City officials are looking for an artist to create the first significant piece of public art outside the downtown core — at the new Fire Station No. 2, along a prominent entryway into Ashland.

City officials are looking for an artist to create the first significant piece of public art outside the downtown core — at the new Fire Station No. 2, along a prominent entryway into Ashland.

The old fire station is being rebuilt at 1860 Ashland St. for up to $3 million in bonds approved by voters in 2010. One-half of 1 percent of that amount, or up to $15,000, will be used for public art.

The project is open to established, professional artists living in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho and Montana. Only artists with reviewable portfolios are eligible to apply, city officials said. Applications are due by 5 p.m. June 1 and must include conceptual drawings or scale models for the proposed artwork.

Construction on the new fire station is slated to begin in early April, with completion expected by October.

The fire station public art project is the first in a percentage-for-art program approved by the City Council in 2008, city officials said.

A selection panel separate from Ashland's Public Arts Commission will be formed to evaluate the proposals and make a recommendation to the council for final approval.

The selected artist will work with the community, city staff and the arts commission to create a site-specific, durable piece to be installed outside the fire station. The piece can stand alone, be part of the building or be on a low concrete wall that bears the station's name.

City officials are encouraging artists whose work addresses sustainability issues to enter the competition.

Work also can be colorful or whimsical, showcase Ashland's identity and history, reflect community values or highlight Ashland Fire & Rescue's work to make the Ashland watershed more fire-resilient, among other suggestions from city officials.

For more information on submission requirements and the fire station site, visit http://www.ashland.or.us/News.asp?NewsID=2468.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.