Gulf Gate Library Call to Artists

Application for Gulf Gate Library Project

Sarasota County Libraries, in partnership with the Friends of the Gulf Gate Library, seeks to commission a sculpture (artwork) to be located in the lobby of the Gulf Gate Library at 7112 Curtiss Avenue in Sarasota, Florida.

The sculpture should:
• Create excitement and interest in the community
• Honor and commemorate the rich history of the Library
• Celebrate the impact the Library has on the community
• Inspire people to ~
Remember the past influence of the Library
Engage in life-long learning opportunities at the Library

The willingness of the artist to learn about the history of the Gulf Gate Library and the Library’s role as a community center is integral toward developing the artwork.

The sculpture (artwork) must be durable, low maintenance, and appropriate to the designated location. The artist should take into consideration the high amount of pedestrian traffic in the Library and the light (both natural and electric) located in the space.

The artist will use reclaimed copper or copper alloy roofing strips (from former library) as the primary sculpture medium. Approximately 200 square feet of copper is available for the project; the material is in20 pieces that are 20” x 9’.
A structure from which the sculpture could hang is installed above the lobby ceiling.

The project budget is not to exceed $20,000. This includes all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to: design fee, travel, fabrication costs, documentation, transportation and installation of the work.

The project is open to all artists 18 years of age and above, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, age, military status, sexual orientation , marital status, or physical or mental abilities. Artist teams are eligible to apply, including teams of artists from multiple disciplines.

Employees of Sarasota County Government, Harvard Jolly Architects, Willis A. Smith Construction and Friends of Gulf Gate Library Board members, or their families, are not eligible to apply.

April 29, 2019 Applications Open
June 7, 2019 Applications Close
Selection Panel meets to review materials and choose finalists
Site visit by finalists
Week of June 17, 2019 Finalists interviewed
June 28, 2019 Project awarded
Beginning July 2019 Artwork installation process begins at Gulf Gate library

The Selection Panel reserves the right to change the project timeline.

Artists interested in this project must prepare and submit the following:

  1. Letter of Interest. The letter should be no more than one page in length and should explain
    the artist’s interest in the project.
  2. Current resume. If submitting as a team, a current resume should be submitted for each
    team member.
  3. Ten images of the artist’s work. Each image must be numbered, the top of the image indicated, and the artist’s name included on the image. Artists applying as a team may submit ten images of each artist’s work.
  4. Annotated image list. The image list must include the artist’s name and a brief description of each image stating title, date, medium, size, location, and if a commissioned project, the commission budget.
  5. References. A list of at least three professional references that have knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods. The list must include email addresses and telephone numbers.
  6. Optional. The artist may include up to three selections of support materials, such as reviews, news articles, and other related information.

Artists interested in being considered should submit the following materials by June 7, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. to this online application:
Application for Gulf Gate Library Project

Direct Link to Application:

*Team submission are welcome. Each member of the team must submit an individual application on which they note their team members.

A Selection Panel consisting of the following representatives will review all artist submissions and select artists to be interviewed for the commission:

  • Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County representative(s) (non-voting)
  • Gulf Gate Library Manager
  • Friends of the Gulf Gate Library representative(s)
  • Director of Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources
  • Manager, Sarasota County Capital Projects

The finalists will be invited for a site visit with representatives of the Selection Panel. Artists will have an opportunity to ask questions of a technical nature. The finalists will be asked to develop a conceptual approach for the sculpture (artwork) at the site and present the proposal, including concept, use of the copper material, size, weight, hanging requirements, details of maintenance guidelines and budget. The finalists’ proposals will be reviewed by the Selection Panel and the project will be awarded within 2-3 weeks.

The first Library in the Gulf Gate neighborhood opened in November, 1973 in a 1,500 SF storefront on Gateway Avenue, when the needs of the residential area outgrew the services provided by a weekly Bookmobile service stop in the Gulf Gate Mall parking lot. Named originally for a beloved Sarasota librarian, it was called the Betty Service Branch Library, and opened with a collection of about 4,000 volumes. In the first month, 272 patrons were registered as borrowers and over 3,000 books circulated.

The new library was so successful that it quickly outgrew the Gateway Avenue quarters, and in November 1978 moved to a double storefront on Gulf Gate Drive. One librarian, one full-time and three part-time assistants and thirty volunteers served library patrons.

Within a few years it became obvious that a larger library facility was needed. When Mr. Leslie Shoemaker donated land for a building in memory of his wife, dedicated members of the Key-Gate (Siesta Key/Gulf Gate) Library Association began fundraising, under the leadership of Association President Ann Marbut. On Dec. 5, 1983, Gulf Gate Library opened at 7112 Curtiss Avenue with three full-time professional librarians, two full-time and five part-time assistants, a large corps of community volunteers and the support of the Friends of the Gulf Gate Library (formerly Key-Gate Library Association). Subsequent additions to the library building increased the size from an initial 10,400 SF to 17,300 SF.

To keep pace with the growth of the community, the collection, robust circulation and program attendance, planning for a new Gulf Gate Library began in 2012, included on the Sarasota County Surtax project list. Numerous community meetings were held to solicit feedback on services and design for a new library.

Construction for the $7.6-million library began in June 2013, with Harvard Jolly Architects leading the design and Willis A. Smith Construction managing the building project. During construction, a temporary library service was located in the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. The two-story, 25,800 SF facility was completed in late 2014 and a record-breaking crowd of enthusiastic library supporters participated in the grand-opening on January 24, 2015.

The Gulf Gate Library is an energy-efficient, LEED Certified (Silver) facility, featuring a Learning Lab, Meeting and Study Rooms, Friends of Library Bookstore, Reading Gardens, Children’s Storytime Room, TeenZone, drive-through book return and automated check-in/sorting system.

The Library has received the following awards and recognition:

  • Florida’s Small Public Project of the Year by the U.S. Green Building Council – 2015
  • Library Journal Year in Architecture feature – 2015
  • Most Beautiful Library in Florida by TechInsider (50 “Most Beautiful” in each State) – 2016
  • SRQ Building Awards (Silver) – 2016
  • HOW International Design Annual Awards (Creative Arts) – 2016
  • Most Beautiful Library in Florida by Huffington Post – 2017
  • Most Impressive Library in Every State (Florida) – 2017

The Gulf Gate Library has served as a vital hub in the community for more than four decades. That tradition continues, with a high volume of visitors who enjoy access to the collection and technology, and participate in the variety of programs and special events. A devoted corps of volunteers assist in the day-to-day operation of the library, and the Friends of the Library organization provides generous support for programs and service enhancements.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Andrea Knies at the Arts and Cultural Alliance at 941-365-5118 x304 or

Application for Gulf Gate Library Project
Direct Link to Application: