Library Seeks Artists for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s New Grand Reading Room

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Library Seeks Artists for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library’s New Grand Reading Room

Ceiling treatment to be one of three permanent public art pieces in modernized building

Today, the District of Columbia Public Library, in partnership with the DC Public Library Foundation, issued a Request for Qualifications and statements of interest for a ceiling treatment in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
 
This art call is for the first of three permanent public art pieces that will go in the modernized Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Future calls will be for the vestibule glass and the plaza in front of the building. Artists, designers, and art/design teams ages 18 or older are being asked to submit samples of past work, along with a statement that explains the relevance of past work to this opportunity by August 31.
 
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, D.C.’s central library, is undergoing a complete modernization. The ceiling treatment will be a permanent architectural feature in the library's new Grand Reading Room. Located on the third floor on the 9th street side of the building, the ceiling treatment will be a highlight of the double-height reading room. 
 
The goals for the ceiling treatment are to represent D.C.’s landscape and/or streetscape; create a thematic connection between the third floor Grand Reading Room and the Special Collections area on the fourth floor; complement the architect's’ vision for a light-filled, quiet, relaxing space for reading and solitary study that harmonizes with Mies van der Rohe’s modernist design; distinguish the Grand Reading Room with an iconic visual feature, with the potential to increase a sense of community connection to the Library and its resources; and honor Dr. King’s legacy and love of books by enhancing spaces for lifelong learning that are welcoming and accessible to all. 
 
The panel reviewing submissions will feature a Library representative and experts from the fields of public art, design, architecture, and public history, with collaboration from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Mies van der Rohe Society at Illinois Institute of Technology. Semifinalists will be selected in October and awarded stipends to develop full proposals. The semifinalist proposals will be presented at community meeting where the public will be invited to provide feedback. The Review Panel will incorporate community feedback into their final selection. The selected finalist will be announced in December.
 
When the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library reopens in 2020, the modernized flagship library will become the center of activity in the already vibrant downtown area. Designed by the award-winning design team of Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo, the $208 million rehabilitation will feature a spectacular new, vibrant and transparent entryway; sculptured monumental stairs; large auditorium and conference center; creative spaces for fabrication, music production and art creation; ground level café with patio; double-height reading room; newly designed special collections space for researchers and research enthusiasts, and a roof top event space with terrace. To learn more about the modernization, click here.
  
For more information on the RFQ, including how to submit qualifications, click here.