First Amendment Museum Fountain Request for Qualifications

  • March 08, 2021

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First Amendment Museum Fountain Request for Qualifications


The First Amendment Museum is seeking artists who have a significant connection to Maine to submit materials that demonstrate their qualification to design, create and install an outdoor fountain, and advise on its surrounding landscape, on the grounds of the First Amendment Museum in the Capitol Historic District of Augusta, Maine. A selection committee will consider submitted qualifications and invite design proposals from those artists they deem best qualified. Please submit qualifications by April 1, 2021. The estimated installation of the fountain is spring/summer 2023.


The First Amendment Museum (FAM) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit museum located in the historic home of Guy P. Gannett, one of Maine’s most celebrated publishers and free press champions. Located at 184 State Street and anchoring the northern entrance to Augusta’s Capitol Historic District, the 1911.

Mediterranean Revival home is an architectural gem in Kennebec County and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. FAM was formed in 2015 with the intention of turning the Gannett House into a museum to help people understand — and inspire people to live — their five First Amendment freedoms - the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and freedom to petition. FAM believes that the freedoms protected by the First Amendment are the cornerstone of a strong and vibrant democracy. We want Americans to live their five First Amendment freedoms, so we emphasize experiential learning in our exhibits and programming. We envision a nation of individuals who are informed, active, and engaged in their commitment to upholding the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. The fall of 2021 will mark the beginning of a multi-year effort to transform the historic Gannett House into a major destination. The project will include significant restoration work on the historic house and garage, as well as construction of a 5,000 square foot modern addition to the home, new permanent exhibitions throughout the house, and sitework that will transform the property into a park-like setting. The Museum’s leadership and Board has developed these plans with a team of consultants including architects, engineers, landscape designers, historic preservationists, museum education consultants, and exhibition designers. The fountain will play a key role in the landscape design, being the preeminent fixture of the south lawn between the museum and the Blaine House, Maine’s Governor’s residence. Landscape design of the area surrounding the fountain will be done in consultation with the artist. We anticipate the fountain area to be a reflective space, where visitors can take a moment to themselves to process what they’ve learned during their visit. The fountain will be the focus of the view from the newly restored sunroom on the south side of the house which is likely to house an exhibit focused on religious liberty, as well as from numerous other second-story windows in both the museum and the Blaine House. Visitors will be able to access the fountain directly from the sunroom, as well as from numerous directions outside.

In its original 1911 form, the fountain was a tall (7-8 feet high) classical-revival piece incorporating a 6 feet wide round cement basin at ground level, inside of which sat a column capped by a decorative basin, the basin surmounted by a seated cherub from which the water flowed. Today the original cement basin is still in place and Maine’s Historic Preservation Commission has requested it be incorporated into the new fountain’s design, or be replaced in-kind. They have also requested the design should reflect the proportions of the historic fountain, in terms of width and height, though not in style. Rather, the museum envisions the new fountain to be non-objective and to have an approachable, organic, quieting, and thoughtful feel, reflective of Maine’s natural settings and largely composed from Maine’s natural resources. While it is not intended to be an interpretive element with incorporated text or images, if the fountain reflected the museum’s mission in some way, it would be a plus. The fountain’s design, function, and maintenance should take Maine’s weather into consideration, as well as the museum’s visitation. ADA access to the fountain is required, and newly installed underground running water and power will be available at the site.

Overview of the future FAM building, with the fountain in the southeast of the lawn.

Sketch from landscape designer to show the location of the fountain next to the sunroom access point.

Image showing the original base of the fountain, looking southwest to the Capitol dome - the Blaine House is directly behind the overgrown arbor vitae, which we expect will be replaced by a new privacy fence and plantings soon.

Photos of the original fountain, c. 1920s. Architecual rendering of the entire sitework, including the site of the fountain. 

2018 overhead view of the building and yard, including the fountain base.


If you have questions or would like to visit the location (site visits are encouraged), please contact Deborah Williams at dwilliams@ SELECTION PROCESS The First Amendment Museum selection committee of five voting members will jury both the qualifications and the subsequent design proposals for the project. Artists selected to make final design proposals will receive a $750.00 fee for their effort. Final proposals will include detailed models, drawings, renderings, samples of work and/or materials depending on the nature of the proposal, as well as expected budgets. All finalists will present their proposals to the committee in person (COVID-allowing).


All professional artists who have a significant connection to Maine may apply. Staff and board of the First Amendment Museums, members of the selection committee, and their immediate families are ineligible. The project is open to all artists age 18 and over, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical disabilities. Artist teams are eligible to apply, including teams of artists from multiple disciplines. DEADLINE April 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM is the deadline for submission of qualifications. Materials received after this date may be excluded from consideration. MATERIALS REQUIRED IN QUALIFICATIONS Materials must be submitted online to Your proposal must include, in one single PDF:

1. A current concise resume for participating artist(s) 2. A written narrative which includes: - A description of your connection to Maine - A description of your past work, including detailing a selection of relevant projects and how you conceptualized and accomplished them: - Please provide digital images of the specified work, as well as their titles, mediums, sizes, locations, and budgets, as well as contact information for the client the work was done for. - Please limit the number of projects you reference to 5 - Please limit your narrative to 5 pages (not counting images).If an artist team or artist organization applies, they may submit only five project descriptions for all artists.

Name the pdf with your name and the words ‘FAM fountain qualifications’: JohnDoe_ FAM_Fountain_Qualifications.pdf. E-mail PDF to  dwilliams@firstamendmentmuseum. org. In the email subject line, please write: FAM Fountain Qualifications.


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Julie Horn

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333