Call for Expressions of Interest: Public Art for Kitchener Public Library’s New Southwest Branch

Kitchener Public Library is building a new library. The City of Kitchener is seeking expressions of interest to create a public art commission for the new facility.

Artists or artist teams are invited to submit a proposal to be considered by a jury in the Kitchener Southwest Community Library Public Art Competition. This is the first stage in a two-stage competition.

This call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) is open to established artists or artist teams with experience creating public art projects. The jury will give preference to submissions from artists or teams with equity-deserving backgrounds.

City of Kitchener’s public art program is funded through a percent-for-art mechanism (1%) which produces artworks specific to civic facilities and prominent public places. The Kitchener Public Library (KPL) Southwest Community Library construction project is eligible for a public artwork through the City’s public art policy. City staff will host an information session at KPL central branch about the project and EOI process on Thursday, November 17, 2022, from 6:30-8:30pm.


KPL’s southwest branch will serve a growing demand for library space, resources and services in a new residential area called Rosenberg, which could reach 25,000 residents and more than 10,000 new residential units by 2040. The concept design developed by mcCallumSather proposes a 14,000-square-foot single-story building with natural light connecting open gathering areas and flexible program spaces.

Library staff envision a welcoming, inspiring space. The new branch will offer resources, programs and spaces for artistic expression through music, writing, culinary arts or digital design. Southwest Kitchener residents want a place to borrow books and study, but also to access technology, digital tools, cultural programming and early learning and literacy. They also want a naturally lit space that promotes inclusion and incorporates sustainable principles.


The Southwest Community Library building design will aim for NetZero designation and feature slatted wood ceilings, natural- or neutral-palate exterior and interior walls, and a green roof.

One potential identified location for a public art installation is the planned bulkhead (53.18’ long by 8.06’ tall) below a series of elevated windows in the main programming area. The room will be tall, wide (59.73’ x 28.4’) and open concept, visually connected to both the entryway and main exterior programming area, flooded by natural light from continuously glazed windows facing southwest. This highly visible interior area will serve as a welcoming gathering spot, reading lounge, and program and event space.

Framing in this location will be 6” steel studs, but more plywood blocking could be added between studs to install or mount an object. Any special requirements would need to be reviewed by a structural engineer.

The facility’s main entry area presents another location opportunity. This triangular-shaped area is enclosed by continuously glazed windows on two sides, with an exterior curtain wall to the south (15.58’ wide) and vestibule glass to the east (12.27’). An artwork or series of artworks could potentially be mounted and suspended from the ceiling in this location.

Given the nature of the library environment, works powered by or incorporating motors are not acceptable for either install location.

Visibility of the public art installation from both interior and exterior areas of the new library branch is an important consideration, informing both location options.

Please read the full EOI posting on the City of Kitchener website for all site considerations and eligibility requirements.


The commission fee for KPL’s Southwest Community Library’s public art project is $65,000 (Canadian dollars). This amount must cover:

  • artist’s or team’s design or production fees
  • insurance and legal fees
  • materials costs
  • studio and storage costs
  • fabrication
  • transportation of artwork to the site
  • installation costs
  • subcontractors’ fees
  • required documentation
  • artist’s or team’s travel expenses

City staff will support installation logistics. The artist or team will provide consultation to staff during the installation.


The creation of public art for KPL’s Southwest Community Library will be achieved through a two-stage competition administered by City staff:

  • stage one: the jury selects finalist EOIs from qualified artists or teams for further consideration
  • stage two: short-listed artists or teams will be paid to prepare detailed concept drawings and/or maquettes and present their idea to the jury

Jury members will independently evaluate EOI submissions from artists or teams against the criteria below. Proposals identified as preferred options will then be discussed in further detail by jury members at a meeting designed to determine the most suitable, practical, intriguing and enduring proposals. Up to three proposals selected by the jury will advance to stage two, in which the jury selects one recommendation.

Evaluation categories include:

  • artist or team qualifications and ability to produce high-quality artworks
  • artist or team capacity to successfully complete and install their proposal
  • the artistic merit of the proposed concept to enhance or activate public space
  • consideration of artist’s or team’s self-identification as equity-deserving
  • capacity of artist or team to collaborate with project design professionals
  • relevance of the proposed artwork to the EOI, facility and local culture
  • appropriateness of the scale, visibility and/or presence of the artwork
  • appropriateness of proposal to the budget, scope and timelines available
  • suitability and sustainability of material and maintenance requirements
  • general technical feasibility (durability, assembly, safety, accessibility)

The jury’s recommendation will proceed to the City’s Public Art Working Group, its Arts and Culture Advisory Committee and the Kitchener Public Library Board for support before being reported to Kitchener Council for final approval.

Once approved, City staff will prepare a contract with the artist or team. The artist or team must carry third-person liability insurance for two million dollars and, if applicable, provide a GST/HST number.

The selected artist or team will work with the architectural consultant team and selected construction team to achieve a successful public art installation.

EOI submissions are due at 5 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.

You can apply online by completing this application form. Please send questions to

To apply by delivery or mail, please refer to the EOI webpage.

Image credits: Architectural renderings by mcCallumSather.