Request for Qualifications

Public Art Competition: Sculptural Trees

The Town of Morristown and River Arts invite all professional artists living in Vermont to apply for a public art commission. Artists are asked to submit qualifications to design permanent sculptures for downtown Morrisville.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, May 1, 2015

A partnership between the Town of Morristown, River Arts and MACC, the public sculpture project is supported by the Vermont Arts Council’s Animating Infrastructure Grant.


The Town of Morristown, in partnership with River Arts, has received a grant from the Vermont Arts Council to work with artists and community members to bring unique art to the downtown area.  The funds are part of the Council’s new Animated Infrastructure grant program which aims to foster collaborative partnerships between communities and artists and to integrate public art into existing or proposed infrastructure improvement projects.  A key goal of the new program is to develop a model collection of unique, inspiring, and attractive landmark communities throughout Vermont.

The grant will support the one-year planning and design phase for creating three sculptural “trees” in Morristown’s designated downtown. One of the three sculptures will have an interactive, interchangeable component, such as leaves or branches, that will be able to be removed, redesigned and replaced.  The “trees” will help create a sense of place for residents and visitors alike, and serve as a dynamic mechanism for engaging dialogue in the community through revolving curatorial exhibitions.



The intended outcome of this project will be a long-term community commitment to the importance of public art in the planning, design, and creation of Morristown’s public space.  This project seeks to strengthen the fabric of our community by coordinating the activities of planners, artists, non-profit organizations, community groups and engaging community members in the process of improving the downtown.


Morristown is a community of approximately 5,200 people located in north central Vermont and situated along the banks of the Lamoille River.

First settled in the late eighteenth century, Morristown played a significant role in the socioeconomic development of the region. In the early 1800’s manufacturing thrived in the village. Utilizing the prevalent water power of the river, a foundry made farm equipment and a grist mill and creamery produced dairy and grain products. Forests were logged for timber and sent out of state for use in shipbuilding and home construction. Lake Champlain became a primary transportation waterway during those early years of the nineteenth century.

With the advent of an east west railroad service in the 1880’s a major transportation hub developed in Morristown. Farm products could be shipped more easily, people could travel in the winter, and tourists could arrive in the area somewhat rested. The train brought urban dwellers in the summer months for relaxation and outdoor activities. Morrisville had a large hotel and many smaller establishments which catered to these tourists well into the early 1900’s.

During this time, the rural nature of the community fostered strong civic organizations, neighborly values and sense of belonging. People knew their neighbors and assisted each other when needed, but also cherished a certain independence. It was a blue collar town filled with hard working, good intentioned people.

After World War II the town struggled to find itself. Employment and life styles were more favorable outside the community and state. Morristown during the 1950’s and 1960’s had become much like most of rural northern Vermont, a place waiting for an opportunity.

During the last thirty years new arrivals and long time residents have been able to create a resurgence in economic activity. The ski industry in neighboring Stowe supports many a household in Morristown. Additionally, an entrepreneurial spirit has revitalized many types of civic organizations and businesses. An arts center and a downtown revitalization group have contributed to an improved quality of life in Morristown. Today, a supportive municipality coupled with a dedicated citizenry has helped Morristown rediscover itself.



  • Permanent interactive sculpture located in front of Post Office, across from Town Offices
  • 1 location in front of the Morrisville Police Department on Main Street.
  • 1 location across from River Arts, the new MOCO food cooperative, and bus stop on Pleasant Street.



Artists are asked to envision three, separate, sculptural “trees” that project a dynamic visual presence and draw visitors into the downtown while creating a unique community landmark.  One of the “trees” will have interactive components that serve to provide continued creative dialogue and engagement in the community, by the community.

Artists should consider the following objectives:

  • To be meaningful to community residents by reflecting their history, culture, and spirit
  • To be structurally sound: the structure and its components must be durable, able to withstand outdoor conditions, and require minimal maintenance
  • To use materials that can withstand the rigors of outdoor placement: experimental or composite materials must have proof of longevity; and
  • To be mindful of public safety



A total art budget of approximately $40,000 will include Artist’s design fee, drawings, legal fees, insurance coverage, costs of materials, fabrication, shipment, installation, including foundation, and all other project related expenses.



A design stipend of $500 will be awarded to each of the four finalists in the first phase for time spent creating proposals.

A second design stipend of $11,000 (included in the overall budget) will be awarded to the artist with the winning proposal to cover all incurred expenses after the execution of the contract. Finalists must be available to attend Community and Planning meetings.



Professional artists, who live in Vermont, and have successfully completed a public art project may apply.



Submission Deadline | May 1, 2015

First Phase – Panel Review | May 22, 2015

Finalist Orientation & Site Visit | May 29, 2015

Second Phase – Proposal Presentation | July 22, 2015

Community VotingWinner Announced | August 10, 2015

Third Phase – Contract  | August 24, 2015

Fabrication/Installation | Pending Funding



All applicants are required to submit an application through River Arts.   Applications are due by midnight on Friday, May 1, 2015. It is recommended that you do not wait until the deadline hour to submit. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Sculptural Trees Design Submission” in the subject heading.



  • Artist Statement: Describe a general approach to the overall vision and intention of the Sculptural Trees project, not to exceed 200 words (a detailed  approach is not requested in the First Phase of the selection process)
  • Resume / CV: Current professional CV / resume including artist address, email, and phone number.
  • Digital Images: Each artist must submit 6 digital images (saved as .jpgs) of previously completed artwork.



First Phase:

All entries will be reviewed by a 5-7 member Selection Panel, which will include arts professionals and town and community representatives. Panel members will select a group of four Finalists based on written statements, images of former work, and previous public art experience. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed.

Second Phase:

Finalists will be invited to an Orientation Meeting and a visit to Morristown, the project site. Drawings and detailed information about the site, including dimensions, budget, and structural requirements will be provided. Following the meeting, Finalists will develop detailed proposals for presentation and review by the Selection Panel.  Panel members will select 2 proposals to be presented to the community for a town-wide voting process.  The Panel reserves the right to recommend none of the proposals.

Third Phase:

The winning artist will be contracted to finalize designs that are ready for fabrication and installation.



Following approval from the Town of Morristown, the selected artist will be required to enter into an agreement prior to commencing the work. No selection shall be deemed final until a proposal has been fully approved and an agreement properly executed by the artist and the Town of Morrisville.



All applicants will receive notification by e-mail of the Selection Panel’s decision. Please do not call for competition results. The Town of Morristown, River Arts and the Selection Committee reserve the right to change, modify, or revise this RFQ, in part or whole, at any time without prior notice. Dates are subject to change.



Direct all questions to: [email protected] or call 802-888-1261