Davidson College Commissions Artwork and Site to Honor Enslaved and Exploited People

With a total project budget of $3,000,000–$4,000,000, the college is requesting qualifications to create a commemorative space integrating art and landscape on its North Carolina campus.by Davidson College

Yinka Shonibare CBE, “Wind Sculpture(SG) I” (2018), steel armature with hand painted fiberglass resin cast, 275.5 x 100 x 78.75 inches. Installed on the campus of Davidson College, near the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Building, Davidson, NC. This work is part of the college’s growing collection of outdoor campus sculptures. Gift of Patricia A. Rodgers in memory of her husband B.D. Rodgers.

Founded in the American South in 1837, less than 30 years before the Civil War, Davidson College recognizes our participation in slavery and responsibility for the pain and mistreatment of enslaved and exploited people throughout our history. In 2017, we created a Commission on Race and Slavery to study our institution’s ties to enslavement and the exploitation of labor, which presented its findings in August of 2020.

In order to confront the wounds and blind spots of our past and be true to our Statement of Purpose, we formed a Special Committee on Commemoration. The committee engaged the Davidson College community for recommendations on a visible and appropriate commemoration, including commissioning a work of art to not only honor the contributions of enslaved people and exploited laborers, but to reflect more deeply on the lives affected and ground the college in our commitment to a just and humane future.

Project Overview & Goals

Davidson College is accepting qualifications from individuals or teams that include professional artist(s) in partnership with landscape architects, architects, and/or engineers to create a commemorative project that integrates artwork and landscape.

The design should achieve a cohesive aesthetic experience that is distinguished from, yet sensitive to, the site, character, architecture, and sculpture around the college’s campus. It will incorporate archival information to acknowledge individuals and family legacies. The work will recognize the atrocities, injustices, omissions, and blind spots of the past while also imagining a new future, focusing on perseverance, triumph, and the valuable contributions of those being commemorated.

A committee of representatives from the college will award three finalists $10,000 each to develop pre-proposals. One selected finalist will be asked to create a permanent, interactive space and artwork sited at a prominent location on the Davidson College campus, determined by the Special Committee on Commemoration.

The total budget for the project is estimated to be $3,000,000–$4,000,000.

Requests for Qualifications are due January 7, 2022.

To learn more, visit davidsoncollegeartgalleries.org.


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