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In celebration of the Morse Institute Library’s 150th anniversary, the Town of Natick and the Morse Institute Library are commissioning artists to design, construct, install and maintain three (3) original, temporary Outdoor Reading Rooms in public green spaces across the community. Outdoor Reading Rooms are open-air ‘rooms’ where anyone may sit and read—no library card needed!
Summer 2023 Outdoor Reading Rooms
The Outdoor Reading Rooms will reflect the 2023 summer reading theme of ‘Find Your Voice,’ and will provide spaces for people to sit and talk, read, relax, and occasionally browse library materials. As temporary art installations, the Outdoor Reading Rooms should offer sculptural seating, with preference given to designs that are inclusive of all physical capabilities.

The Outdoor Reading Rooms will serve the community from June to August 2023. In addition to providing a space where anyone can gather and read, the Morse Institute Library’s Bookmobile and Book Bike will support each Outdoor Reading Room with pop-up programming such as children’s story times, author talks, book clubs, and historical programs. The spaces will also be available to support public programming led by other municipal departments, nonprofits, and community groups.

The Town of Natick and Morse Institute Library seek three (3) original, temporary art works to be installed on three (3) pre-selected municipal locations, made by three (3) separate artists. We seek Massachusetts resident artists (individuals or teams) who are interested in creating works that engage with the sites and the project vision described below. Artists must participate and respond to two rounds of design reviews, a public safety approval, and must carry liability insurance (funds provided to offset this expense). Artists will be responsible for installation, maintenance, and de- installation. 

This opportunity is funded in partnership with The New England Foundation for the Arts and Cognex Corporation.
Our voices have power. We use our voices to share stories, express ourselves, and spark change. Our voices include not only the sounds we make, but the words we write, the art we create, the movements we perform, and the actions we take each day to impact our world. 

The Find Your Voice summer reading program will provide a context for exploring books, history, social justice, and STEAM fields as well as offering library programs and services that empower patrons of all ages to make their voices heard.  

Summer reading programs encourage school children to read during their summer vacation, to use the library, and to develop the habit of reading. The benefits of summer reading programs include the encouragement to make reading a lifelong habit, engagement of reluctant readers, skill retention, and increased interest in the library and books. The Morse Institute Library envisions a library community where everyone can thrive and find joy in learning, discovery, and personal growth. It is with this in mind that the Outdoor Reading Rooms should engage people where they already gather, improve access for the community to participate in open green space, and welcome them to connect further with the library. Each site was chosen intentionally, with one site as a hub in Natick Center, one site in West Natick, and one site in East Natick, north of Route 9.
Location Details
Morse Institute Library, 14 E Central Street, Natick, MA Located on the front lawn of the Morse Institute Library, this Outdoor Reading Room will act as the central hub for the summer reading program, connecting residents directly to library services and building awareness of the other sites.
The Morse Institute Library celebrates 150 years serving Natick in 2023. Information on the history can be found here. The lawn is opposite Natick Town Hall and is often used for library and Town-sponsored programs. This location is accessible by car and by pedestrians, offers safety in the form of brick wall barriers, and is visible to the public. This Outdoor Reading Room would be located on the west side of the lawn, near trees/shade, on the corner of E Central and Washington. 
Once a quaint downtown, Natick Center, where the Morse Institute Library is located, has reshaped its identity as the MetroWest region’s hub for arts and culture. The area is designated as a Cultural District by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is considered the “historical heart” of the community. It is home to the Town Common and is frequently the headquarters for town events, from parades to summer concerts, the weekly farmers market and more.  The neighborhood surrounding the Library is a mix of residential and commercial development, and is densely populated when compared with other districts in town. Residents who live here also tend to be younger (median age of 43) and have a lower income (13% below the poverty line). Approximately 85% of the population here identify as white or Caucasian.  63% of the neighborhood population are library card holders.

Location Details
Cole Center, 179 Boden Lane, Natick, MA This Outdoor Reading Room will connect the Library to new populations, specifically the densely populated and more diverse neighborhoods of West Natick. 
The Cole Center is home to the Natick Recreation & Parks Department. It offers a Teen Center, playgrounds, and multiple outdoor fields used for summer camps and soccer games. Many support services for families with young children are located here. It is accessible by car and by pedestrians, has ample parking and sidewalks, offers safety in the form of fencing, and is visible to the public from Boden Lane. The Outdoor Reading Room will be located in the grassy area within the playground, under and near a tree and near a concrete pad with a picnic table.  
The Cole Center is located in a suburban neighborhood between two major thoroughfares, West Central Street (Route 135) and Hartford Street. Two public schools and a commuter rail station are within walking distance of the Cole Center, as well as a series of large, multi-family condominium complexes. This part of Natick, known as West Natick, is home to a high percentage of immigrant families, with many from India and Southeast Asia. Residents who live here are less likely to own a car, more likely to speak a language other than English, and have a lower income than residents living in other parts of Natick (median income $99,089). Approximately 40% of residents here identify as Asian. 41% of the neighborhood population are library card holders.  

Location Details
Connor Heffler Park, 90 Oak Street, Natick MA This Outdoor Reading Room will connect Natick residents living north of Route 9, which can be a barrier to the south side of Route 9, and raise awareness of library programs in a highly visible space. 
Connor Heffler Park is a new park located at the busy intersection of Route 9/Worcester Road and Oak Street. It features a baseball diamond, basketball court, pickleball and tennis courts, and two playgrounds. Located on the grounds of a former school, the building at this site (known as “East School”) is home to the Natick Preschool and is used for afterschool programming and a summer STEAM camp by the YMCA. This location is accessible by car, bus and by pedestrians with ample parking and sidewalks, offers safety in the form of fencing and distance from a parking lot/roadway, and is visible to the public. This Outdoor Reading Room will be located in the grassy area under/near trees in the large triangular-shaped portion of the property closest to Route 9.   
Neighborhood On one side of the park is Route 9, a busy state road with varied commercial uses, from retail to office space. On the other side of the park sits a classic suburban neighborhood with backstreets perfect for bike riding and walks. Nearby is Pickeral Pond, a conservation area with wetlands and trails that is home to a growing beaver population.
The median household income in this part of town is $152,922. About 26% of residents here are 65+ years old, compared with 15% of the Natick population. Just 38% of the neighborhood population are library card holders.
The Town of Natick will fund three (3) temporary installations to three (3) separate artists at $5,500 each. Total budget includes funds ($500) to offset the expense of the required liability insurance.
The payment schedule is as follows:
Total budget includes funds ($500) to offset the expense of the required liability insurance.
Deliverable 1: Signed Agreement & Initial Design Submitted
$1,000 payment
Signed Agreement.
Certificate of Insurance identifying ARTIST and TOWN as the insured.
Detailed Concept Drawings for the project.
Overview of Materials to be used.
Draft Fabrication Plan and Timeline.
Draft Maintenance Plan.
Approvals from or on behalf of ARTIST; TOWN authorities
Deliverable 2: Approved Final Design
$1,800 payment
Detailed information provided about the materials used in the artwork.
Detailed Fabrication Plan and Timeline.
Detailed Installation Specifications.
Detailed Maintenance Plan.
Approvals from TOWN authorities.
Deliverable 3: Installation and Inspection
$1,950 payment
Artwork fabricated according to approved Final Design.
Successful installation of artwork.
Updated Maintenance Plan.
Approvals from TOWN authorities.
Deliverable 4: Maintenance and De-Installation
$750 payment
Final Site Preparation.
Plan of action for artwork failure or emergency.
Plan of action for minor repair or maintenance.
ARTIST’s responsibilities related to maintenance.
Approvals from TOWN authorities.
Artist Selection
Selection Committee: Three (3) Massachusetts resident artists will be chosen by a nine (9) member Selection Committee consisting of three site-specific community liaisons, one member of Library Administration, one member from the Natick Public Art Committee, one representative from Natick Recreation and Parks Commission, one non-applying Natick artist, one Natick Public Schools Librarian representative, and one representative from Cognex Corporation. The Committee will have a Project Liaison who will communicate between the Selection Committee and the Selected Artists. The three initial and final designs will be reviewed by members of this Committee, who can make recommendations to the artist regarding the final design. Town of Natick officials and committee will review final designs and can make suggestions and recommendations regarding structural integrity, community insights, etc. No design will be approved unless it is approved by the municipal safety team.

 Artists Selection Criteria:
Artist selection will be based on the following criteria:

  Application: Application must include all required information (see application requirements below). Incomplete/unreadable submissions will not be accepted.

  Qualifications:  Artist(s) demonstrates…
- Experience working in the artistic medium of the proposed project concept.  Projects should have a three-dimensional element but may be of any solid medium. 
- Technical experience in implementing projects in the medium and scale proposed (e.g. resume, work samples, artist portfolio)

  Project Concept: Proposed project concepts must…
- Reflect the Summer Reading theme of “Find Your Voice.”
- Have a three-dimensional element, but may be of any artistic medium.
- Consider the space and neighborhood.
- Be inclusive, welcoming, appropriate, and suitable for active use by diverse audiences of all ages and abilities.
- Use non-toxic paint and materials. 
- Be original, previously unpublished, and free of copyright restrictions. 
- Be feasible (construct/install safely given the available funds and the site restrictions).
- Be designed to withstand the weather, consistent use, and with consideration of the sites’ restrictions.
- NOT be suitable for climbing
- NOT be anchored in the ground (no excavation/concrete footings)
- NOT utilize trees for hanging or stability
- NOT feature any commercial, political, or religious content.
- Optional: may utilize the chain link fences (Cole or Connor Heffler Park) for nonpermanent, non-weight-bearing art.
- Optional: Engage with the community during the artmaking process. We envision several community engagement activities will occur around the installation and there may be additional opportunities for the selected artist to engage with the community if that is of interest.
- Optional: Structure doesn’t require storage for materials, but can have integrated storage for free library materials, provided by the Morse Institute Library.
  A detailed proposed project plan is not necessary at this stage. If selected, project feasibility, safety and sustainability will be reviewed in the initial design period.
Project Timeline
Virtual/Live Information Session: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 1:00pm (will be recorded)
Click here to view the recorded Zoom session
Deadline for Submissions: Friday, October 28, 2022 by 5pm EST
Artists Selected By: Friday, November 18, 2022 
Initial Design and Signed Agreement Due: January 3, 2023
Selection Committee Feedback: January 18, 2023
NOTE: Artists will receive feedback from the Committee via a project liaison. Feedback will be focused on structural integrity, accessibility, and community insights. Artists will work with liaison to ensure feedback is addressed in their final design. 
Final Designs Due: January 31, 2023
Safety Approval Period: February 1, 2023 - February 14, 2023
NOTE: Town officials will review and approve the final design with a focus on public safety. Artists must address any public safety concerns identified by municipal officials.
Fabrication Period: February 15, 2023 – May 12, 2023
Installation Period: May 15 - 26, 2023
Display Period: May 27, 2023-August 31, 2023
NOTE: Artists will be responsible for general maintenance throughout the display period.
De-installation Period: September 1-8, 2023
NOTE: Artists will be responsible for both installation and de-installation.
Submissions must be received by Friday, October 28, 2022 by 5pm EST and must include:
Contact information: Artist name and contact information—phone number, email and mailing address. Team applications should provide a brief description of the team and identify who the point person for the team is.

1. Resume/CV (2 page max) and/or short bio (two paragraphs)
2. Work samples:
  - 3-5 digital images of applicant’s related work with descriptions that include: title, year, medium and size. Images may be   uploaded as jpg in the online form, included with the rest of the application materials in a single PDF if emailed, or printed and   mailed with application materials. 
  - Links to artist’s website, portfolio, Instagram, or social media platform.
3. References: contact information for two references on similar projects. 
4. Certification of Agreement: see Agreement sample 
5. W-9: signed copy

  Project Concept:
- Vision Statement: conceptual description of the project, including artistic medium, name for the artwork, location(s) where you envision your artwork, and a brief description (100 words or less) of the reasons or inspirations behind the proposal and how it connects to the ‘Find Your Voice’ theme. (This information will be used for publicity about the program.)
- Conceptual Rendering: sketch or conceptual drawing of your vision. This would be a preliminary project concept, not to exceed 1 page. Please take no more than 3 hours to come up with this (your time is important). The proposal should be submitted in a PDF, jpeg, or png file.

Proposals may be submitted the following ways: 
- Online:  
- Mail: Morse Institute Library
  Attn: Jane Ellen Newman
  14 E Central Street
  Natick, MA 01760 (NOTE: Mailed applications must be RECEIVED by October 28th, 2022)
- Email: Email all materials in a single PDF to 

  If you have any questions, or to arrange a site visit, please contact Jane Ellen Newman at (508) 647-6524 or