Call for Artist Proposals: Design, Create, and Install Original Artwork Re-Using Copper

  • February 14, 2017

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AUGUSTA, ME, February 9, 2017—The Maine Arts Commission is accepting proposals until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22 from artists to re-use the copper that once sheathed the exterior of the state house dome to create public art. The resulting artwork will be installed at the Maine State House Complex in Augusta, Maine. Three interior locations and two exterior locations are identified in the project prospectus at for consideration in proposals. Total project budget is approximately $12,000 and the selected artist/s will be supplied with up to 1,000 square feet of the original copper roofing sheets. A seven-member selection committee will jury submissions for the project.

“This is an exciting opportunity for artists to re-use historic materials,” said Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director at the Maine Arts Commission. “As well as to propose a new artwork that will enrich the Capitol area.”

The copper pieces vary in size but on average are 20”x36” in varying states of patination and distress.

The copper sheathing was removed from the state house dome in the fall of 2015, when a new copper roof was applied. The roof was last redone in 1910-11, making the available sheets more than 100 years old.

The state house was designed by prominent architect Charles Bulfinch after the Maine Legislature passed an 1827 Act to establish the permanent capitol of the state in Augusta.  Construction of the state house commenced in 1829, and it was completed in January of 1832.  The original granite building featured a monumental portico and low saucer dome surmounted by a lantern. It was first expanded to the west in 1890-91, and it achieved its present appearance in 1910-11 after a major remodeling that included the addition of wings to the north and south and a tall new dome clad with a copper roof.

In addition to designing the building itself, Bulfinch drew plans for landscaping the immediate grounds.  This kidney-shaped design included two terraces with a walkway extending from the present State Street to the portico entrance.  A granite retaining wall surmounted by a wrought iron fence with dart finials was constructed at the edge of the grounds, and granite entrance posts were installed at the foot of the walkway.  Subsequent photographs of the State House show a variety of trees on the grounds, but -- with the exception of a brief period when two cannons flanked the front steps -- no objects.  Although the terraces were modified during the construction of the 1910 additions and the entrance posts were changed, the retaining wall, fence and the feeling of the original landscape design remain.

At a site so central to Maine’s history and identity, it is important that any art commissioned for such a location share in the dignity and significance of its surroundings.  It is also necessary to recognize that the many visitors to the Maine State House Complex represent widely different places of origin, walks of life, and levels of education. Combined with Maine’s traditional reputation for self-effacing competency, independence, moderation and resilience, these factors suggest that a newly commissioned work of art might well reflect some of these admirable virtues.

If you have questions about the facility, please contact Grant Pennoyer, Executive Director of the Legislative Council at

All other questions should be directed to Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director for the Maine Arts Commission, through e-mail at or via phone at 207-287-2790.

Sample pieces of the copper can be viewed in the Office of the Executive Director, Room 103 in the State House, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This special project for new public art in the capitol is in addition to the Arts Commission’s primary public art program, Percent for Art. To learn more about the Percent for Art program, including all calls for proposals and access to applications, go to

The Commission’s five-year cultural strategic plan, adopted in 2015, and information regarding funding programs and services are available at You can register at the website to add artist directory listings and events; to review the new year’s grant program guidelines and open applications; to receive the Commission’s monthly e-newsletters, containing information about grant and other opportunities and awards; and to follow the Commission on social media @MaineArts #MaineArts.


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Ryan Leighton

Maine Arts Commission
193 State Street, SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333