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See Viroqua – Arts Initiative

See Viroqua is an arts-focused initiative of the Viroqua Chamber Main Street, and an opportunity for six local artists to create posters that celebrate and promote Viroqua in 2021! For all the information below in PDF form, please click here: See Viroqua Application Details

Please read all information below, and then submit your online application here! Due July 31, 2021: See Viroqua Application Form


Between 1936 and 1943, the Works Projects Administration (WPA) hired out-of-work artists to produce more than 2,000 posters promoting our National Parks, local events, and public health messaging including the now iconic series of “See America” travel posters. Today, this project is considered to be one of the first US Government programs to support the arts. More than 900 posters from this period are archived at the Library of Congress, and all are in the public domain. What might a set of posters promoting Viroqua look like? And how wonderful would it be to financially support some of our local artists during this unprecedentedly difficult time?

The Commission:

• With support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Arts Wisconsin, The Viroqua Chamber Main Street seeks to commission six local artists, each of whom will create a unique poster celebrating and promoting Viroqua.
• A final set of six posters will each include the words “See Viroqua” and connect to the theme of celebrating and promoting our community.
• Each artist will be paid $1,000 upon the successful completion of their commission, no later than Friday, Sept 24th.
• The original artwork will become property of VCMS and will be displayed publicly. Print and digital reproductions will be shared freely in ways that celebrate and promote Viroqua and our creative artist community and/or to raise funds to support VCMS and future efforts like this.
• Artists will sign their pieces and wherever possible be attributed for their work. (For example, if the image was reproduced on a postcard, the artist’s information would be included on the back-side. But if the art was turned into light post banners on Main Street, there would not be name cards on each light post.)
• Local, working artists will be given special consideration in keeping with the original intent of this grant made possible by Arts Wisconsin and WEDC.
 

Timeline:

• On July 8th artists will be invited to submit a brief online application (including concept and links to work samples) by July 31st.
• The selection committee will select a shortlist of finalists and invite them to share their concept for their poster on Thurs, Aug 5th. This presentation will be open only to other finalists and the committee.
• The selection committee (weighing factors discussed below) will ultimately determine which 6 artists they will commission in 2021, but all finalists will have a chance to weigh in.
• The selected artists will meet once in early August to share their final concepts and align (if necessary and strategic)  as a group.
• The final original pieces and a digital version (print quality) will be delivered to VCMS by Friday, Sept 24th so reproductions (11×17 posters initially) can be made. Original artwork and their likenesses become property of VCMS, and artists are promptly paid $1,000 each.
• On Thursday, October 14th at 6-8pm, the original pieces will be unveiled at a public reception. Poster-sized reproductions will be available in 2021 for free, and for use in promoting Viroqua online, around town, and into the future.
 

Committee Selection factors:

• The selection committee includes Trina Erickson (Director, McIntosh Memorial Library, VCMS Board member), Larkin Breckel (Communications Coordinator, VCMS), Simon Stumpf (professional grantmaker at Ashoka, VCMS Treasurer), and Allison Sandbeck (Co-owner, Wonderstate Café, VCMS Board member). None of the committee members are professional artists.
• The Committee will review all applications to ensure fit with the program, and then select a shortlist of finalists that seem best suited for this project, at this time, and whose concepts resonate AND align best with our overall vision of 6 different posters together promoting Viroqua. Their scoring will be based on:
– Concept: does the concept celebrate and promote Viroqua?
– Quality: what is the caliber of the artwork?
– Artist: preference given to local, working artists
– Clarity and functionality: are we confident that each poster on its own and as part of the whole set, now and in the future? How well will it translate to digital and other reproductions? Could the art work as poster, but also as a promotional Facebook post, postcard, on a tote bag, or hung from a light post?
– Togetherness. How likely is this piece to contribute to a cohesive set?
• The Committee reminds artists that the final images will be widely shared and must be appropriate for viewers of all ages and all backgrounds.
 
Clarifying questions, comments, or concerns? Please contact infodesk@viroqua-wisconsin.com Note that, in fairness to all interested applicants, we can’t advise individual applicants on their proposals outside of the process outlined above.