Archive for May, 2010


Call for artists for library commissioning

May 24, 2010

We have funds in our library building project budget for public art and are now seeking proposals from artists to be considered for commissioning for placement in the expanded and renovated library.   I think it’s important to note that we don’t have any preconceived ideas on what this might be.  We do know we want a tree of some kind in the children’s department.  That’s one exciting possibility for an artist to develop.  However, if you aren’t interested in this idea, that’s just fine.  The art we are seeking could be for the youth department or the teen area.  Or you might be interested in creating something for the front entryway, the outside, the donor wall, or the historic area of the library.  In short, we are open to all ideas and virtually any medium.  The Request for Proposal (RFP) provides more information.  Here is the submittal form.

From the official press release:

The Library Arts Committee has established a review process. Cynthia Holt, chair of the group and President of the Fort Atkinson Arts Council indicates, “We will be looking for portfolios that resonate with the community and the library’s history and traditions, environment and mission. We will not necessarily be looking for specific works but artists that will engage with the project on potential public art opportunities.”

“We want the library to be a place that inspires curiosity, creativity and a desire to explore learning,” said Connie Meyer, Library Director. “We’d like people to feel better when they leave than when they arrived, uplifted as a result of visiting the library. Delivering exceptional library services involves many elements, including the physical environment. There are artistic opportunities in the entry, the floors, the donor wall, the landscaping, the teen and youth areas as well as the historic sections of the library. We don’t have any preconceived ideas at this point; we are very open to artists ideas,” Meyer concluded.

Uihlein-Wilson Architects included 1% of the project budget for public art, about $50,000. “The environment and feeling of the space is critical to the success of a library. We want it to be an inviting and fun place to visit and gather,” said architect Del Wilson. “The library helps set the tone in a community. It’s an important place. We have designed the library to honor its history at the same time as it offers promise and anticipation of the future. This is quite an opportunity for an artist to contribute something important to Fort Atkinson,” said Wilson.

Proposals are due to the Dwight Foster Art Committee by June 4, 2010 at 4 p.m.  The review process and artist interviews will take place in June and decisions announced in late June or early July. The Request for Proposals and the application can be found at The Dwight Foster Public Library Web site


Making the cut

May 10, 2010

The new entrance is now visible! (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

As you can see, the construction is moving along at a very good rate.  On Thursday the new library entry area was cut into the building.   As you stand in the street and look at the building, you can begin to visualize the grade level entrance we’ve talked about for so long.  The sidewalk and steps are now gone and the old doorway is boarded up.  It’s so much fun to see the building be transformed!


100 years ago today

May 6, 2010

Yes, exactly 100 year ago today the Daily Jefferson County Union ran a story that is amazingly fitting for today, May 6, 2010.

Melissa Wagner of the Daily Jefferson County Union found it while researching archives for the newspaper’s “Memory Lane” feature.  She kindly shared it with me.  It ran in the Daily Union newspaper on May 6, 1910.   I think it’s so heartening that the citizens were in search of a first-class building, well located.  I had to smile when I read that donors had until the next day to commit their support.  It appears they were overly ambitious in their capital campaign deadline and had to extend it a bit.  The library’s history book indicates they had to work fairly hard (for longer than one day) to raise funds to help augment the eventual gift from Henry Southwell.  It actually took six more years to get the library built (in the building that we know today) at the corner of East Milwaukee and Merchants Avenues.  One hundred years later, we want the very same thing for Fort Atkinson.  That’s what we’ve worked so hard to ensure.  May our descendants, 100 years from now, still have a first-class library building, well located.

Here is the exact text:

An unexpected opportunity to secure a valuable location for a Public Library for the City of Fort Atkinson, together with a building which will meet the needs of the Library for some years to come was presented to the Library Board. A Committee was appointed to interview the people of Fort Atkinson and ascertain if a sufficient amount could be raised to purchase the property. The Committee met with favorable responded when soliciting for funds; the contributions already promised insure the success of the undertaking, and that Fort Atkinson is to have, some day, a first-class Library Building, well located. There still remains a few hundred dollars to be secured, and in order that all who have a desire to aid in this work may have the opportunity to give as much or as little as it may be their pleasure to donate for this laudable and public spirited undertaking this announcement is made and those who wish to assist are requested to inform any member of the Library Board or the Librarian not later than Saturday, May 7th, if possible.  Members of the Library Board are: Mrs. C.A. Caswell, A.J. Glover, Rev. A.F. Nicolaus, Prof. J.A. Hagemann, Mrs. J.F. Schreiner, Mrs.D.A. Bullock, A.C. Price, Mrs. C.W. Ferris, J.N. Hager and A.M. Webb. The Librarian is Sue Nichols.

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