Request for Proposal: Artist-In-Residence

April 11, 2023

Categories Uncategorized

Nicholas Aaron Aitken
Artist-In-Residence (NAA-AIR) at Forsyth School

Project Budget: $5K
RFP Deadline: May 1, 2023
Notification of Selection: May 12, 2023

Seeking an artist or artist team to create (and, if applicable, install) artwork in any media at Forsyth School. The project shall be produced under the aegis of the school’s art instructor and generated in collaboration with roughly 45 fifth grade students (10-11 year olds), approximately 15 at a time, over a period of five to ten hours that are broken into weekly or bi-weekly class periods during the Fall of 2023.


Forsyth School is an independent elementary educational institution for children ages 2 through 12. Located in the Wydown-Forsyth Historic District of St. Louis, Forsyth’s campus consists of six historic homes spread across a 4.5 acre campus. Walkable resources include Forest Park and Washington University. Students’ education is enriched by the school’s unique campus, location, and commitment to the natural world.

In 2010, the family of Nicholas Aaron Aitken – a gifted artist who attended Forsyth School – established the Nicholas Aaron Aitken Artist-In-Residence Program (NAA-AIR) to honor Nick’s memory through the arts at Forsyth.

The purpose of the program is to expose Forsyth students to arts and culture through hands-on projects with visiting artists. The program enhances Forsyth’s curriculum and the goals of its art program.

Each year’s project is featured on the Forsyth website, in its Annual Report, on Facebook posts, and, when feasible, during an opening reception featuring the completed project(s). Projects have also been featured in Ladue News, Town & Style, and various gallery news outlets.

NAA-AIR Requirements:

The selected project will represent, reflect, inspire in its viewers, or otherwise communicate one or more of the following themes: sustainability, accessibility & inclusivity, and/or the Forsyth Honor Code.

  • Option 1, Sustainability: Forsyth’s current sustainability practices include 105 species of native plants on campus, 105 solar panels, and a faculty-led Go-Green The selected NAA-AIR project could inspire Forsyth students, faculty, staff, and visitors alike to learn more about their natural environment, our city wildlife, and to live more sustainably.
  • Option 2, Accessibility & Inclusivity: People of many ages, abilities, and identities spend their days at The community strives to be a place that is inclusive and accessible to all, and to build bridges between itself and its community. The selected NAA-AIR project could reflect the community’s shared values of accessibility and inclusivity, and to be a welcoming symbol.
  • Option 3, Honor Code: Members of the Forsyth community routinely recite the following honor code: As a member of the Forsyth School community, I will always be honest, kind, respectful, responsible, fair, and practice good sportsmanship. I will do my part to make Forsyth a special place. The selected NAA-AIR project could embody and/or encourage the tenets of its host’s Honor Code.

Example Ideas:

  • Stained glass (permanent installation in the art room or elsewhere on campus)
  • Jewelry-making
  • Ceramics (kiln on site)
  • Mural (permanent, exterior or interior)
  • Pavement or other mosaic (permanent installation, exterior or interior)
  • Encaustic
  • Free-standing sculpture, interior or exterior

Tour the Campus

Both interior and exterior images of the campus can be seen here:

To further help inform any site-specific ideas, please contact Director of Facilities, Michael Mitchell ( to schedule a campus tour.


The NAA-AIR is open to adult artists working in any media who pass a background check and have flexibility during daytime work hours (8am-3:30pm) in the Fall of 2023. Successful candidates need not be educators, but they will need to demonstrate an understanding of what is required when carrying out an art project with at least 15 students under the age of 12: planning & chunking processes, voice projection, multiple modes of communicating instructions, periodic checks for understanding, language appropriateness, patience, clarity, the ratio of talking to hands-on working, time management, especially including time to clean up, etc.

To Apply:

Please send RFP submissions in PDF format to Saaba Lutzeler: by May 1, 2023. Clearly label each element of your submission with the following headings:

  1. Name & contact information of artist(s)
  2. Resume(s)
  3. Images of previous relevant work including title, year created, media, size/scale
  4. Two references (for each artist, if applying as a team)
  5. Written project proposal including:
    • Overview of project
    • Explanation of how it represents, reflects, inspires in its viewers, or otherwise communicates themes of sustainability, accessibility & inclusivity, and/or the Forsyth Honor Code
    • List of the way(s) in which students will participate
    • Preliminary Materials/Supplies List
    • Preliminary Budget Breakdown ($5K Requests for more with written rationales will be considered.)
    • Draft of Timeline (project’s component parts and their respective estimated lengths, understanding that project creation must fall within the regular school day and Fall semester calendar. A reception can happen right away or in the Spring. Reception planning duties largely fall on the school’s Development Office, not the candidate.)
    • If proposing a permanent installation, please also include the following:
      • Preliminary Recommended Maintenance Schedule and Procedure, including Vendor List for parts, supplies, materials, etc.
      • Proposed campus location and rationale
      • Exterior Installation Specs (if applicable)

Selection Criteria 

Responses to the RFP will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Quality of artist’s past work as demonstrated in the submitted
  • Indication that artist or artist-team has expertise to undertake the project (content knowledge as indicated on resume, in materials/supplies list, and other parts of application; evidence of clear organizational and time management skills; experience working with kids, feedback from references, etc)
  • Description of how proposed artwork will address one or more desired themes stated above (sustainability, accessibility & inclusivity, and/or the Forsyth Honor Code).
  • Description of student involvement at each The more students can be involved in the generative process, the better.

Selection Process:

Each member of a 4-person committee (composed of the Forsyth Art Instructor, its Director of Facilities, and its two Division Directors) will review proposals against a rubric. After averaging the scores, conducting necessary discussions, and potentially acquiring clarifications from applicants, the committee will select the highest scoring applicant.

Ownership of Artwork

Artist(s) selected for this project are considered and herein referred to as “Consultants.” The project is referred to as the “Artwork.”

The Artwork specifically prepared for Forsyth School shall be deemed works made for hire and become the sole property of Forsyth School. The Consultant agrees that the Artwork and all rights therein are the sole and exclusive property of Forsyth School in perpetuity, including without limitation all rights under or arising from U.S. copyright law. In the event the Artwork, or any portion thereof, does not qualify or is deemed not to be work made for hire, Consultant hereby irrevocably transfers and assigns to Forsyth School all of Consultant’s right, title and interest in and to the Artwork, including without limitation, all of Consultant’s right, title and interest in the copyrights to the Artwork, including the unrestricted right to make modifications, adaptations and revisions to the Artwork and hereby waives any so-called “moral rights” with respect to the Artwork. Consultant grants to Forsyth School a royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive license to reproduce, modify and publicly display the Artwork.

Repairs and Restoration of Public Art (If Applicable)

Forsyth School shall have the sole right to determine when and if repairs and restorations to the Artwork will be made. Forsyth School shall have the right to retain the services of any person or entity to perform restoration or repair work. Forsyth School reserves the right to alter the Artwork and related site as necessitated by site and building development and planning. While it is Forsyth School’s intention to permanently retain and publicly display the Artwork, circumstances may arise that would make it necessary or prudent for Forsyth School to temporarily or permanently remove the Artwork from public display.

Former Recipients:

2010 Catherine Magel “Confluence” – a four-paneled mosaic sculpture
2011 Ron Fondaw “Teeterak” – a large adobe sculpture made with the material of the earth 2012 Cindy Tower “Seeing Ourselves” – vibrant large self-portraits on 3’ x 3’ Masonite boards 2013 Gina Alvarez “Made by Hand”- an investigation of print and book
2014 Sarah Paulsen & Cameron Fuller ”My Inner Hero”- stop-action animation 2015 Carrie Becker “It’s a Small World” – dioramas with hand-crafted elements
2016 Tom Reed “Sunrise to Sunset” – four 8-foot wide mixed media landscape panels 2017 Norleen Nosri “CommuniTEA”- teapots, cups, and bases
2018 Kevin McCoy “Our World, Our Eyes”- a reso book project
2019 Margaret Keller “The Rainbow Colors of Life Project” –motif tiles 2021 Jeremy Rabus “Skyward Reflection”-canvas paintings
2022 Ellen DeFilippo “Peace Project”-exterior labyrinth

Download the PDF of this RFP