A call to artists to apply for the opportunity to create an artwork in celebration of 175 years as an institution and commemorate the installation of the 22nd president of the University of Iowa.

Members of the 175th Anniversary Committee will manage the submission and selection process and convene a panel who will select the final artist and commissioned artwork. The selected artist will receive a material cost payment of $250.00 at the initiation of the project and a final commission payment of $750.00 at the completion of the project. The final artwork may be incorporated into the 175th anniversary celebration and the Installation ceremony of the 22nd University of Iowa president. The piece will be permanently displayed in the Division of Student Life VPSL office suite, located at 249 Iowa Memorial Union.

Medium and requirements

Applicant must be a current registered University of Iowa undergraduate, graduate, or professional student. Emerging artists are encouraged to apply.

The artwork should use fine art mediums and techniques including (but not limited to) paint, pencil, charcoal, ink, collage, screen printing, fiber art, graphic art, and/or other methods of creative expression. The piece should not be sculptural. Color palette should predominantly feature Iowa-branded colors including black, gold, grey, and white, and should avoid reds and purples. The work should be completed on a rigid substrate such as wood, canvas, plexiglass, etc. or be able to be framed when finished. The final artwork should not exceed 60 x 70 inches and should weigh under 150 lbs.


Material fee commission: $250
Artwork Commission: $750

Applications are due Monday, December 20, 2021 at 11:59pm.

The final piece should:

  • Highlight the history of the University of Iowa by featuring imagery or visual reference to the Pentacrest or other historic areas of campus
  • Be celebratory in nature to highlight the 175th anniversary
  • Capture the diversity and energy of students, faculty, and staff on campus
  • Utilize the University of Iowa colors of black and gold, while uplifting the spirit of our institution
  • Visualize our past and present, while looking forward to our future as an institution
  • Add value by visually communicating the university’s core values and inviting conversation, interaction, and reflection around the art piece

The final piece should not:

  • Include or misappropriate any IOWA trademarks such as: Herky, Tigerhawk, Block IOWA, Dome Logo, or Seal. If considering representing these marks in any way prior permission must be requested and approved by the 175th Anniversary committee.

How to apply

Please submit required materials in PDF format to: vp-student-life@uiowa.edu

  • Artist Resume
  • Three to five images of past work (attached as .jpgs in email or embedded in the PDF)
  • Two typed paragraphs of your project intent (details below)

by December 20, 2021.

Project Intent should include:

  • 1 paragraph stating your concept for this project
  • 1 paragraph stating the materials and visuals you would use to accomplish this art piece

For questions regarding this request for qualifications(RFQ) please contact:


Artists may visit the Iowa Digital Library Archives site for historical reference and imagery: digital.lib.uiowa.edu as well as view public galleries on the UI Photoshelter.


  • 12/07/21 Request for Qualifications (RFQ) shared
  • 12/20/21 Artist Application and Project Intent submission deadline 11:59 p.m.
  • 12/22/21 Final artist selected and notified
  • 12/30/21 Materials commission awarded to selected artist
  • 1/14/22 Review of artwork progression by committee with artist (in person or over zoom)
  • 1/31/22 Final artwork delivered to VPSL office suite (249 Iowa Memorial Union)
  • 2/4/22 Review of final artwork, and remaining commission paid in full to artist
  • 2/25/22 Artwork on display at the President’s Installation Ceremony

Artist selected agrees to allow use of their artwork, including photographic imagery of the final art, artist description, and artist image, in materials and in display, to represent the University of Iowa, the 175th Anniversary and the installation of the 22nd president. The University of Iowa, following final payment of commission, will own the rights to use of this artwork.

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The university also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to university facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Director, Office of Institutional Equity, the University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316, 319-335-0705 (voice), 319-335-0697 (TDD), oie@uiowa.edu

Historical background

Founded on Feb. 25, 1847, the UI is the oldest and largest university in the state. It is organized into 12 colleges and more than 200 areas of study and more than 100 graduate, doctoral, and professional programs. A member of the Association of American Universities since 1909 and the Big Ten Conference since 1899, UI is home to one of the most acclaimed academic medical centers in the country, as well as globally recognized leadership in the study and craft of writing.

From its earliest days, the University of Iowa has nurtured the creative spark of experimentation and asked what it means to be a university dedicated to learning, discovery, health and culture. We continue writing that story onward each and every day. 

As we prepare to celebrate the university’s 175th anniversary we look back on what Iowa’s founding legislators established in 1847. They envisioned an institution that would educate teachers for the new state’s schools as well as professionals for the state’s economic and cultural development. Rising from a handful of faculty, a single building, and a few dozen students in the mid-nineteenth century, the UI today is a world-class, multifaceted institution of higher learning with over 30,000 students, leading-edge research programs, world-renowned creative activity, top-ranked health care, and stellar service to the state and nation.

The University of Iowa is an institution that leads with imagination and innovation, educates with student success at its heart, serves the public with dedication and enthusiasm, and believes deeply in the centrality of diversity, equity, and inclusion.