Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, Indigenous Public Art
Image showing the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada, view from Albert Street
Algonquin artists: Indigenous multi-purpose room (Childrens’ Story Room option), exterior frit / interior glass film designs
As part of the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility Project, the Indigenous Art Program has been developed to include the public art opportunities in this Call to Artists, to celebrate local Algonquin art, culture and heritage.
There are five Indigenous public art opportunities as part of the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada project:
Emerging and mid-career Algonquin artists and artist teams are invited to apply to this two-stage public art call. Selected artists and/or teams will have the opportunity to work with an Indigenous artist/mentor (to be announced) and consult with the local Algonquin community.
Deadline for submissions: Monday, May 31, 2021 at 4 pm (eastern standard time)
Online application form. Please have your content ready for inputting as the form does not save your information if you leave or refresh the page.
- Indigenous multi-purpose room, second floor Childrens’ Story Room option
- $100,000 plus harmonized sales tax
- Exterior glass frit and/or interior film design
- $30,000 plus harmonized sales tax
Contact: Dawn Saunders Dahl, Curator, Indigenous Public Art, Indigenouspublicart@gmail.com
If you would prefer to speak directly to Dawn, please email to coordinate a date and time.
To request an information package for this opportunity including architectural drawings, please email Public Art Program.
Virtual information sessions
Join Dawn Saunders-Dahl and members of the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility Project Team to learn more about the Indigenous Public Art Calls to Artists, hear about the architectural inspirations for the facility’s design, find out more about the programs, services and other features of the joint facility and ask questions.
- Tuesday, March 2, 6 to 7:30 pm (eastern standard time)
- Thursday, March 4, 2 to 3:30 pm (eastern standard time)
- Duration: 90 minutes
- Where: The sessions will take place on Zoom.
- RSVP: Please register your interest
Submissions from mid-career and emerging Algonquin visual artists/teams will require:
- Artist curriculum vitae/resume (maximum three pages)
- Artist statement (maximum one page)
- Approach to community engagement and mentorship (maximum one page)
- Ten images of previous work and image list
1.1 Honouring the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples
Ottawa is built on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, the Omàmiwininìwag (Algonquin peoples, in the Algonquin language). The people of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. The City of Ottawa would like to honour the people and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The City of Ottawa would also like to honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their elders, their knowledge keepers, both young and old, their ancestors and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.
1.2 About Ottawa
The origin of the name "Ottawa" is derived from the Algonquin word adawe, meaning "to trade". The word refers to the Indigenous peoples who used the river to trade, hunt, fish, camp, harvest plants, ceremonies, and for other traditional uses. The first maps made of the area started to name the major river after these peoples. Located along the Ottawa River is the capital city of Canada. Ottawa is in close proximity to Quebec and the United States border has a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 living in the greater Ottawa area.
1.3 Public Art Program background
Established in 1985, as one of the first in Canada, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program is committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in Ottawa by collecting, commissioning, and exhibiting works of art. A renewed Public Art Policy incorporates the strengths of past decades in Ottawa and reaffirms the objectives of commissioning professional artists to create original works of art for integration into public places. The Public Art Policy mandates one percent of funds from municipal development are mandated for public art in order to enhance public spaces and make art accessible to everyone.
This request for proposals is open to emerging and mid-career Algonquin artists or artist teams. Experience in creating permanent public art is an asset but not required. City of Ottawa employees are not eligible to apply.
Eligible mid-career and emerging artists are recognized as:
- having specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions).
- a professional by artistic peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition).
- being committed to devoting time and resources to artistic activities.
- having history of public presentation or publication.
1.5 Public Art opportunities
The City of Ottawa invites Algonquin artists or artist teams to submit a request for proposal to participate in a public art and mentorship opportunity to design, fabricate and install artwork for up to four public art sites. Two artists or teams will be selected to create art for the Indigenous multi-purpose room (with the Childrens’ story room option in addition) and/or the glazing designs for selected exterior or interior glass sites. We encourage applicants to tell a story and consult with the local Algonquin Annishnabeg communities to develop their proposals. Both opportunities are two-stage competitions that are held in accordance with the Public Art Policy.
Indigenous arts and culture hold an unmeasurable wealth of knowledge and for centuries Elders and knowledge keepers have provided support systems for younger generations on Turtle Island. As Elders, artists and community members pass, that loss of knowledge combined with integration of different world views result in limited opportunities to continue to ‘pass the fire’. Mentorship provides positive experiences for the opportunity to transfer knowledge that will strengthen Indigenous artistic voice within the public art field. In the spirit of providing positive guidance, the mentor will provide support to the local selected artist(s) that includes all aspects of the public art process.
2. Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada project background
2.1 Project background and context
Located at 555 Albert Street, the facility will house exhibition and collections space, reading rooms, a creative centre, children’s area, a genealogy centre and cafe, configured around a large town hall. Diamond Schmitt Architects stated that the building’s design draws from Ottawa’s rich history and natural beauty “with a dynamic form reminiscent of the nearby Ottawa River. The stone and wood exterior reflect the adjacent escarpment and surrounding green space on the western edge of downtown. The windows, top floors and rooftop offer unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills in Quebec.” The site was chosen for its configuration, access, unobstructed sight lines, and proximity to other cultural institutions. Located at the edge of Lebreton Flats, the site is linked to the surrounding environment, and to the lands of our three founding peoples. It overlooks the landscape of the Ottawa River, a vital natural system in the heart of the city.
The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a landmark destination built on the shared values and passions of the partner institutions: knowledge, history, discovery, culture, creativity, collaboration, and connections. This innovative collaboration between a public library and the national library and archives will offer an enriched experience for customers and visitors, bringing together diverse collections, providing exhibition and event spaces, and free and open access to millions of documents and the rich Canadian documentary heritage. It will be built to a minimum of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification and be accessible by light-rail and multi-use pathways for cyclists and pedestrians. Find out more.
The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada project team have engaged community members and Elders from the Algonquin Host Nations during the architectural design phase, and there is also ongoing dialogue with urban Indigenous communities as the project progresses.
2.2 Partner organizations
Ottawa Public Library: Ottawa Public Library is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. The Ottawa Public Library extends public access to information and services through the library’s 34 branches, physical and virtual, as well as two mobile libraries and a vending machine-style lending library service. Serving close to one million Ottawa residents, Ottawa Public Library’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people
Library and Archives Canada: As the custodian of our distant past and recent history, Library and Archives Canada is a key resource for all Canadians who wish to gain a better understanding of who they are, individually and collectively. Library and Archives Canada acquires, processes, preserves and provides access to our documentary heritage and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
Funding for the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility public art projects is in accordance with the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Policy with one per cent of municipal development funds and an additional contribution from Library and Archives Canada.
2.3 Project vision and description
- The Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a landmark destination built on the shared values and passions of the partner institutions: knowledge, history, discovery, culture, creativity, collaboration, and connections.
- This innovative collaboration of library and archives will offer an enriched experience for customers and clients, bringing together diverse collections, providing exhibition and event spaces, and offering free and open access to millions of documents and the rich Canadian documentary heritage.
- The joint programs and services will make this a truly unique offering in Canada.
- The new facility will be a gathering place where people can connect to each other, their history, the resources they seek and the discoveries they make.
- It will be a modern facility that will respond to rapidly developing technology, growing customer expectations and changing demographics.
- Built to a minimum of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification and accessible by light-rail and multi-use pathways for cyclists and pedestrians, the facility will be part of building a sustainable Ottawa.
3. Public Art opportunity
3.1 Vision for Indigenous Art and programming in the facility
The Indigenous Art Program for the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will honour, support and showcase Indigenous Art created by Indigenous Artists from Canada. This program will integrate public art artwork made by local, regional and national Indigenous artists (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) throughout the interior and exterior of the facility. Indigenous Art will be integrated into the facility to create a welcoming and inclusive space representing strong, traditional and contemporary Indigenous Artists.
3.2 Design requirements
The completed works of art shall:
- Demonstrate contemporary, innovative artistic excellence.
- Articulate the cultural significance of the Algonquin.
- Integrate with the style and function of Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, complementing the building architecture, style, scale, medium and integrity.
- Be durable and easily maintained, be made of permanent materials that are suitable to the Ottawa environment and require minimal maintenance.
- Be safe for the public and have no protruding obstacles that would cause injury.
Indigenous multi-purpose room
This room has been developed to resemble a wigwam as requested through local Algonquin community consultation with the project team in the design development phase. Selected artist and/or artist teams will consult with an Indigenous mentor (to be announced), throughout the design development, fabrication and installation processes. Site-specific permanent artwork will be integrated into the Indigenous multi-purpose room located on the second floor. Art installation options include but are not limited to: artwork installed on the doors for the space and/or the exterior walls directly outside of the room, furniture design, pattern for ceiling fabric panels, stone mosaic pattern in the floor. Other options as presented by the artist will be considered.
Rendering of the interior view of the Indigenous Multi-Purpose Room
Rendering of the interior view of the Indigenous Multi-Purpose Room
The following installation dimensions have suggested by the project team, subject to a discussion with the successful applicant:
- Room diameter: 8 meters (26.2 feet)
- Floor area: 50 square meters (540 square feet)
- Ceiling area: 50 square meters (540 square feet)
- Room height: 2.8 meters (9 feet)
- Door height: 2.1 meters (6.9 Feet)
- Door width: 1.86 meters (6.1 feet)
Room Details: fabric ceiling panels, wood acoustic panel walls, stone mosaic floor, exposed wood structure, solid wood doors and comfortable meeting chairs.
In addition to the Indigenous multi-purpose room, artists may also propose artwork for the Childrens’ Story Room, creating an artistic dialogue between the two spaces.
Additional option: Second floor Childrens’ Story Room
Rendering of the interior of the Children’s Story Room
This room has also been developed to resemble a wigwam as requested through local Algonquin community consultation with the project team in the design development phase. Selected artist and/or artist teams will consult with an Indigenous mentor, (to be announced) throughout the design development, fabrication and installation processes. Site-specific permanent artwork will be integrated into the Indigenous multi-purpose room with an option to include the Childrens’ Story Room located on the second floor. Art installation options include but are not limited to: artwork installed on the doors for the space and/or the exterior walls directly outside of the room, furniture design, pattern for acoustic ceiling fabric panels, artwork sound panels fabric. Other options as presented by the artist will be considered.
The following installation dimensions have suggested by the project team, subject to a discussion with the successful applicant:
- Room Diameter: 7.29 meters (23.9 feet)
- Floor area: 36 square meters (390 square feet)
- Ceiling Area: 36 square meters (390 square feet)
- Room height: 2.5 meters (8 feet)
- Door height: 1.6 meters (5.2 feet)
- Door width: 0.7 meters (2.3 feet)
Room details: Fabric ceiling panels, wood acoustic panel walls, carpeted floor, exposed wood structure, solid wood doors and moveable soft seating for kids.
Rendering of the exterior of the Children’s Story Room
Exterior glass frit and/or interior film design
Selected artist and/or artist teams will consult with an Indigenous mentor, throughout the design development, fabrication and installation processes. Design options include a 2D visual art or craft transferred to a repeating graphic file to create an opaque design enhancement. Designs should maintain light levels whilst identifying the window surface for both exterior (bird-friendly), and interior spaces.
Exterior glass frit design repeated on all exterior glass to deter birds from flying into the glass windows and doors. Building best practices can be found on the Safe Wings Ottawa web site.
Interior glass film design repeated on specific glass locations within the main town hall, 2nd and 3rd floor glass barrier wall locations. Interior film design is to help avoid risk of collision so that visitors do not walk into glass.
Rendering showing the Joint Facility from Albert Street, with glazed areas highlighted
Rendering showing the interior of the Joint Facility with glazed areas highlighted
Glazing dimensions vary by floor.
Pattern is at the discretion of the artist but must at minimum include a continuous and opaque and high tonal contrast pattern to be applied to glazed partitions at eye level between 1350 mm (minimum) and 1500 mm (maximum) high from floor level in accordance with the City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards. Refer to City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards pages 94 to 95.
Examples of glass frit and glazing designs (for artist reference only).
Artist Trenton Pierre, ‘Guardian Spirits’, North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex
Artist Sean Alward, ‘Fern Façade’, Newton Recreation Centre
The total budget for this commission is in Canadian Dollars plus harmonized sales tax:
- Indigenous Multi-Purpose Room (with Childrens’ Story Room additional option)
- Exterior glass frit and/or interior film design and fabrication
These Public Art budgets include all costs to consult, collaborate, design, fabricate, store, transport and install the public art, plus the cost of engineering and attachments. This should also include the artist’s or artist’s team time, travel and attendance at meetings and events.
4. Request for proposals process
4.1 Selection process
The submissions will be reviewed by a jury. Artists will be assessed on their art development, creation, as well as their community engagement, exhibition, and public art experiences. Algonquin artists can submit individually, or as a team. This public art commission will be awarded following a two-stage, arm's length, competitive process as follows:
- Stage I: Submissions will be evaluated by a jury consisting of artists with public art experience, Algonquin, community representatives and representatives from the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada project. This jury will review and evaluate proposals from artists in accordance with the evaluation criteria and will shortlist a maximum of three artists to advance to Stage II.
- Stage II: Shortlisted Artists will meet with the mentor, curator and project team remotely for an information session, and will be given terms of reference for preparing proposals, drawings and budgets for Stage II of the competition. Shortlisted artists (maximum three) will be given an honorarium of $1500 plus harmonized sales tax for preparing a community engagement plan, draft budget and work plan.
A technical review of proposals will be requested prior to the final submission date. Proposals will be reviewed by the project team, which will provide feedback on the technical and logistical feasibility of the proposed artwork. Draft proposals will not be shared with the voting members of the Peer Assessment Committee. Comments will be shared with shortlisted artists in order to be incorporated into final proposals.
At a date following the submission of Stage II documentation, artists will meet individually with the Peer Assessment Committee for a 30-minute virtual interview to present their proposals and answer questions. It is expected that a finalist will be determined by the peer assessment committee by December 2021.
subject to change
|Request for proposals issued/Information sessions dates with curator and project team
|Deadline for submissions – Request for proposals closing date
||May 31, 2021
|Peer Assessment Committee #1 and shortlisted artists selected
Meeting with project team, curator, mentor
|Deadline for final submissions
||December 2021 / January 2022
|Peer Assessment Committee #2 and winning artist(s) selected
Initial meetings with project team and mentor to 2024
|January / February 2022
|Final design, fabrication and installation
||2022 to 2024
5. Evaluation and selection criteria
All applicants must have demonstrated experience in the following areas:
- in the visual arts, public art experience is not required
- in project management as related to the creation of public artwork, visual art and/or design
- working within community engagement/consultation with strong written and verbal communication skills
Submissions will be evaluated based on previous artwork and projects, qualifications, artistic practice, and approach to engaging the community. Shortlisted artists will be required to submit a budget and references in the second stage.
6. Submission requirements
Your submission must include all sections listed below.
- Materials may be written in English or French
- Documents must be submitted as one PDF file
- Submissions must be received no later than Monday May 31, 2021, 4 pm eastern standard time. A confirmation email will be sent when your application has been received.
- Our preferred application method is for applicants to send all support material electronically using our new online application form. Please have your content ready for inputting as the form does not save your information if you leave or refresh the page.
- If you are experiencing difficulties using the online application form, please email Public Art program to discuss applying via email.
- Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed and mailed applications will not be accepted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For any application process inquires or if you are unable to apply online, or if you do not receive an email two weeks after your submission, please contact Hannah Kingscote, Public Art Officer, by email or phone 613-244-4429.
6.1 Artist statement
Please provide your artist’s statement. This statement should outline your artistic practice, thematic trends and your creative approach to artmaking. Artist teams shall provide one artist’s statement for the entire group. Do not exceed one page.
6.2 Proposal outline
Please submit an outline of your proposed concept, one page maximum. Indicate your approach to interpreting the commission opportunity, how you will meet the design requirements, and what materials and processes you would consider for the fabrication of the artwork.
6.3 Approach to community engagement and mentorship
Please provide a description of your approach to community collaboration in the context of this project. Describe how you would engage with the mentor, the Algonquin communities and what impact collaboration with the community would have on your final artwork. Artist teams shall provide one description for the entire group. Do not exceed one page. Please indicate which opportunity you are applying for within your application.
6.4 Current curriculum vitae/résumé(s)
Please submit a current résumé highlighting relevant experience on projects similar to or directly related to this opportunity. Artist teams shall provide résumés for each team member. Each resumé should not exceed three pages and should be included in this submission.
6.5 Images - technical information
Submit a maximum of ten files in a combination of digital images and/or video/new media submission of previous artwork. An image file may include a collage of multiple images of the same project, in order to show details or alternate views. Artist teams are also to submit a maximum of ten files. If additional files are included, only the first ten files in the numerical sequence will be considered.
In addition, submit a list, maximum two written pages, with detailed information on the submitted digital images of previous artwork, using the name assigned to the file as per the examples below. Include title, date, medium, dimensions, budget, location, fabrication and installation process and other pertinent information of submitted samples of previous artworks.
Digital image file specifications:
- JPG format
- Maximum of 1,240 pixels (along the longest side)
- Digital image files should be named with a number, followed by the title, date, medium, metric dimensions and cost, each separated by an underscore.
Examples of this naming convention:
- 01_Title_date_medium_ height x width x depth cm_ $cost.jpg
- 02_Untitled_2014_LED and resin_1 x 4.5 x 7 m_$180,000.jpg
Video/new media file specifications:
- PC compatible
- Viewable in Windows Media Player or QuickTime
- Named using the same naming convention as above
- Applicants are responsible to test their submission materials to ensure readability
- Each minute of video/new media content counts as one digital image
Materials that require specialized software, plug-ins, extensions or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed, or materials that are embedded in any type of presentation, such as websites or Word or PowerPoint documents, will not be accepted.
8. Request for proposals conditions
8.1 Disclosure of information
Applicants shall not issue a news release or other public announcement pertaining to details of the request for proposals, their request for proposals submission, or the selection process, without the prior written approval of the City Of Ottawa.
8.2 Copyright and moral rights
Copyright, including any and all designs, drawings and final works of art, shall remain the property of the artist. Moral rights remain with the artist.
8.3 Confidentiality of information
City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. To protect confidentiality, committee members turn in their copies of proposal materials for shredding at the end of the assessment meeting. Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal information in your submission is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art Policy. Personal information will only be used for evaluating your submission and administering the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Program.
Note: The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all submissions, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise the project. The decision of the peer assessment committee is final.