Call for Artists -- Story Room Mural


Public Library Story Room Mural 

City of West Des Moines 

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The rapidly growing community of West Des Moines recognizes the importance of quality of life which includes improvements in human development, education, health, environmental sustainability, as well as recreational amenities and social infrastructure. The City offers a wide variety of employment opportunities from retail to office to industrial. Housing options range from apartments to upscale townhomes and historic areas to new developments featuring every amenity. West Des Moines is an attractive place to live for all types of people from young adults with small children to empty nesters. So many choices for working, dining, shopping, and living are certainly part of the appeal of West Des Moines. 



Vision: The West Des Moines Public Library will promote the joy of reading, the love of learning and the sharing of ideas by providing access to information and knowledge for people of all ages. 

Mission: The West Des Moines Public Library is a relevant and integral part of the community. The Library enriches the lives of residents by providing convenient and timely access to information and ideas, by offering engaging activities and opportunities for personal and professional growth, by promoting a love of reading and learning, and by remaining responsive to the changing needs of its users. 



“Public Library Storytime Room Mural” Public Art Statement 

The West Des Moines Public Library is a busy and attractive library that is visited hundreds of thousands of times per year by residents of and visitors to the Des Moines metro area. Many of those who visit are children and their caregivers who come to browse, select, read and enjoy various library materials.  


A popular destination for library visitors is the Story Room, a cozy, enclosed space on the library’s first floor where groups of children and caregivers sit on the floor to enjoy storytime programs and other library events for young children. As part of the 2019-2021 renovation, the library is commissioning a new, roughly 200 square-foot mural for the space to update and refresh the room, with the potential to expand the mural into the wider Children’s Department outside the Story Room.  


The proposal chosen for this project will need to integrate the existing elements of the room in a pleasing manner (cabinets, digital screen, repainting the wire-suspended ceiling foam triangles to match an updated color palette, etc.). 




Selection of a finalist or finalists will be based on the following: 

  • Quality of letter of interest 

  • Quality of work samples 

  • Background and prior work experience in mural design and execution 

  • Demonstration of project understanding and ability to meet project schedule 

  • Consideration of project criteria in conceptual design proposal 


The artist’s concept, final proposal, and ultimately the final artwork will need to meet certain criteria. Artwork should: 

  • Be suitable for public viewing in a setting frequented by young children and families; 

  • Communicate to or reinforce in the viewer an appreciation of and enthusiasm for the written word, reading, books (especially children’s literature), human communication and storytelling; 

  • Create a sense of discovery, emotional connection, and wonder in young viewers; 

  • Be aesthetically pleasing, uplifting and exciting to a child’s imagination;  

  • Be free of overtly political, religious, alienating or controversial subject matter; 

  • Be appealing to and reflect a diverse and demographically varied group of viewers; 

  • Be original. 



A general budget of $30 per square foot has been allocated for this project, total budget not to exceed $6,000. 



Artist or artist team: 

  • Must have experience in art design and installation/execution of projects, especially murals; 

  • Must currently reside in Iowa or have “roots” in Iowa; 

  • Must be able to come to West Des Moines for an interview, if needed. Travel costs related to interviews will be covered by the City of West Des Moines. 



This is an open call for artists who meet the eligibility requirements. Artist’s submission materials will be reviewed by the West Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees, the Library Director and other key library staff and administration. If necessary, interviews may be conducted with selected artist/artist teams. 


Upon selection of an artist/artist team whether based solely upon submission materials or upon interviews, one artist/artist team will be commissioned to design and develop an art work design that can painted upon or otherwise permanently affixed to the walls in the Story Room of the West Des Moines Public Library. 



February 17: Call for Artists announced 

March 31: Submission deadline/proposals forwarded to Library Story Room Mural Art Working Group for review                                                                                        

April 9: Library Story Room Mural Art Working Group selects artist/artist team (schedule may be extended if interviews are conducted) 

April 20: Approval of artist contract by Library Board and City Legal Department 

May 15: Artist submits final proposal 

May 31: Library Story Room Mural Art Working Group approves final proposal 

June-July 2021: Artist and/or artist team paints mural in library building  

August 1, 2021: Project installation complete 


Schedule may be subject to change. 



In digital format only. 

Provide the following in a single PDF document (work sample JPEGs can be sent in separate files): 

  • Contact information for artist/artist team members 

  • One-page letter describing interest in project and approach to design; please include statements addressing eligibility criteria and project criteria 

  • One-page biographical information or resume for lead artist(s) (include one paragraph for each team member if artist-led team) 

  • Two artistic references (contact information only) stating artist/reference relationship 

  • Work samples: include 2-4 work samples showing projects completed within the last 5 years with up to 3 digital images of each project. Save all as standard JPEG images and label each with applicant’s full name and number in sequence with list of work samples 

  • One-page document listing all work samples. Please provide a brief description and budget for each. 

  • No more than 3 pages showing artist’s concept of the proposed mural that reflects the criteria above. (Artist’s concept to remain artist’s property during submission process.) 


Please submit all materials via email to Darryl Eschete, Library Director, at Include “Library Story Room Mural Art Work Group” in the subject line. All materials must be received by 5:00PM (CST) on March 31, 2021. 

No submissions will be accepted after this time. Receipt of submission will be acknowledged via e-mail. 


Questions regarding this Call for Artists can be directed to Darryl Eschete, Library Director, at 515-222-3409 or 

Posted on February 16, 2021