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Commission seeks artists to create original work for new Durham School

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Commission seeks artists to create original work for new Durham School

DURHAM — The Maine Arts Commission is inviting artists from all over the country to submit proposals to design, create and install artwork at the Durham Community School as part of the public artwork program Percent for Art.

The artists selected will receive a budget of up to $44,000 to create original artwork inside and on the exterior of the school.

Alison Ferris of the commission said the Durham School Percent for Art project is one of about 15 throughout the state.

"This project is about creating jobs for artists," she said. "Everybody benefits."

She said the projects usually draw applications from about 40 to 50 artists.

Inside the school, artists can create either suspended or slender freestanding artwork in a two-story stairwell behind the octagonal main entrance. There will also be three common areas with wall space that could be used.

There will be a place for work outdoors on a grassy area between two entrances, but artists are warned of the possibility of deep snow and snow removal in the area. Artists will have to consider durability, winter conditions and the possibility of vandalism.

Ferris said a five-member Percent for Art committee will select the artist or artist teams chosen to provide the art: two represent the school, one is from the architectural firm, and two from the local artist community representing the Maine Art Council.

Will Pidden, Durham School principal, is on the selection committee. He said the new school will house students from kindergarten through eighth grade and will serve as a central gathering place for the community, hosting town meetings, youth gatherings, group meetings and adult athletics. He said the more public areas of the school – the library, gymnasium, and art rooms – can be heated or cooled and available for community use, while classrooms can be closed off.

"The school has served as a central location in the community," he said. "It was not that long ago there were one-room school houses. The artwork selected could reflect the historical significance and also a sense of transition."

Artists interested in applying for the project can contact Ferris at 287-2710. To visit the site, contact the Durham Elementary School at 353-9333 to make an appointment. For those with questions about the architectural elements of the site, contact Anthony Roy of Harriman Associates in Auburn.

The deadline for submission is Friday, April 16. For specific requirements, visit the Maine Arts Commission Web site for details.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net