University of Northern Iowa

Art and Architecture | University of Northern Iowa Public Art

University of Northern Iowa, Bartlett/Baker Hall Public Art RFQ

Art Budget:

A minimum of $100,000 is anticipated to be available for this project. The exact budget will be provided to finalists prior to the development of their concepts.


This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) project competition is open to all professional public artists or artist teams, including those who are new to the field of public art, from throughout the United States. Artists from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply for this project.


The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls, Iowa has issued this RFQ to commission an artist or artist led team to produce a three-dimensional exterior artwork for permanent installation on the site currently occupied by Baker Hall.  Baker Hall is one of the original campus dormitories and is being demolished.  The four departments currently housed in Baker are being located in the newly renovated Bartlett. The Baker site will become green space as well as provide a central north-south walkway through the campus.  This project will be funded through the State of Iowa, Art in State Buildings Program.

Timeline (tentative):

Applications Due: December 13, 2013
Selection of finalists:  January 31, 2014
Conceptual Designs Due: April 2, 2014

Construction completion and installation of the art work: October 15, 2014


The University of Northern Iowa is a four year comprehensive university that prides itself on putting “Students First” and has a reputation for providing exceptional undergraduate education, as well as complementary programs at the master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Building on its historic excellence in teacher education, the university has developed outstanding programs in business, natural sciences, humanities and fine arts, and social and behavioral sciences.

One of three state universities, UNI enjoys national recognition for its high educational standards. U.S. News and World Report has ranked UNI second among Midwest public universities for 13 consecutive years.

The university’s size – just more than 12,000 students – allows it to offer faculty, facilities and academic choices of a large university, while retaining a friendly, small-college atmosphere on a compact, park-like campus.

For more information, see

Locations for the Artwork:

Free standing three-dimensional works integrated into the landscape along the new North-South axis sidewalk in the area now occupied by Baker Hall. and locations adjacent to the renovated Bartlett Hall.  See attached site plans.

Conceptual Considerations

The UNI Art and Architecture committee’s focus is building a collection of public art works that encourage a global perspective. This focus is not meant to exclude any aesthetic or conceptual direction determined by the artist but rather encourage the production of art work that contributes to an expanded worldview and challenges parochial/provincial thought among our students.

The Bartlett Hall renovation is designed to provide offices for the departments of:

  1. Languages & Literatures
  2. Philosophy and World Religions
  3. Psychology/Sociology
  4. Anthropology and Criminology
  5. Cultural and Intensive English Program

While we have no preconceived thematic direction for this project, the committee is interested in the basic human content that underlies these fields of study.  The design of the new interior space is open and articulated with a limited palette of materials and colors.  Within this space the committee is interested in incorporating art work(s) that may elicit a richness of responses.  Artworks that offer meaningful integrations of form, imagery, and texture within the space would be seen as desirable.

In addition, the selection committee is interested in artwork that might:

  1. Change and/or is revealed over time.
  2. Contain multiple layers of metaphoric meaning.
  3. Have a strong intellectual and poetic dimension.
  4. Is timeless and bears repeated viewing over time.
  5. Is complex enough to allow viewers to learn from it over time and provides a sense of discovery.

Potential Materials:

The selection committee is interested in permanent durable materials that support the artist’s vision. The campus is not interested in materials with inherent technological obsolescence, such as electronic components.

Selection Criteria:

 Artist selection will be based on:

  1. Appropriateness of the artist’s past work as it relates to this project.
  2. Quality of work samples
  3. Durability of the artwork relative to environment, theft and vandalism
  4. Ability of the artist to meet deadlines
  5. Interest level of the artist, as expressed in the cover letter
  6. Experience and accomplishments


Up to three artists (or teams of artists) will be selected to prepare conceptual designs for this project. These proposals will then be submitted to the UNI Art & Architecture Committee with the opportunity to interview the finalists in person or by phone at that time. Once the proposals are reviewed, final selection will take place as quickly as possible and the selected artist will be notified.

Application Checklist:

To be considered for the Bartlett/Baker Art Project, please submit one copy each of the following items:

  1. Brief letter of interest: Not to exceed one page. Describe your interest in the project and general vision or plan for the artwork. Explain any relevant details to your involvement, such as your process, medium and method by which you create your work.
  2. A CD of recent artwork or projects: Include 10-15 images of relevant art projects and work. Please label the images (LastName_Image Number).
  3. Annotated image list: Complete image descriptions that include the title, medium, size, and date that corresponds with the image number of the CD.
  4. Professional resume.
  5. Names and contact information for three professional references familiar with your experience and/or potential in the field of public art.  


Please submit all application materials electronically to:

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