Missouri artists wanted for Fire Station No. 9

Friday, November 21, 2008 | 5:31 p.m. CST; updated 10:59 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 18, 2010

COLUMBIA — Columbia's new Fire Station No. 9 will be the third station since 2001 to incorporate public art into its design, and the city's Office of Cultural Affairs is calling for Missouri artists to apply for consideration.

Unlike New Mexico artist Howard Meehan's sculpture, "Keys to the City," that will be placed in front of the renovated City Hall upon its completion, scheduled for 2010, this project is limited to Missouri-area artists. The budget, set aside by the Percent for Art program, will be $14,500.

How to submit

By mail: City of Columbia, Office of Cultural Affairs, P.O. Box 6015, Columbia, MO 65205

By express mail: City of Columbia, Office of Cultural Affairs, 1 S. 7th St., Columbia, MO 65201

By hand: City of Columbia, Office of Cultural Affairs, 1 S. 7th St., Columbia, MO 65201

Deadline: All mailed applications must be post-marked by Dec. 12. Hand-delivered submissions are due by 5 p.m. on that date.

For more information, contact the OCA by phone at 874-7512 or by e-mail at

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"I think common sense is that if someone is having to travel from out of state, that's just not going to be an efficient use of a small-project budget," said Marie Nau Hunter, manager of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs. "So keeping it within a smaller area will allow it to go further with the art."

Made up of artists, members of the community and project staff, the city's Standing Committee on Public Art will review applications and select finalists. Those chosen will be interviewed by a project selection panel, which will discuss the artists' earlier work and experience to select the person most appropriate for the project.

Public art is a different field, Hunter said. She said though the city has had favorable experiences with artists unseasoned in developing public art, an understanding of the process is a plus.

"It's not required, but public art is a very different approach than having art in an exhibition or a gallery space or a private commission," she said.

Applicants are required to include examples of past work but are not to submit specific design ideas at this time. Submission guidelines can be found on the city of Columbia's Web site.

Station No. 9 is just one of several ongoing public art projects, including Meehan's "Keys to the City" sculpture and Fulton artist Jane Mudd's bronze relief sculpture for Fire Station No. 7 at Green Meadows Road and Green Meadows Circle after it re-opens in January 2009. Fire Station No. 8 has a piece that was installed in 2001.

Each of these projects is funded through the Percent for Art program, which uses one percent of building expenses to create site-specific art and represents no additional expense or tax, Hunter said.

Incorporating standards from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, Fire Station No. 9 will be constructed on the northwest corner of North Providence and Blue Ridge roads with a focus on reducing its impact on the environment.

The rating program allows buildings to gain points for environmental features, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

"If the artwork could achieve a point or two in that evaluation process, that would be great," Hunter said. "I think a lot of artists are interested in working in environmentally aware ways."

Columbia's public art program continues to focus on its overall goal of making art accessible, Hunter said.

"Giving people who live and work around those areas an opportunity to experience the art, that's the positive of public art," she said. "It's about quality of life issues and valuing of city facilities and also making our everyday lives more interesting and unique."

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