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Hennepin County & Forecast Public Art

Sumner Library Public Artwork Commission

Location: MN — Twin Cities Metro
Type: RFP / RFQs
Any discipline

Deadline: 04/01/2024

Other Criteria:
Open to artists statewide


Project: Hennepin County – Sumner Library
Issue date: February 26, 2024
Apply by: Monday, April 1, 2024, no later than 11:59pm CT
Artist Stipend: $40,000 artist fee (materials included)
Commissions Available: 1 (open to artist teams)

Hennepin County Library is a national leader of library service, innovation, and excellence. Our 41 libraries, website and outreach services serve 1.2 million county residents over 611 square miles.

The library’s mission is to inspire, facilitate, and celebrate lifelong learning. Shaped by the information needs and aspirations of our residents, we envision the library as a shared space for enrichment and connection. Library services are an important part of thriving and interconnected communities. We believe that every Hennepin County resident should have a library card and use it regularly. In 2023, the library updated its 5-year strategic plan (link: 2023-2027 Hennepin County Library Strategic Plan Report (PDF 3.3 MB).

The historic Hennepin County Sumner Library was built in Minneapolis’s Near North neighborhood in 1915 through a grant from the Carnegie Foundation of New York. The library is one of four Carnegie Libraries built in Minneapolis. It is named for Charles Sumner, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and an outspoken abolitionist. The library has received historic designation from the City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tudor Revival building is currently undergoing major refurbishment. The year-long project includes interior and exterior renovations.

Sumner Library is a neighborhood library located at 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, in the Near North neighborhood of Minneapolis. Sumner Library has served a diverse community of residents of all ages since its establishment. Initially, the population that lived near and used Sumner Library was primarily Jewish. By as early as the 1920s, however, Jewish families began moving farther north and west, out of the vicinity of the library. The neighborhood surrounding Sumner Library has been home to African Americans since before the library was built. In the 1970s, responding to the needs of the community, Branch Librarian Grace Belton set out to identify and collect resources on Black history and literature as a means of providing access to these resources and preserving Black heritage. By 1988, this collection included 2,500 titles. In 1998, the collection was named the Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection, after the Library Board Trustee and Urban League President Gary N. Sudduth. Today the collection contains more than 5,000 titles for children, teens, and adults. In the 1980s, people from Southeast Asia began living near and utilizing Sumner Library. By the 1990s, people from Somalia and Ethiopia lived on the Northside and began using the library as well. At present, the library houses Amharic, Hmong, Oromo, Somali, and Spanish language collections.

Learn more: about the Gary N. Sudduth African American History and Culture Collection

Learn more: about the Sumner library

Hennepin County is collaborating with Forecast Public Art to facilitate the curation and commissioning process for a permanent artwork for Sumner Library. A goal of the selection process is to select an artist that has demonstrated experience working in public art and community engagement.

The selected artist will carry out a public engagement process that will inform the design and implementation of the final artwork.

This not-to-exceed fee covers artist time, travel, materials, community engagement, installation, any required engineering, and any other costs associated with the project.

This Public Art commission is open to mid-career and established artists or artist-teams that live within the geographical boundaries of Minnesota.

What is a Mid-Career Artist? Mid-career artists are recognized by their peers and arts professionals, have produced an independent body of work and have a record of commissions, projects, or exhibitions.
What is an Established Artist? Established artists are recognized by their peers and arts professionals nationally or internationally, have produced an independent body of work and have a record of commissions, projects, or exhibitions.
Applicants must be 18 years or older and have proven experience with public art and public engagement.

Hennepin County, Forecast Public Art, and the selection committee does not discriminate on the grounds of any protected status or class, including but not limited to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, gender expression, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or public assistance status. No person who is protected by applicable law against discrimination shall be subjected to discrimination.