Art for Haymarket: Eau Claire Public Arts Council plans request for proposals

Lauren Fisher

IT REALLY TIES THE PLAZA TOGETHER. The Eau Claire Public Arts Council is looking for 3D art for Haymarket Plaza.
IT REALLY TIES THE PLAZA TOGETHER. The Eau Claire Public Arts Council is looking for 3D art for Haymarket Plaza.

If Haymarket Plaza were a cake in the oven, the Eau Claire Public Arts Council would be the confectioners preparing the perfect frosting. They just need one more ingredient. The group is preparing to release a request for proposals for three sculptures to adorn the space outside the Pablo Center at the Confluence. The call for art will be sent to art hubs across the country, giving artists from near and far an opportunity to pitch their ideas.

“Our goal with the RFP is to give some guidance, because guidance opens the door to creativity, but also keep it as flexible as possible,” said Chris Silewski, a member of the council and a landscape architect with Ayers Associates. 

The central theme of the plaza will be “The Eddy” – the twirling whorls that result from the meeting of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers just steps from the Pablo Center. Patterned pavers echo these forms throughout the space, while a fountain and “log jam” seating area also take inspiration from the rivers.

The RFP seeks proposals for pieces that will speak to the history, culture, and geography of the Chippewa Valley, and further the Pablo Center’s mission to draw people to the arts through the innovative use of form and materials, according to the call to artists.

Sculptures should be designed with durability, safety, and resistance to Wisconsin’s climatic extremes. Proposals should include contact information, a current resume, a cover letter, and drafts of the work. Completed applications are due Oct. 29 by 11:59pm. The selected artist or team of artists will be announced Nov. 16, and installation should be completed by the middle of next April.

Proposals will be reviewed by a jury panel of five members, at least two of whom will be from outside the Chippewa Valley. The panel will be headed by Mike Christopherson, a professor of sculpture at UW-Eau Claire.

“It’s a public amenity that will hopefully build momentum to keep expanding arts within the Chippewa Valley,” Silewski said.

The official RFP is scheduled to be released on Sept. 7.  For more information, or to download the document, visit www.ecpublicart.org.

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