I recently joined as an Advisor to the Saint Louis Science Center- ( http://www.slsc.org/ ) and delighted to bring to your attention
this call for art-science projects related to agriculture
the area of art-science and agriculture is a growing international area of art-science practice
Call for Artist: Saint Louis Science Center Ag Project RFQ May 18, 2015
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS – ARTIST-COMMISSIONED AGRICULTURE EXHIBITS
The Agriculture Exhibition at the Saint Louis Science Center (SLSC) will ignite widespread interest in the science and technology of food production, with emphases on plant and animal biology, agriculture, agronomics, and how everyone has a personal connection with agriculture. It will be a one acre indoor/outdoor space with interactive exhibits and activities for families, adults, and school groups.
Goal of call for artists:
To identify local, national, and international artists that align with the Saint Louis Science Center’s (SLSC) mission and project objectives as outlined in the project charter; To ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. We value the artist’s ability to be critical and to explore alternatives and recognize these talents as aligned with SLSC’s own objectives. A selection committee will strategically determine which artists will work with in-house teams to create the work and installations. A Secondary goal would be to increase the variety of citizen and expert perspectives presented by the SLSC to its various audiences. Many artists whose aims are allied with our institution wish to inspire people to learn about the science and technology of food production and to assume a more active role in safeguarding our lands and products through sustainable and innovative farming practices. To create a platform for participatory public discussion, the future exhibitions could be framed as debates, controversies, interventions, or inventions on such topics as GMOs and labelling, the ethics of food production, and alternative farming practices. A commonality between artists’ and scientists’ work is that they are both based on process and objectives. Fresh perspectives on scientific content and/or topics with sociological impact allow us to engage and sustain audiences that would not normally be reached by a traditional science museum approach. SLSC has the ability to explore the transdisciplinary strategies that are necessary to address many of the complex social and environmental challenges today in a way that can excite interest.
Works that problematize, poeticize or demystify the science of agriculture and/or food production – its histories, practices, and aesthetics – will be considered for permanent installation as part of this RFQ and for future temporary installations in the Science Center.
Some relative Artists work includes: Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Land Foundation and Michael Mercil’s Living Culture Initiative, Ackroyd and Harvey’s photographic work utilizing the light-sensitivity of chlorophyll, Jackie Brookner’s bio sculptures, David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young’s fallen fruit/fruit tree adoptions, early eco-art such as the survival series by Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison’s and early public landscape work like Bonnie Ora Sherk’s “parklet” in San Francisco.
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Artist Selection Method:
Request for Qualifications (RFQ) – this request to artists will provide our selection committee with a basic artist letter of interest, resume, and portfolio of work. This will in turn be used to determine a smaller pool of artists that will receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) for several of the in-house exhibits, in addition to building a database for future projects as the art initiative evolves.
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS – ARTIST-COMMISSIONED AGRICULTURE EXHIBITS
Project Working Title: Agriculture Exhibition
Project Vision: This new exhibition is unique and free to the public. No other public institution in the United States devotes more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to the interpretation and active engagements based on these important topics. The Agriculture Exhibition at the Saint Louis Science Center (SLSC) will ignite widespread interest in the science and technology of food production, with emphases on plant and animal biology, agriculture, agronomics, and how everyone has a personal connection with agriculture. It will be a one acre indoor/outdoor space with interactive exhibits and activities for families, adults, and school groups.
Project Description: The artist-commissioned projects will include various installations that focus on different aspects of agriculture. The scope will be to use content already identified by the SLSC to design and develop a unique work of art that is able to communicate variations on existing content in some fashion to an audience at the museum. These installations will be installed in spring of 2016 to be experienced by the public later that year. The artist will collaborate with a team of educators, science experts, and evaluators to produce a high-quality installation.
June 26, 2015……………………… Qualifications Deadline
June 26-July 3, 2015..……………. . Qualifications Evaluated
July 6, 2015……………………… .. RFP’s will be sent for individual exhibits
July 31, 2015………………………. Deadline for Proposals
July 31 – August 6, 2015………… Proposals Evaluated
August 7, 2015……………………. Contracts Signed
August 10, 2015 – February 2016 .. Design and Fabrication of Work
March 6 – April 6, 2016………….. Installation of Work
Project Budgets: Individual Art Piece budget ranges from $3,000 -$35,000. All expenses such as fabrication, travel and artist fees must fit within the budget.
Letter of Intent (No more than 1 page)
Resume or CV (No more than 3 pages)
References (At Least 3)
Portfolio of Relevant Work
Statement of Curated Work (No more than 1 page)
All must be in paper and electronic form – no links to website-based portfolios. Ideally electronic submissions will be delivered on a well-organized flash drive, but a cloud-based solution will also suffice. Submissions must be at the SLSC on the due date, late submissions will not be considered. The shipping address is located at the end of this document.
With more than 700 hands-on exhibits in a multi-building complex, the Saint Louis
Science Center (SLSC) is among the largest science centers in the country. Every year, nearly one million visitors enjoy the Science Center’s exhibit galleries, James S. McDonnell Planetarium, OMNIMAX Theater, and rich variety of public programs for all ages. SLSC was named one of the “Top 10 Science Centers for Families” by Parents magazine and one of “America’s Most Visited Museums” by Forbes Traveler Magazine. Admission to the Science Center is free through a public subsidy from the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District. SLSC’s mission is “to ignite and sustain life-long science and technology learning.” Through the Agricultural exhibition, we will begin a museum-wide initiative to develop innovative approaches to engaging the public with science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).
The SLSC began in 1984 from the merger of the Museum of Science and Natural History and the previously St. Louis City-owned McDonnell Planetarium. In 1991, a major building expansion, which included the construction of an OMNIMAX theater, greatly increased the size of the facility on Oakland Avenue. In 1997, the 18,000 sq. ft. Exploradome was erected to house large- scale temporary exhibits. In 2011, SLSC opened a newly constructed Boeing Hall a 13,000 sq. ft. exhibition venue.
The SLSC is one of only two science centers in the country with no general admission charge. Its campus includes the Oakland Avenue Building and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, which sit on opposite sides of Interstate 40/64 and are connected by an enclosed pedestrian bridge. A third building, the Exploradome has been decommissioned; the fabric was donated to local farmers, to give way to an outdoor gallery that highlights the role that science and technology play in present day agriculture. It will feature living exhibits, bigger than life electromechanical exhibits, art exhibition venues indoors and out and a multipurpose building designed for Events, Agriculture-related exhibits and classroom spaces.
Scope of Work:
The artist will work with their own team and a SLSC team that will include an educator, to ensure learning objectives are met; an evaluator to ensure effective communication to the target audience; fabrication and technology advisors to ensure the designs are feasible; and a scientific expert that will ensure the content is accurate. The scientific experts come from many disciplines ranging from farming experts, to bee experts, to plant experts, and so on. The nature of this collaboration is for the artist to have the freedom to create their work and the rest of the team will serve to support the artist through advice from their chosen science field. They will not dictate the direction of an installation, only guide and inform the design as it evolves. Depending on the needs of the artist, they may also serve to aid in fabrication and create the technology elements necessary for the completion of the project.
The permanent exhibition areas for the first set of exhibits will include, but not limited to:
MULTI DISCIPLINARY MOBILE STATIONS, INCLUDING COOKING,EXPERIMENTS,DEMONSTRATIONS
WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS/SOIL
SMALL, MULTI-PURPOSE STRUCTURES
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AGRICULTURAL HISTORY
INTERIOR HANGING SCULPTURE/MOBILE RELATED TO SEEDS
PLANT BIOLOGY, CHEMISTRY AND ANATOMY
BEES AND BEEKEEPING
LIVING SPACE FOR CHICKENS
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Ag Gallery Space
The exhibit will include 57,000 sq. ft. gallery space that demonstrates various forms of farming content, plants, crops, stand-alone interactive exhibits and displays, and demonstrations. Entrance to the exhibit will be free, though there will be paid programming opportunities. The space will also include a 5400 Sq. ft basement intended for classroom space; a multipurpose structure on top of the basement which will include a teaching kitchen area, bathroom and elevator and several donated temporary fine art installations related to the content.
Ag Content Overview
SLSC employs many professionals with science and formal and informal education backgrounds, with many staff having experience in all three. There has been a regular meeting of several staff to flesh out the important scientific content the exhibit should cover. This content fall into 4 main topic areas identified by the group: Plant and Animal Biology, Agriculture, Agronomics, and Personal Connections to Agriculture.
Ag Exhibits Overview
The exhibits within the gallery space are being developed by three different entities: In-House exhibits to be developed by the SLSC; contracted exhibits that are being developed out-of-house by Universal Services Associated fabricators and Gyroscope, Inc. design firm, who specialize in developing intuitive engaging scientific exhibits; and commissioned exhibits that will be developed from those artists who are selected via this RFQ/RFP process. All the exhibits fall into the content categories listed above, and nearly all of them are interactive experiences. The exhibits are laid out in a way as to be non-linear so that visitors can experience the complete story of agriculture in their own way.
These exhibits will be supported by staff and volunteers throughout the gallery, who will also serve to interpret these elements as well as the plants and animals that will exist throughout the exhibition. There will also be activities and demonstrations which revolve around the core concepts such as gardening/cooking demos, fermentation demos, and farming activities.
In order to be eligible for this commissioned work, artists must have experience working on collaborative teams. Established and emerging artists are encouraged to participate. Artists should have experience working with budgets similar to those proposed above and demonstrate the ability to complete their work on similar timelines. Preference will be given to artists who have developed works that focus on or display scientific content, but it is not necessary for consideration. Finally, we will consider each submission equally and will not show preference or discriminate based on artist gender, race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, veteran status, age, or inappropriate content of previous work.
See project timeline above. Qualifications will be evaluated the week after they are due by a selection panel in part comprised of Ellen K. Levy, PhD, artist, Special Advisor, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Marilu Knode, Director of Laumeier Sculpture Park, Lisa Melandri, Director of St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum, Patricia Olynyk, Director, Graduate School of Art Washington University, Roger Malina, Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair, Professor of ATEC, Roseann Weiss, Director of Community & Public Arts, Regional Arts Commission and SLSC staff. Those selected by the panel will move on to the next stage of the process, receiving the RFP specific to the content areas described in the scope of work above. Those not selected will be notified at the same time. The proposals received will then be evaluated by the same selection panel and a decision will be made regarding the award recipient. All will be notified of their status at the end of the evaluation process and those awarded will sign a contract for their work.
During the selection process questions may be emailed to Matt Stevens, project coordinator for the exhibition. Note that any pertinent responses will be shared with all applicants at each stage to ensure all have been given the same information.
Project Coordinator Contact Info:
Please send questions to the email below. Please send paper and electronic copies of qualifications to the address below or send a link to your files to the email address.
Saint Louis Science Center
5050 Oakland Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63110