

Model Policy

An honorarium of up to $500.00 may be recommended by the Selection Panel to the Board of Library Trustees for award to not more than three finalists for each Branch Library. The honoraria shall be used for development of scale models, drawings or renderings for review by the Selection Panel in its determination of the artist or artist team ultimately to receive a commission for a functional artwork installation.

In the event that a scale model, drawing or maquette is requested by the Panel to develop your proposal, the following policy shall apply. The Berkeley Public Library shall:

  • at its sole discretion, have the unconditional right to own any model selected for evaluation, as part of commission awards or may alternatively choose to retain all such models until completion and approval of project implementation; and

  • require that all proposals and/or models submitted be original and unique.

Artists of all ethnicities and genders are encouraged to apply. All information contained herein does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract and these provisions are subject to change.

Community Workforce Agreement

This artwork installation for the new South Branch Library building will be subject to the Community Workforce Agreement approved by the Berkeley City Council at its January 18, 2011 meeting. Some portion of your work and / or the installation may be affected by this Agreement. The City will work with the finalist once the artist is selected.

For further information about this public art project, please contact Mary Ann Merker, Berkeley Civic Arts Coordinator, at (510) 981-7533