Courthouse Chamber Art Project-Call for Artists

Call for Artists!

Ramsey County Historical Society, on behalf of Ramsey County and the City of Saint Paul, is issuing the following call for artists to create new artwork that celebrates the people and progress of Saint Paul. There are expected to be four pieces of art created and artists will be paid $3,000 per piece.

The selection task force is unable to fully consider applications that are not submitted in English as most members are not fluent in languages other than English. Non-English speakers are encouraged to apply but they will need to secure translation services to complete their application. Thank you for your interest, we look forward to hearing from you.


Thov nqua hu cov Kws Kos Duab

Ramsey County Historical Society, sawv cev ntawm Ramsey County thiab lub Nroog Saint Paul, tau muaj kev nqua cov kws kos duab tuaj tsim cov duab kom qhia tau cov neeg ua kooj tsheej kev zoo siab thiab kev ua tau zoo hauv nroog Saint Paul. Muaj kev cia siab hais tias tsim kom tau plaub daim duab thiab yuav them cov kws kos duab $3,000 rau ib daim duab.

Cov neeg xaiv yuav tsis luj tau cov ntawv thov tuaj yog tsis xa tuaj yam siv ntaws meskas vim feem coob ntawm cov tswv cuab tsis txawj lwm hom lus dhau li ntawm lus Askiv. Cov neeg tsis txawj lus Askiv los yeej xav kom lawv xa ntawv tuaj tab sis yuav tsum nrhiav kom tau neeg txhais lus tuaj pab khij daim ntawv thov kom tiav hlo. Ua tsaug rau koj txoj kev xav los koom, peb vam thiab cia siab hais tias yuav hnov hmoo los ntawm koj.


Raadinayo Farshaxanle

Ramsey County, Historical Society oo ku hadlaya magaca Ramsey County iyo Magaalada Saint Paul, waxay soo saartay baaqa soo socda ee farshaxanada si loo abuuro farshaxan cusub oo u dabaaldega dadka iyo horumarka Saint Paul. Waxa la rajeynayaa in ay noqdaan afar qaybood oo farshaxan ah oo farshaxanleh ayaa la siin doonaa $ 3,000 garaac.

Guddiga xulashada ma awoodo in ay si buuxda u tixgeliyaan codsiyada aan lagu soo gudbin Ingiriisi, ugu badnaan xubnaha aysan ku qornayn luqadaha aan Ingiriisiga ahayn. Kuwa aan Ingiriiska ku hadlin waxaa lagu dhiirigelinayaa inay soo codsadaan, laakiin waxay u baahan doonaan inay helaan adeegyada turjubaanka si ay u buuxiyaan codsigooda. Waad ku mahadsantahay xiisahaaga, waxaan rajeyneynaa inaan kaa maqalno.


Convocatoria para artistas

La Sociedad Histórica del Condado de Ramsey, en nombre de la Ciudad de Saint Paul y del Condado de Ramsey, anuncia la convocatoria para que participen todos aquellos artistas que quieran compartir sus nuevas obras de arte en la que exalten a la comunidad y el progreso que ha tenido Saint Paul. Se seleccionaran cuatro (4) obras de arte y se les pagara a los artistas $ 3,000 por cada obra de arte.

El jurado seleccionador no podrá considerar aplicaciones que no sean enviadas completamente en ingles, debido a que la mayoría del jurado no domina otros idiomas a parte de ingles. Se les exhorta a los artistas que no dominen el idioma ingles a que apliquen, pero deberán presentar la solicitud traducida a ingles bajo sus propios medios y recursos para completar la solicitud.

Les agradecemos su interés y esperamos contar con su participación.

PDF of full Call for Artists – click to download

Call for Artists

Ramsey County Historical Society
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Council Chamber Art Project
Deadline: September 23, 2019

Artists/Artist-led teams are hereby invited to submit qualifications to be considered as finalists for the creation of new art to add to the St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse council chambers.


With this public art opportunity, RCHS seeks to diversify the voices engaged in the community’s public art presence. RCHS encourages all artists to apply. We encourage artists or teams of artists led by, or inclusive of, a person who self identifies as a person of color or Indigenous (POCI) to respond to the call for artists.

Project Scope

The goal of the project is to commission four new pieces of two-dimensional art that can be enlarged and reproduced at a larger scale for exhibition in the Council Chambers. This installation may be supplemented by the additional exhibition of the new, original artwork in the council chambers. The new artwork will be installed on a rotating basis, with two new pieces installed concurrently alongside two of the existing John Norton pieces.

  •  Artists will receive a commission of $3,000 for each piece.
  • Artists are responsible for all their material, delivery and/or transportation costs.
  • Artists will not be responsible for reproduction, framing or installation costs.
  • Original artwork created for this project will become the property of the Ramsey County Historical Society and may become part of its permanent collection.
  • Artists will retain the right to reproduce and use images/reproductions of their art.
  • RCHS anticipates hiring four artists/teams, one for each of the four opportunities.
  • Any style or technique of 2-dimensional artwork may be considered. Artwork that includes 3-D techniques, performance, music, film, installations, etc., will not be considered.

Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul reserve the right to determine if and how the new artwork is exhibited. Regardless of the determination by the County and City, RCHS intends to exhibit the original artworks at one or more locations in which it operates.

Budget: $3,000 for each piece of original art created, including all fees, materials, fabrication, transportation, delivery, etc.

– Artists will not be responsible for framing or installation costs.
– Artists will be compensated on the following schedule:

  • $750 upon awarding the commission
  • $500 upon mid-project meeting #1 in December 2019
  • $500 upon mid-project meeting #2 in February 2020
  • $1,250upon delivery of completed artwork to RCHS within the time frame as stated below.

Incomplete artwork will not be accepted. Artwork that in the determination of the task force and/or RCHS that varies considerably from the proposal by the artist may not be accepted.

The deadline of April 8, 2020 is the latest possible completion date, early completion is an option and encouraged.

Council Chamber Viewing

Appointments for viewing the Council Chamber and the existing John Norton murals are available on the following dates and times:
Friday, September 13, 2019: 11:00 am ‑ 3:00 pm
Tuesday, September 17, 2019: 3:00-7:00 pm

Reservations for viewing the Council Chamber are required.

  • To make a reservation to view the Norton murals and Council Chambers, please call RCHS at 651-222-0701 or email by Tuesday, September 10, noon.
  • Please note that you will have to go through security to enter the Courthouse.
  • Please wait at the security station to be escorted through the building.


  • Norton Mural Viewing   #1           Friday, September 13, 2019, 11:00 am ‑ 3:00 pm
  • Norton Mural Viewing #2              Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 3:00-7:00 pm
  • Proposal Deadline                            September 23, 2019 (11:59 p.m.)
  • Semi-Finalist Selected                    October 4, 2019
  • Artist Interviews                              October 6 ‑ 12, 2019
  • Finalists Selected                              October 12, 2019
  • Artists May Begin Work               October 14, 2019 – Payment One
  • Progress Check in Meeting           December 16, 2019 – Payment Two
  • Public Forum                                   Week of December 16, 2019
  • Progress Check in Meeting           February 10, 2020 – Payment Three
  • Public Forum                                   Week of February 10, 2020
  • Art Completion Deadline              April 8, 2020 – Payment Four

Considerations ‑ New Artwork:

  • The City and County have final authority to accept or reject new artwork for exhibit in the chambers. RCHS and a jurying Task Force will make recommendations to the City and County.
  • Artists will be asked to reimagine the themes represented in the original murals in a way that more accurately represents and includes the contributions of women and diverse communities.
  • Original, two-dimensional artwork will be created for the project.
  • New artwork may be in any two-dimensional style or technique that lends itself to the project goals and location.
  • If the City and County select the new artwork for exhibit in the council chamber, the selected pieces will be enlarged and reproduced for final installation.
  • Each new, original piece will be approximately 18”x60” (exact dimensions will be provided to finalists). This sizing is proportional to the Norton pieces and to the space in the council chambers.
  • The subject matter of the new commissions may be completely contemporary, or it may provide historic context, including addressing the history of Saint Paul, past and/or present diversity, community stories, etc.
  • All the original artwork created for this project will be exhibited by RCHS, in a location to be determined, regardless of selection by the City/County for inclusion in the council chambers.
  • Each of the four new pieces will be paired with an existing Norton piece to foster thought and discussion on the various perspectives on what and how progress is represented in St. Paul. It is hoped that these discussions will assist viewers in considering how our community has evolved.
  • Two new pieces and two of the existing Norton pieces will be exhibited at one time. These will rotate every six to twelve months.
  • Interpretive materials will be mounted at the base of each new piece and each existing piece to provide context and foster discussion and learning regarding the history of our community as well as the impact of how gender and ethnicity are presented in public art.
  • At least two public forums will be held to provide updates to the public and allow artists and task force members to share with, and learn from, the audiences that attend. Artists are encouraged to attend one or both of these.

Selection Process Overview

  • The Council Chamber Art Task Force established by RCHS will review applications and select up to eight artists or artist teams as finalists.
  • Selected finalists will present their proposals at in-person interviews.
  • Four artists/teams will be selected after those interviews to implement their project.
  • Finished artwork will be proposed to the City Council & Ramsey County for inclusion in the council chambers. The City Council & Ramsey County shall determine if new artwork is installed.
  • Selection as one of the artists/teams to create artwork does not guarantee installation in the chamber, however all artwork will be displayed by RCHS.


  • Applicants may be individuals or teams; each applicant or applicant team must be led by an experienced visual artist
  • Applicants must provide all required information, including providing a portfolio of previously created two-dimensional artwork for consideration by the task force
  • RCHS, Ramsey County, and City of St. Paul employees, elected officials, and board members are ineligible to apply
  • It is strongly desired that the applicants be residents of the East-metro region of Minnesota, but this is not a requirement

Required Submission Materials (in digital format only)

Please provide the following information in 12-point font; In ONE SINGLE PDF DOCUMENT:

  • Contact information for lead artist and each team member
  • Three references (contact information only) for recently completed projects
  • Up to two-page letter describing your interest in the project and your approach to the design
  • One-page biographical information and/or resume for each team member

One-page list of work samples being submittedWork Samples:

  • Please provide up to 12 separate digital images of your recent and relevant projects.
  • Each image file should not exceed 1 MB.
  • Teams are limited to 12 images maximum
  • Do not include multiple images in one file
  • Save all images as standard JPEG
  • Label each with applicant’s or team member’s full name
  • Number each image in sequence corresponding with list of work samples
  • Example: John Doe_Image1

Selection Criteria

In addition to meeting eligibility requirements, selection of finalists will be based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of letter in describing how you will approach the project.
  • Artistic merit of work samples, and appropriateness of the samples to the project
  • Ability of finalist or finalists’ team to successfully create the desired artwork based on application materials provided, within the time stated.

For finalists, design concepts presented in the interview must meet the following criteria:

  • Conveys goals and embodies the themes of the project
  • Conveys artistic excellence and has a broad appeal

Please submit all materials via email to: Robyn Priestley (
Incomplete applications may not be considered.

All materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST, Monday, September 23, 2019.

If you need clarification or further information, contact project manager Robyn Priestley at


Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) is leading an effort to add additional artwork to the council chambers in the historic St. Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse. RCHS is undertaking this effort on behalf of the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County. The project balances the historic nature of the space and the original John Norton murals with the building’s function both as a public space meant to be welcoming to all residents, and the reality that the original artwork does not achieve the goals of promoting the people and progress of St. Paul for which it was commissioned 88 years ago.

Ramsey County, the City of St. Paul, and Ramsey County Historical Society seek to add artwork to the council chambers of the City Hall/Courthouse that is welcoming and representative of our community today. This project respects the history of the building and preserves the original artwork while adding context that will foster discussion and learning about the past and present of our community.

Four new, original pieces of art will be commissioned that address the original purpose of the Norton murals and are inclusive of the diversity of our community today. The new artwork will be installed with informational statements regarding the history of the Council Chambers space, background information on the original Norton artwork, and challenges that the original artwork pose to us today.

An art selection task force has been assembled to advise RCHS and the City/County. The task force will help identify and select artists as well as advise on the informational labels that will be added.

Background regarding the original artwork:

  • Artist John Norton was one of the preeminent muralists in the United States in the 1920s and was hired by the architect of the City Hall/Courthouse to create the original murals in 1931.
  • The murals measure approximately 5 feet wide by 22 feet tall and are set in alcoves.
  • The prominence of the artist combined with the murals explicit creation for the chambers makes the artwork itself and their location in the chambers historically important and requires their preservation but does not require that they be the only artwork displayed in the space.
  • The existing Norton murals do not accurately reflect the diversity of the City/County at its establishment nor in the 1930s.
  • The 1931 goals for the original artwork included celebrating the people and progress of St. Paul. These goals remain sound as the basis for creating new artwork for the Chambers.


The overall themes that should be present in each piece of art created for this project are the People of our community and Progress in our community ‑ these may be broadly interpreted.

There are four pieces of original artwork with more specific themes. We anticipate pairing new artwork with these existing pieces. To that end we ask that artists address one or more of these themes as below in their proposal. It is not necessary that artists adhere to the same treatment of these themes in their work, but the connection should be understandable to general audiences.

  • Piece One Theme ‑ Early transportation ‑ illustrated in the existing artwork as a steamboat.
  • Piece Two Theme ‑ Voyageurs/immigrants and their relationships with indigenous people
  • Piece Three Theme ‑ Modern transportation ‑ illustrated in the existing artwork as rail travel
  • Piece Four Theme ‑ Modern industry and progress ‑ featuring labor

PDF of full Call for Artists – click to download