Skip to content

Imagining UNC’s Future with Art

Imagining UNC’s Future with Art

The removal of “Silent Sam” offers an opportunity to bring creativity to the forefront of our discussion as we address these questions: how do we make UNC a safe, equitable, and inclusive campus? How can we use public art to move towards a shared future? Our goal is to initiate a different kind of dialogue about UNC and engage in a sustained process of reckoning and reconciliation. What symbols, visual ideas, and experiences accurately and thoughtfully reflect our campus’s truths and paradoxes?

UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South invites artists to propose design concepts for future public art projects that envision UNC’s future. We encourage concepts that can be exhibited within the building, porch, and grounds of the Center for the Study of the American South (410 E. Franklin Street). We see public art as a vehicle for reckoning and change, a way to imagine healing, establish a common vision, and rebuild community. Silent Sam can be seen as a form of public art, but we propose that public art better represents our values when derived from a thoughtful collaborative process forged by diverse campus stakeholders. Design concepts can raise awareness about important historical figures that represent future-oriented values, symbolize the many meanings of community and solidarity, or promote constructive action and an appreciation of difference. Who or what would truly start to represent UNC as a home for all?

Call for Proposals

Participation is limited to UNC-CH students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Although these issues touch many people beyond UNC’s community, we have chosen to limit participation to those who live, work, and engage with this campus because we believe that UNC affiliates should have the most say in the future of our university. We will solicit proposals from single artists, or from teams of two or more. Public art may include murals, sculpture, installation, performance art, or some combination. Proposals must include a project description of 500 words or less, a project budget, and hand-drawn or digital sketches.  Proposals are due on January 8, 2019 via this form.

Grant funding up to $8000 will be available for individual artists or teams. Interdisciplinary teams that include both artists and non-artists will receive funding preference. Budgets should include funds for required time and materials. Selection will be made by a committee composed of UNC-affiliated artists, faculty, students, and staff, including those with expertise on the American South, studio art, public history, museum professionals, and others.  Applicants will be notified after February 8.

The collaboration and conversation entailed in this process is just as important as the final product. Grant recipients will have one year (February, 2019-February, 2020) to complete their project. Following proposal submissions in January, grant recipients and others will convene 3-4 times, quarterly, to discuss their works in progress and consult with professionals whose work aligns with their project’s themes. Selected works of art will be installed or performed at a location to be determined in Spring 2020. The available venue for these works is the grounds, porch, and interior of the Center for the Study of the American South, at the Love House and Hutchins Forum at 410 E. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Moving forward, other possibilities for exhibition may emerge, subject to campus availability and other partnerships.

To Review:

  • What values for UNC’s future do you want to envision, capture, and emulate through public art? How can we collaborate to achieve this vision?
  • Submit proposals at by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
  • UNC students, staff, faculty, and alumni are invited to participate.