Sculpture Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou at San Francisco Main Library

Project Overview

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution entitled “Affirming San Francisco’s Commitment to 30% Female Representation in the Public Realm by the year 2020.” The Resolution recognizes that although 51% of the population is female, women are woefully underrepresented in sectors of public and private leadership roles, and their historical contributions are inadequately recognized in public statues and memorials. The Resolution asserts that research suggests that 30 percent is the proportion when critical mass is reached and in a group setting, the voices of the minority group become heard in their own right. There is a national movement to increase female representation in the public realm to 30 percent by the year 2020, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote.

The Resolution urges San Francisco to meet and exceed that minimum threshold of female representation by recognizing the contribution that women have made to San Francisco and the world and urges all City departments to endeavor to achieve at least 30 percent non-fiction female representation in the public realm through works of art on City property, names of streets and right-of-ways, parks, public buildings and department websites and publications.

The first of these projects has been identified as an artwork honoring Dr. Maya Angelou in recognition of her many accomplishments including breaking the color and gender barriers by becoming San Francisco’s first African American female streetcar conductor, an award-winning author and poet, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and a civil rights leader. The artwork will be located at the main branch of the San Francisco Library, which is located at 100 Larkin St.,in the Civic Center Complex, facing City Hall.

Project Description

  • The sculpture will honor Dr. Maya Angelou.
  • By honoring one of the most significant literary artists and activists of our time, the artwork will be an ever-present role model and inspiration to girls and young women.
  • Recognizing and honoring Dr. Angelou’s contribution is a means of expressing the value the City places on the contributions and achievements of all women.
  • While most of the sculptures in the City’s collection that honor individuals recognize white men, the sculpture of Dr. Maya Angelou will redress this gender imbalance by not only honoring a woman but a woman of color.

Project Budget
Finalist Honoraria:       $2,000 plus travel allowance up to $1,000 for out of town artists

Artist’s Contract: The artist’s contract for artwork will be $180,000, inclusive of all artist's fees, and associated expenses for design, structural engineering, fabrication, insurance, transportation and consultation during installation.

Installation Allowance (under a separate contract between the Commission and an art handler):  $20,000

Selection Process

Artist Selection Panels: After the application deadline, the Arts Commission staff will establish an artist qualification panel consisting of two arts professionals and one Arts Commission staff member to screen the applicants to establish the pool of artists best qualified to execute the project as evidenced by examples of past work. Review criteria will include artistic excellence as evidenced by skill in portraiture and ability to capture the spirit of the subject.

The list of qualified artists will be presented to the Dr. Maya Angelou Statue Project Selection Panel consisting of a representative of the Library Commission, a representative from the Commission on the Status of Women, an Arts Commissioner, and three outside arts professionals. The panel will identify three finalists who will be invited to develop conceptual site-specific proposals after attending an orientation session with the project team and key stakeholders. These finalists will be paid an honorarium of $2,000 plus travel reimbursement for development of a proposal.

The Dr. Maya Angelou Statue Project Selection Panel will reconvene to consider the finalists’ proposals in an interview format and will select one artist and an alternate for the project for recommendation to the Arts Commission.

Arts Commission Approval: The Artist Selection Panel’s recommendation will be submitted first to the Visual Arts Committee, a subcommittee of the Arts Commission and then to the full Arts Commission for approval.

All Arts Commission meetings and Public Art Selection Panel meetings are open to the public and are posted on the Arts Commission website at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. To check the meeting schedule for public art projects.


  • Complete application submitted prior to the application deadline. 
  • Artwork examples submitted represent the artist’s own original creative work.
  • The artist’s work reflects artistic excellence, innovation and originality, as evidenced by professional quality of craftsmanship and mastery of skills, techniques; professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communicate a unique vision or perspective. 
  • The artist’s work is judged to be appropriate to the goals of the project.
  • The artist's professional experience is adequate to meet the demands of the project. Qualifying activities would include some combination of the following: education and training as an artist, an exhibition record in museums, commercial art galleries, and/or non-profit art spaces, previous public or private commissions; participation in artist-in-residency programs, or other related activities indicative of a professional art practice.
  • The artist is available to participate in the design, approval and implementation of the project as required. 
  • Assessed ability to meet project deadlines and to perform work in a timely and professional manner.
  • Results of reference checks for project finalists.


Project Timeline

Issue RFQ November 1, 2018
Prequalifying Selection Panel Early February 2019
First Artist Selection Panel March 2019
Final Selection Panel Early July 2019
Approval of selected artist by Visual Arts Committee July 17, 2019
Approval of selected artist by
Full Commission
August 5, 2019
Artist under contract Fall 2019



How To Apply

Applications are available through SlideRoom, an online application system for calls for entry. There is no charge to artists for using SlideRoom. Please be sure to allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties can occur. Applications that are mailed, emailed, faxed or hand-delivered will not be considered. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. Application materials include:

1. Letter of Interest

  • One page maximum.
  • This should be a summary of your artistic focus and professional career, especially as your background relates to this project. Do not make a specific proposal for a new commission.

2. Resume

  • If you are applying as a team, please include your team/studio resume. If that is not available, please combine the individual resumes (one right after the other) of each team member into one document.

3. Ten images of previous work

  • SlideRoom accepts all image file types up to 5MB. Images should at least 72 dpi and no larger than 1250 x 1250 pixels
  • For team application, please indicate the lead artist for each project.

4. Image Descriptions

  • When you upload your images, SlideRoom will prompt you to fill out image descriptions. Please include the title, medium, dimensions, and year for each work. You may also include a brief statement (2 sentences maximum) about each work.

Check out our How to Apply to Calls for helpful tips on how to submit the most competitive application.

Please note that Arts Commission staff will be available to answer questions about this call until 5:00 PM (PST) on the deadline date, January 11, 2019. Please contact Craig Corpora at craig.corpora@sfgov.org or 415-252-2249

SlideRoom technical support is available Monday – Saturday by email, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (PST) support@slideroom.com.


Eligibility is open to professional, practicing artists who reside in the United States. Entries not meeting eligibility guidelines will be withdrawn from consideration.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

February 05
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

February 05
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

February 05
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

February 05
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125