Call for Artists: Midland Library | Exterior Canopy Artwork Design

Multnomah County Library Midland Canopy Artist Rendering

Approved by Multnomah County voters in 2020, the Library Capital Bond Project will include expansions and renovations to seven branch libraries; building an East County flagship library; adding gigabit speed internet to all libraries; and creating a materials handling and distribution center, also known as the Library Operations Center. The renovation and expansion of Midland Library is part of the Chapter One Projects phase of the bond project. The exterior canopy artwork at the library is one of three public art elements intended for the new site.

In partnership with Multnomah County Library (MCL), the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invites artists/artist teams living in Oregon and Washington to submit qualifications for a site-specific exterior artwork at the soon-to-be renovated library.

One artist/artist team will be selected to create a design for a 2-dimensional exterior artwork that will be installed on the underside of the canopy along the south side of the building, visible to vehicular traffic on SE 122nd Ave as well as pedestrians entering the library from the street and parking lot. The budget available for the commission comes from Multnomah County’s Percent for Art Program and is $40,000.

Submissions are due by Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 5 pm PDT. 

Further information about the project can be downloaded here.

Art Opportunity

We are seeking an artist or artist team to create a site-specific artwork design that will be digitally printed on high pressure laminate (HPL) with production processes specifically selected for a durable exterior installation that can withstand the elements, is graffiti resistant and easily cleanable. The artist/artist team is expected to provide a high definition digital file for printing as a final deliverable for construction and will also work with the design team to select a complementary solid color for adjacent panels. The artist/artist team is not required to have experience in digitizing their work, RACC can support with meeting this technical criteria, as needed. The architectural team will coordinate installation of the HPL directly with the contractor, and the artist/artist team will be invited to review samples, installation drawings and the final install. The HPL will be installed on the underside of the entry canopy which is located on the south side of the building, framing the new Midland Library entrance and public plaza. Pedestrian traffic from the parking lot, street and other neighborhood amenities, including the nearby Midland City Park, will benefit from close interaction with the artwork. We expect the design to translate to scale so that the artwork can also be enjoyed from a distance as people travel by car and public transportation along SE 122nd Ave.

The canopy extends along the width of the south side of the building, spanning approximately 224ft. The horizontal and vertical faces along that stretch range from approximately 5ft to 18ft, giving a total square footage of 3500sq.ft.

The canopy artwork will be highly visible as people arrive at the library, creating a covered outdoor porch that draws people in from the street or parking lot. This front porch brings the experience of the library outdoors, creating a sense of arrival well before walking through the building doors. This space is intended to be flexible, it includes seating and tables for gathering, and may also host resources such as a community bulletin board, shelving that provides space for free used books, activity kits, or a public zine library.  

Information Sessions

  • Wednesday August 17, 2022 at 12.30pm on Instagram Live with Mario and Sophie from RACC. Follow @regionalarts on Instagram to stay informed of this and other upcoming opportunities. Watch the previously recorded IG Live session here.
  • Wednesday August 24, 2022 at 5pm on Zoom with Mario and Sophie from RACC and Sophia from Colloqate Design, the design team leading the Midland Library renovation project. Watch the previously recorded Zoom Info Session here.

We strongly encourage you to attend an info session, especially if you are a first-time applicant. The project team will share information about this opportunity and go over the steps of how to submit application materials.

If you have questions about the Zoom info session or need any accommodations in order to attend, please email project manager, Sophie, at

Artwork Goals and Qualities

The goal is for the artwork to represent the myriad of communities that live, work and play in the Mill Park neighborhood. The community wishes to see themselves reflected in the new artwork through artistic expression and creative storytelling. There is a deep desire for the artwork to instill a sense of place and belonging, creating a warm, inviting and welcoming environment where imagination, interests and engagement can be inspired.

In discussion with the community and MCL team members, we are looking for artwork that has bold and vibrant colors. Other ideas that have come up include geometric shapes and pattern-like design, perhaps reflecting textiles, symbols and color palettes from various cultures weaving together; a representation of numerous tree canopies from different places; or a quilt-like design created through an array of community stories. Further collective visioning will likely stimulate even more creative suggestions.

Examples of communities that frequent Midland Library include Black/African American, Indigenous Peoples, Somali and other East African immigrants, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin speakers), Vietnamese, Slavic and Eastern European, Malay, Bhutanese, Iraqi, Tongan, Latinx (not just Spanish language speakers), youth and elders, LGBTQIA2S+, people living with disabilities and neurodivergence, houseless. More information from the community engagement process so far, including demographics, will be shared with the artist/artist team to ensure authentic understanding and representation.


The selected artist/artist team will receive $40,000 for this opportunity to create an artwork design that will be delivered as a digital file. This fee is inclusive of the following expenses; artist fees, design development, community engagement and communication/coordination with the design team, construction team and third-party contractors who will help to fabricate and install the artwork. There is a separate allocation, up to $15,000, for the digitization of the artwork, which will be paid directly to the artist or vendor who completes this scope of work. Costs for materials, fabrication and installation will be covered separately by the Library Bond Project construction budget.

Community Engagement and Participatory Design

The overall concept for the design of Midland Library is based on the idea of weaving. The project aims to weave together a diverse range of stories and lived experiences in a shared communal space. Humans’ relationship to nature, especially in the Pacific Northwest, is also central to this concept. On the interior of the building, this shows up as a focus on water as a connector to all life and environments. As part of the community engagement process, library patrons were asked to participate in the selection of the color palette for the interior design. Option B, the concept inspired by the movement of water, creating a calm space with gentle colors and soft, natural patterns, won the public vote.

We are seeking an artist/artist team who welcomes and reflects the diverse communities that are served by Midland Library within their process and work, while also centering these design principles.

Prior to finalizing a design, the selected artist/artist team will plan and facilitate at least two engagement sessions to meet with community stakeholders for visioning and public review of their design. Midland Library will be available as a venue to host events. Interpretation, translation and other access services can be made available, if needed, and coordinated through MCL and/or RACC, if enough time is given in advance. Working or in-progress design materials and narratives may be requested for wider community communication updates and will be coordinated in conjunction with the project team.

About the Library Capital Bond Project

As part of the Library Capital Bond Project, MCL is expanding the Midland Library to provide additional space and an enjoyable experience for all through renovations to the existing building as well as more robust services. Located on the southwest corner of SE 122nd Ave and SE Morrison St in the Mill Park neighborhood of east Portland, Oregon, the existing 24,000 square foot library will be updated and expanded by 6,000 square feet. The revised site will include a new entryway which creates the opportunity for an exterior art canopy.

The renovation and expansion of Midland Library is part of the Chapter One Projects phase of the Library Capital Bond Project and will be one of the first to reopen, currently scheduled for late spring/early summer 2024.


This opportunity is open to artists/artist teams based in Oregon and Washington. If applying as a team, at least one member must meet the residence eligibility requirement. Applicants who have an interest in and/or experience with community engagement processes, including social practice, which inform their approach and art practice are strongly encouraged to apply. Strong consideration will be given to artists who have experience working with youth and residents from historically underrepresented communities to develop their artwork including communities of color as well as immigrant and refugee communities.

MCL and RACC are committed to reflecting the cultural richness of our city by promoting opportunities for emerging and historically underrepresented artists. Artists/artist teams representing communities of color are encouraged to apply. RACC is committed to engaging new communities of artists and expanding the range of artistic and cultural expression represented in the City’s public art collection.

The selected artist/artist team must be able to create, complete and deliver their digital artwork design by February 2023.

Selection Process

At this time, the selection process will be entirely virtual. A selection panel composed of Multnomah County Library representatives, local artists, community members and East County residents, Library Bond Project team members and Midland Library design team members will review artists’ submissions and choose more than one finalist to invite to  interview for the commission.

Overall, the purpose of the interview is to allow the artist(s) to understand the context and intention the selection panel has for the final art piece and for the selection panel to meet the artist(s). After the interviews are conducted, the selection panel will choose an artist/artist team. The selected artist(s) will then be issued a Design Phase contract during which they will create a community engagement plan, meet with the community and create a proposal that includes a design of the canopy art, a budget and a timeline.

Criteria for selecting finalists for interviews are (1) quality of past work as demonstrated in submitted images; (2) ability  and interest in creating site-specific artwork; (3) how past artwork has fit one or more of the general goals described above, specifically community engagement practices, through process and/or in the final design; (4) interest in and/or ability to create connection to Midland Library and the Mill Park neighborhood.

Please note the selection panel reserves the right to select an artist who does not directly apply to this call, if appropriate.

How to Apply

All application materials must be submitted through the RACC Opportunity Portal, an online application system. Applicants will need to create an account, or log into their existing account at If you are applying as a team, please assign one person to apply and be the point of contact on behalf of the team.

Application Materials

  • Artist bio/resume. Upload a PDF, no more than two pages, that outlines your creative activities and artistic accomplishments. If applying as a team, submit one PDF that includes a bio/resume for all team members.
  • Statement of interest. In 3000 characters or less, provide a statement that outlines the following:
    • Your interest in this project
      • Why this project, its focus and themes are of interest to you
      • Why you’d be a good match for the project
      • How do you foresee your work connecting to the mission and values of the project
    • Describe your capacity and/or experience to complete the scope of work
    • Explain why you value community engagement in your artistic process and share past examples of successfully incorporating this into a project
    • If you are applying as a team, describe your individual roles on the team and how you anticipate working together
  • Up to 8 past work samples. These work samples are the primary way the quality of your work will be judged. Provide up to two images, no larger than 5MB each, for each work sample. For each image, please provide title, artist name, media, dimensions, year completed, budget and location. Conceptual information is desirable but not required.

Once you have started your application, you can save after each step and sign out. Your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on, as needed. Please note that after you click “Submit,” your application is final and no further edits can be made.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us throughout the process.

Submissions due: Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 5:00pm PDT


We are here to support and assist you! If you have questions about the overall opportunity or the RACC application portal,  would like to set up a time for a phone/video call or have any other needs for assistance please email project manager, Sophie, at

If you would like to be considered for this opportunity and don’t have a computer or online access, please feel free to contact RACC for support. Also, if you prefer these materials in another language you can contact the RACC project team  for translation services.

We strongly encourage you to submit your application with enough time for any questions to be answered prior to when submissions are due as enquiries received towards the end of that period may not be responded to. We appreciate your understanding and consideration of our capacity.

Interpretation services are available, please email

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Important Dates

August 5, 2022 – RFQ launch

August 17, 2022 at 12:30pm – Instagram Live Info Session. Follow @regionalarts on Instagram to stay informed.

August 24, 2022 at 5:00pm – Zoom Info Session. RSVP here.

August 31, 2022 – Applications due

(Early/mid) September 2022 – Panel review and artist selection including interviews

(Late) September 2022-January 2023 – Community Engagement and Participatory Design

February 2023 – Design submitted to contractor for procurement

March-October 2023 – Intermittent construction administration, installation will happen towards the end of this period