Batavia seeks proposals for public artwork at cemetery

Batavia is seeking proposals for a public sculpture to be located atop a newly constructed columbarium structure within the city’s west public cemetery.

The City of Batavia is seeking proposals from artists to create a public artwork to adorn the new columbarium at Batavia’s west cemetery along Illinois Route 31.

Competition is open to artists over 18 years old and residing in the United States.

The City has budgeted up to $40,000 for commission of the completed and installed sculpture. The actual award value, as well as timing of distribution, will be negotiated with selected the artist prior to the commission grant.

According to city officials, the sculpture work will become a woven part of the fabric of the cemetery and will remain in place for at least the next century.

“The sculpture should present a timeless design that reflects a level of reverence, honor and dignity befitting of those who rest within the cemetery,” said Gary Holm, the City’s Public Works Director.

The columbarium, a structure for interring remains behind personalized, engraved niches, was added to the west cemetery in 2021. It is visible from Rt. 31 and within steps of the cemetery’s military war memorial. The sculpture will be located atop the columbarium structure and visible from most areas of the cemetery.

Some of the criteria for artwork to be considered include:

  • Ability to withstand severe outdoor weather conditions.
  • Built from materials that are durable, low-maintenance, resistant to vandalism, and sustainable.
  • Identical artwork by the artist must not be currently installed within 50 miles of Batavia.

The winning design will be selected by a jury of art professionals. In combination with the professional review process, a public open house will be held and Batavia’s city council will solicit feedback from the judges as well as the general public. No more than 10 final candidates will be asked to provide a scale model of their work and given a $500 stipend to complete the model submission.

The scale models will be reviewed again by the jury and shown at another open house. City council members will make the final award.

Artists have until April 19  to submit initial proposals. Finalists will have until July 12 to submit their models. The winning design will be announced in late July or early August.