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Art on the Block

State of the Arts

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Burlingtonians have been hearing about the downtown “super block” — roughly a square bordered by St. Paul, Main, King and Pine streets — for quite some time. The recession slowed things down, but Redstone Commercial Group’s plan for development of a “boutique” hotel incorporating the former armory at 101 Main Street remains. Architectural illustrations supplied by development manager Erik J. Hoekstra show a handsome, modern structure extending from the historic, 1904 armory building (which music fans of a certain age fondly recall as the site of the nightclub Hunt’s) and east into what is now a parking lot.

Those drawings depict the urban infill quite nicely. But they can’t show one element that perhaps has not even been imagined yet: an outdoor sculpture.

Burlington City Arts’ Art in Public Places program recently issued a request for proposals from artists for a work of art that would occupy a recessed pocket park on St. Paul Street, between the Hinds Lofts and the new building, and across the street from Pizzeria Verità. The dark-brick wall behind the art site will be 20 by 20 feet, the proposal request explains, and there will be landscaping elements such as ornamental grasses in the space as well.

BCA assistant director Sara Katz notes that the artwork might go in any direction, creatively speaking, but that the sculpture must be durable and fit with the size and aesthetic of the space. Oh, and the budget cannot exceed $10,000. In addition, suggests the written request, the work should be tamper and graffiti-resistant, easy to maintain, and unclimbable. So not a tree, people.

Hoekstra says the entire project should be completed by spring of 2014. Proposals for the public-art component are due by October 19. BCA will convene a review panel later this month. Whoever is chosen to create the piece can look forward — as can the public — to its debut some 18 months hence, along with the transformation of an entire city block.

Artists interested in submitting proposals should contact BCA by October 19. Info and downloadable application are available at burlingtoncityarts.org/Art_in_Public_Places.

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