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Expression of Interest – Indigenous Curator

The City of Ottawa is seeking an Indigenous Curator or team of curators to develop and curate an Indigenous Art Program for the new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. This two-stage competition is held in accordance with the Public Art Policy. City of Ottawa employees are not eligible to apply.
Closing date: Monday, September 9, 2019, noon EDT
Total budget: $50,000 CAD + HST
Contract Period: October 2019 – October 2020 (Approximately)
Contact: Melissa Black, Public Art Officer

1. Acknowledgement – Honouring the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

Ottawa is built on unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The people of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. The City of Ottawa would like to honour the people and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The City of Ottawa would also like to honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their elders, their knowledge keepers, both young and old, their ancestors and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

2. Project Background: Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library (OPL), in partnership with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are building a new 216,000 square foot joint facility at 555 Albert Street that is anticipated to receive an average of 5,000 visitors a day. The OPL-LAC Joint Facility will contribute to the ongoing transformation of Canada’s capital into a world-class city through the creation of a prestigious modern facility that brings together and showcases a new Ottawa Public Library’s Central Library with Library and Archives Canada’s public services.

The facility will contain 21 functional components made up of OPL-only spaces, LAC-only spaces, and shared spaces. The shared spaces will enhance the complementary but unique nature of OPL and LAC services, and will include:

Exterior Spaces – a shared outdoor space for programs and activities, acting as an interface between the building and the public realm;
A Main Entrance and Town Square – a shared entrance space with access to OPL and LAC spaces, and meeting spaces, featuring a café and Gift Shop;
Public Forum and Meeting Spaces – large multipurpose spaces for programming and events for the community, as well as both OPL and LAC;
An Exhibition Gallery – museum-quality spaces featuring exhibitions of rare and unique LAC collections, travelling exhibitions; and OPL and City of Ottawa community exhibitions and;
A Genealogy Centre – a one-of-a-kind research space offering OPL and LAC services and collections.
The OPL-LAC Joint Facility, located at 555 Albert Street, will be near residential and mixed-use areas, the Pimisi light rail station, and green spaces. The site offers excellent sightlines and connectivity to the surrounding cityscape and natural environment, with views of the historic LeBreton Flats, aqueduct and Fleet Street pumping station, the Ottawa River, Gatineau Hills and the downtown Ottawa skyline. The OPL-LAC Joint Facility will also be located in close proximity to Chaudière Falls, a traditional sacred site for the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation and other First Nations. The site and its surrounding area and views will be important considerations for both architectural design and public art development. The facility will be positioned to maximize the site’s historic views and enhanced topography of the escarpment.

3. OPL-LAC Joint Facility Project Schedule

* Project schedule and milestones subject to change

Project Milestone Planned Completion
Architect Design contract award and commencement December 2018
Commencement of the Design Process Engagement and Consultation (DPEC) Plan January 2019
Facility design development 2019-2020
Design work completed – construction drawings tender ready Fall 2020
General Contractor services contract awarded 2021
Construction commencement 2021
Substantial Performance of construction 2024
Total completion of construction (contract) 2024
Building in service 2024
Total completion of construction (clearing contract deficiencies) 2025
LEED™ Certification 2025

4. Indigenous Art Program Opportunity

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program is seeking an experienced and highly motivated Indigenous curator or team of curators to develop and curate an Indigenous Art Program for the OPL-LAC Joint Facility. The curator will work collaboratively with the OPL-LAC Joint Facility Project Team and Indigenous stakeholders to determine a conceptual framework for Indigenous art integrations at the facility. In addition, the Indigenous Curator will work with the Architect and the Artist on Design Team for a coordinated approach to art integration at the facility. The curator must bring a high level of conceptual ability and innovation to the curation process, have a strong network of artists and art practitioners and be well versed in local and national Indigenous art practices and cultural protocols.

5. Project Vision

The Indigenous Art Program for the OPL-LAC joint facility will honour, support and showcase Indigenous art and cultures by integrating artwork by local, regional and national Indigenous artists (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) throughout the facility and/or the landscape. Including Indigenous art in and around the facility will create a welcoming and inclusive space that will represent strong and forward-thinking artists. The development and curation of the Indigenous Art Program for the OPL-LAC Joint Facility should be informed by research, best practices and engagement with Indigenous stakeholders and be planned in coordination with the Architectural Design Team. In addition, the development and curation of the Indigenous Art Program will be inclusive, be a balanced representation of multiple indigenous communities, and be sensitive to feedback from stakeholder engagement. Artists and artwork selected for the Indigenous Art Program may be procured through an open, invitational or curatorial selection process working with the Indigenous Art Advisory Committee. Multiple art opportunities in all mediums are encouraged, with an approximate overall art budget of $400,000.

6. Indigenous Curator Scope of Work

Review architectural and landscape plans to identity potential locations for art installations at the facility in coordination with the Architectural Design Team and the Artist on the Design Team;
Consult and engage with Indigenous stakeholders including members of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation, local/national Indigenous stakeholders in coordination with the Architect’s Design Process Engagement and Consultation (DPEC) Plan;
Attend and/or facilitate, meetings with OPL-LAC Project Team and stakeholders as required;
Develop an innovative curatorial approach to Indigenous art integration at the facility;
Develop a comprehensive strategy for the Indigenous Art Program that identifies objectives, sites, approaches and budgets for individual art opportunities;
Working with the Public Art Program, lead the Indigenous art procurement process including but not limited to;
Recommend procurement methods (open, invitational, curatorial) for specific opportunities;
Write Calls to Artists and solicit artists participation in selection process;
Plan and coordinate orientation workshop shortlisted artists as required;
Attend various Indigenous Art Program Advisory Committee meetings as a voting member, to curate and select artists;
Produce written progress reports and final report;
Deliver a public presentation for the community at large on the process and outcome of the Indigenous Art Program.

7. Schedule

*Schedule is subject to change
Deadline for Applications: Monday, September 9, 2019, noon E.D.T
Finalist Interviews: Thursday September 26 (in person or remotely)
Curator contracted: October 2019
Indigenous Art Program development: October 2019 – April 2020
Indigenous Art Procurement Initiated: May 2020

8. Budget

The fee for this opportunity is $50,000 in Canadian dollars plus HST and is inclusive of all costs associated with the development and curation of the Indigenous Art Program including attending meetings, consultation, travel, research, fees, etc.

9. Selection Process

The successful proponent will be selected for this opportunity through an open call process coupled with finalists’ interviews. An assessment committee comprised of City staff and professional external or internal consultants will review and evaluate the candidates according to the selection criteria and select up to five applicants for interviews.

Finalists will be invited to discuss their experience, past curatorial projects, and approaches as well as answer questions relating to working on this type of project.

The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all submissions, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise the project.

9.1 Selection Criteria

Indigenous Curators who meet the following criteria may be considered for an interview:

An established practice in Indigenous art curation;
Demonstrated previous experience developing and curating Indigenous art exhibitions, and/or public art;
Strong network of Indigenous artists;
Well versed in local and national Indigenous art practices and cultural protocols;
Strong verbal and written communication skills;
A demonstrated understanding of the project and its context;
Creative and inclusive curation and consultation methodology.

9.2 Deadline for Application – Monday, September 9, noon E.D.T

Your submission must be emailed to for the deadline. Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. All participants will be notified of the results of the initial stage of the selection process by email.

10. Submission requirements

A complete application must include the submission requirements listed below.

Support material may be written in English or French
Documents must be submitted as one PDF file
Participants must upload a complete submission to sends e-mail).
Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

10.1 Expression of Interest

Submit a maximum of two written pages explaining why you are interested in this opportunity.

What connects you and your previous work to this project?
What perspective or approach will you bring to the development and curation of the Indigenous Art Program for the OPL-LAC?
How do you propose to engage and collaborate with Indigenous stakeholders?
What is your vision for the program?
Describe your experience in developing or curating similar projects.
Describe your availability to be present in the indigenous arts community in and around Ottawa.
If applying as a team, describe your past collaborations and how you plan to work together on this project.

10. 2 Résumé

Submit a current résumé of your education, training, curatorial or consultative experience and any other experience directly relevant to this opportunity on a maximum of three pages. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If you are applying as a team, submit a separate résumé for each team member and clearly identify the lead contact for this project.

10.3 References

Contact information for two professional references who can speak to your experience on similar projects. Please ensure these references are aware that they may be contacted by the City of Ottawa as part of the evaluation process for this Expression of Interest.

11. Confidentiality of information

City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. To protect confidentiality, committee members turn in their copies of proposal materials for shredding at the end of the assessment meeting.

Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal Information in your submission is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art Policy. Personal information will only be used for evaluating your submission and administering the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Program.

12. Inquiries

Melissa Black, Public Art Officer

13. Definitions

Artist on Design Team, a separate but coordinated art project for the OPL-LAC Facility. An Artist, embedded as a contributing member of the Design Team, to integrate public art concepts early in the design.

Design Team, Architecture and/or Landscape Team, forming part of OPL-LAC Joint Facility Project. This Team is responsible for the development of the joint facility design, architecture and related landscape elements.

Design Process Engagement and Consultation (DPEC) Plan, prepared by the Architect, outlines a public engagement plan for the entirety of the project that is flexible and allows for responsiveness to the information and ideas received by various stakeholders.

Indigenous Art Advisory Committee, a committee composed of the Indigenous Curator, additional art professionals, community representatives and project representatives responsible for the arms-length art procurement process and for providing high-level guidance to the Indigenous Art Program as required.

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