Tufts: Call to Artists

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Tufts Intersection Project

Project Description

As part of its two-year-old Museum Without Walls program the Tufts University Art Gallery sponsors the creation of a temporary public art project sited at a high visibility location on Tufts’ main campus in Medford/Somerville. With support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Tufts University’s School of Arts & Sciences, and the Aidekman Family Art Fund, the Tufts University Art Gallery seeks Requests for Qualifications from Massachusetts artists to create a 10 x 20 foot billboard-scale work of art in collaboration with participants of the Tufts’ Tisch College of Active Citizenship and Public Service’s pilot Intersections Project. This public art project aims to highlight the importance and value of art on a university campus as a vehicle for social change.

The Tufts Intersections Project aims to reduce barriers to creating a positive climate for Tufts undergraduate students and a safe space for addressing critical issues around diversity. A series of “intergroup dialogues” taking place this fall will become the basis for debriefings with the selected artist. (“Intergroup dialogues” are a tenet of civic engagement defined as “a … process that illuminates the connection between the personal and the political, the intellectual and the affective, and the focus on personal relationships as well as on power and privilege.”) For more on the Intersections Project, visit: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/intersections/

Two related goals of this public art project are: 1) to use the participatory processes of both the facilitated conversations and community-based murals to foster greater intergenerational dialogue and “transformational experiences,” a core rubric of Tufts University’s current strategic plan; and 2) to better utilize the multimedia capabilities and feedback features of the Gallery’s Museum Without Walls mobile website (tuftsart.toursphere.com) as a forum for continuing the dialogue. The Museum Without Walls website represents a novel use of technology to extend our mission “To animate the intellectual life of the greater university community by producing exhibits and programs

Public Art Commission

Request for Qualifications (Call to Artists)

September 2014

exploring global perspectives on art and its relationship to society. TUAG advances the mission of the university by facilitating experiential learning; training in visual thinking; and promoting interdisciplinary discourse through first-hand encounters of original works of art.

Community need

In 2012 a Council on Diversity was established by Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco to review and make recommendations on specific themes of the Undergraduate Student Experience: 1) campus climate, community values, and civility; 2) curricular and co- curricular concerns; 3) faculty training, development, and student mentoring relationships; 4) access and equity beyond financial aid; and 5) data collection, synthesis and distribution. The Council was asked to pay particular attention to how the university could best recruit and retain a truly diverse community of students, faculty and staff, in light of the importance of critical mass as well as inclusive attitudes; how the University could support their academic and professional success; how it could instill skills and encourage attitudes that support effective interactions with diverse communities inside and outside the university; and how it sets expectations for members of the Tufts community. The Council’s review took place concurrent with University-wide strategic planning and its recommendations have been incorporated into this strategic plan. Unlike most institutions of higher education, Tufts has aimed to be inclusive since its founding. The university’s Universalist founders envisioned an institution that would embrace those at the margins of society, and offer admission to students from all cultures, religions, ethnicities, and financial backgrounds. The work of the Council on Diversity reflects that enduring vision.

Target audience(s)

The target audiences for this project are visitors to campus (approximately 50,000 per year, most of whom visit as part of the Admissions process) as well as the undergraduate community of some 6,000 students. Most if not all visitors to Tufts’ main campus pass by the Mayer Campus Center as part of an admissions tour or use the Center’s facilities. The chosen site for this community public art project is highly visible and accessible by both foot and vehicle from Talbot Avenue in Medford, a thoroughfare of Lower Campus. The Museum Without Walls website can be accessed anywhere, anytime, by anyone; it is a public resource and as such constitutes a virtual secondary target audience.

Project Timeline

Late September 2014: RFQ disseminated
November 7, 2014: Submissions deadline; submit electronically to: artgallery@tufts.edu; include a letter (no more than two pages) explaining your qualifications, interest, and relevant experience, a résumé, and link to representative images on an artist’s website or file-sharing website
November 14, 2014: Selection of finalists to be interviewed
November 17-18: Interviews with finalists
November 20: Artist selected and notified
November 24 or 25: First debriefing workshop with artist and Intersections facilitators December 2014/January 2015: Additional workshops to be scheduled as needed
Early February 2015: Preliminary concept and design presented
Late February 2015: Second/revised design presented
March-April 2015: Production
Early May 2015: Installation
Late April 2016: Removal of the public art installation

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