SKOWHEGAN — WesArts Kennebec on Fire project is opening a request for proposals for more public art.

Proposals for the seasonal public art project in the Kennebec River must be submitted by Feb. 28.
Wesserunsett Arts Council and Main Street Skowhegan are nonprofits collaborating together on the installation of Kennebec on Fire. WesArts is Somerset County’s only regional arts council. Its mission is to cultivate creativity and harness cultural strength to share Somerset’s story for residents and visitors. It uses art and culture as tools for community building, placemaking, and economic revitalization. Main Street is a nationally accredited member of the Main Street America program and is dedicated to the revitalization of Skowhegan.

The first installation site is at the Great Eddy, below the gorge. The sculptures will be designed to include a fire brazier and be installed on floating bases anchored to the riverbed. The sculptures will be on display from mid-June to late September. The braziers in the sculptures will be lit 4-6 times per season for light festivals and during other corner-stone events in Skowhegan.

The project will be a tool to help revitalize Somerset County communities, it will use public art as a catalyst for enhancing sense of place, building community pride, and increasing tourism and economic development along the Kennebec River Valley.

Submitting artists must be 18 or older, reside in Maine (proposals by central Maine artists will have preference), and attend an inaugural lighting ceremony.

Due to the constraints of river access and intended use, proposals must meet the following requirements: Project budget will not exceed $10,000; project budget includes but is not limited to commission, administrative costs, materials, fabrication, attachment to base, additional contractors, transportation, etc.

The project budget does not include base design and fabrication or site installation (Main Street will provide the base and final project installation).

Sculpture design must include a viable self-draining fire brazier that will fit 8-12 pieces of firewood; sculpture(s) should be made from materials that are fire and weatherproof; the design cannot exceed 4 feet in height and 300 pounds in weight; the design’s center of gravity should concentrate as close to the center of the base as possible; Main Street Skowhegan will commission and provide the sculpture base; sculpture attachment must be compatible with base design and approved by Kennebec on Fire engineers; the work must be original and of safe design and structure; sculptures should fit the character of Skowhegan; and work must be able to withstand outdoor conditions and partial submersion for at least 3-5 years.

For inspiration and town information, visit RunofRiver.org, MainStreetSkowhegan.org, and VisitSkowhegan.org.

If selected, the artist(s) will be required to sign a contract outlining the scope of their work and timeline.
Artists must submit all of the following for full consideration: Artist statement; resume; rendering, sketch or CAD drawing of proposed design; detailed project budget; and three to five examples of past work.

Submissions can be emailed or mailed.

Email all materials to [email protected] with the subject line “Kennebec on Fire RFP submission,” or mail all materials to Main Street Skowhegan, Attention: Kristina Cannon, 48 Court St., Skowhegan, Maine 04976 with a postmark no later than Feb. 28.

Proposals will be selected by a jury separate from the project planning committee. This jury will consist of three to five community stakeholders and artists.

For more information, contact WesArts project coordinator Saskia Reinholt at 207-218-2072 or [email protected]

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