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Public Art Competition Honoring Matthew Gaines and the 12th Texas Legislature

Texas A&M University announces competition to commission public art installation

Texas A&M University is announcing an open competition for professional artists or artist teams to commission a site specific public art installation commemorating contributions made by Matthew Gaines, Washington County’s first African American state senator, and the 12th Texas Legislature. The installation will reside on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas, in a high traffic area near the south side of the new Student Services Building.

Gaines served in the 12th Texas Legislature. He was a vocal supporter of Senate Bill 276, which allowed the state to establish the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas under the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act. Learn more about Matthew Gaines and the 12th Texas legislature.

The Matthew Gaines Initiative was formed in the fall of 2018 and is an organization made up of 15 students at Texas A&M University. Through their outreach and fundraising efforts, the Matthew Gaines Initiative works to raise awareness about Senator Matthew Gaines and his indisputable contributions to the establishment of Texas A&M. Several committees, such as outreach, programming, marketing, fundraising, and art commemoration, are led by these students to promote the erection of a statue commemorating the work of Matthew Gaines. The Initiative will remain active following the construction of the statue in order to sustain the legacy of Senator Gaines for generations to come.

Texas A&M University’s Student Senate passed the Matthew Gaines Commemoration Bill on Nov. 1, 2018, to memorialize the former Texas Senator.

Artists should consider figurative elements as part of their concept and the following inspirational words when coming up with ideas for the public art installation:

Unity | Spirit | Diversity | Inviting | Nurturing

Interested artists and artist teams are encouraged to submit their entries with a résumé and images of three different previous public art projects. Those qualifying to the next round will be contacted to submit more information.



Accepting Entries: Now–April 22, 2020

Artists or artist teams will submit résumés that reflect their ability to handle a project of this size, in addition to images of three previous public art projects they have completed. Deadline April 22, 2020. Enter competition.

Jury Selection: May 2020

The jury will narrow down the artist pool and contact the semi-finalists.

Finalist Presentations: July 2020

Three semi-finalists will each be awarded a $5,000 stipend to develop their concepts and to travel to College Station, Texas, to present their concepts to the jury. Semi-finalists will create a concept proposal package to include drawings and/or maquettes for their art piece, an artist statement, materials list, fabrication timeline, and budget breakdown.

Winner Selected: August 2020

The jury will select one winning artist or artist team to construct the commemorative public art installation. The winning artist or artist team will work with representatives from the university to finalize the concept.

Installation: February 2021

After concepts are approved and contracts are signed, the winning artist or artist team will install the art. A $150,000 commission will be awarded; commission awards are intended to cover all artist costs including, but not limited to, artist travel, fabrication, shipping, installation, engineering review (if necessary), etc. The university will provide lighting, signage, personnel lift, ladders, or scaffolding, if needed for installation.

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