PPL Announces Open Call for Proposals for 2017 Creative Fellowship



PROVIDENCE PUBLIC LIBRARY 2017 Creative Fellowship

As part of the 2017 exhibition “On the Table,” Providence Public Library (PPL) is accepting proposals from local artists to create food-themed wallpaper to be displayed near the Library’s entrance. (We are interpreting “wallpaper” loosely; the artist may produce a repeat pattern, mural, graffiti, printed fabric, etc., but the product must be two-dimensional and able to be mounted on large jointed panels.)

This project will be funded through our Special Collections Creative Fellowship program.

About the Exhibition

“On the Table” is part of a library-wide, food-themed exhibition and program series, partnering with various organizations throughout the state of Rhode Island to stimulate conversations around food and culture.

“On the Table” will focus on the experience of dining, examining changes in American food culture through the lens of table settings. Exhibition materials will include historical books, prints, and artifacts from PPL’s Special Collections, as well as items on loan from local libraries and cultural institutions. These will be on display from March - June 2017.

About the Creative Fellowship

Beginning with the first annual exhibition and program series in 2014, Providence Public Library has sponsored an annual Creative Fellowship, wherein a local artist creates new work inspired by materials in the Library’s Special Collections. In addition to new work, a successful creative fellowship results in innovative, engaging programming, and measurable instances of engagement and learning both on the part of the fellow and on the part of other community members.

Read more about Special Collections at http://www.provlib.org/spc-collections, or drop in to our open hours on Tuesdays 10 am - 1 pm or Wednesdays 3-7 pm to learn more about our holdings.

Creative Fellowship 2017

The Creative Fellowship normally runs for the duration of the associated exhibit. However, during the Library's 2017 exhibition, PPL will be undergoing extensive building renovations, which likely will result in restrictions on the use of our space and our collections. Therefore, the 2017 Fellowship will involve research and production preceding the exhibition opening, with physical products (wallpaper) on display during Spring 2017, as well as programming presented during that time. (See “Timeline” section for more information.)  

The fellow will perform creative research in Special Collections, using images from the collection as source material and/or inspiration. The fellow then will create an original two-dimensional surface design (i.e. wallpaper) related to the 2017 exhibition theme of Food and Dining.

Wallpaper will be mounted and displayed on large (4’ x 8’) panels in a high-traffic room inside the Library’s entrance. This room also will feature a projected silent film, created by a member of the library staff, with images of people dining and celebrating with food in Rhode Island.

As the wallpaper will be affixed to movable panels, it will not be returned to the artist at the close of the exhibition.

Fellowship Products

  • A minimum of 8’ x 8’ of wallpaper or other 2-dimensional product; maximum dimensions based on the accepted proposal(s) and the number of applicants

  • Documentation of research and production process for library social media

  • Public printing demonstration, presentation, or talk; format based on the fellow’s interests and abilities  

  • Archival print of at least 11” x 17”, representative of Creative Fellow’s wallpaper or surface design, to be added to the library’s permanent collections

Fellowship Amount

The 2017 Creative Fellowship will offer a stipend of $750, plus up to $100 reimbursable for supplies (paper, ink, paint, etc).


June 30, 2016: Applications and supporting materials are due by 5 p.m.

July 15, 2016: the selected Creative Fellow, as well as other applicants, will receive notification.

July 2016 - September 2016: Creative Fellow performs research in PPL’s Special Collections.

September 2016 - December 2016: Using research materials as inspiration, fellow designs a surface design or other 2-dimensional image.

January 13, 2017: Final 2-dimensional product must be delivered to the Library by this date, leaving sufficient time for mounting and installation before the opening of the overall exhibition.

March 2017 - June 2017: Wallpaper is on display in the Library. During this time period, the Creative Fellow will give a public printing demonstration, presentation, or talk.


Application is open to any Rhode Island resident 16 years of age or older.

How to Apply

All proposals must be submitted electronically by the end of the business day on June 30, 2016. Applications may be emailed to


A complete application consists of the following:

⬜ proposal in body of email

⬜ 3-6 work samples in JPG format as email attachments

⬜ description of experience in PDF format as email attachment

⬜ short artist biography in PDF format as email attachment

Proposal: The written proposal should describe the format and size of the applicant’s potential wallpaper or other surface design project. (For example: would it feature a single large-scale image, a repeat pattern, words, images, or photographs? Would it be hand-painted, screen printed, digitally printed, spray painted, sewn, or laser-cut? Would it span more than two 4’ x 8’ panels?)

Work samples: Please submit 3-6 photos showing representative examples of your two-dimensional artwork (paintings, prints, murals, wallpaper, fabric, etc.).

Description of experience: A creative résumé or written narrative of the applicant’s knowledge and experience in the applicable media is required.

Artist biography: Please submit a short artist biography to help us understand you, your context, your approach, and your inspiration.

Review Process

The 2017 Creative Fellow will be selected based on the quality of work samples; the applicant’s demonstrated ability to create large-scale artwork, prints, surface design, murals, or repeat patterns; the potential of the proposed project to be accessible and interesting to a diverse audience; and the possible connections between the proposed project and the exhibition theme.