Ends on September 11, 2017

The RCS Community Library in Ravena is excited to announce a call for artists and design/build teams interested in developing, creating and installing a new space within the Library for playful learning for children from infants to age five. We welcome all artists and designers to apply, but specifically encourage those who work in public art, carpentry, woodworking, set design and sculpture. We encourage the organization of teams that include an artist, architect/designer, and carpenter/builder. Artists from any location are encouraged to apply. However, preference will be given to Capital Region artists and those from the surrounding area (defined by artists living within a 100-mile radius from Ravena).


Entitled “Itty Bitty RCS,” there are two goals for this space: 1) to encourage children and their caretakers to engage in play activities that support the development of executive function and early literacy skills; and 2) to strengthen a sense of place.


Itty Bitty RCS will create an environment rich in activities that promote active learning. The space will help prepare children to learn in formal academic environments by encouraging them to engage in play that supports early/emerging literacy and numeracy skills. Examples include pretend weighing and measuring, and opportunities for dramatic storytelling by young children.  Research demonstrates that caregiver engagement is key to children’s developing language and social-emotional skills. Itty Bitty RCS will encourage interaction between children and caregivers by incorporating adult - sized fixtures, such as stools, and opportunities for dialogic play amid play zones.


Examples of skills and potential implementations:

  • Letter recognition/reading
    • magnet board with letters for signs
    • signs and labels
  • Drawing/writing
    • whiteboard/magnadoodle
    • pads for taking food orders, etc.,
    • paper for “writing”/ colored paper for illustrations
    • address envelopes for post office/postcards
  • Talking/singing
    • whisper tubes/telephone
    • puppet theaters/performance space
    • dress up costumes
    • books
    • dramatic play
    • rhyme matching
    • matching images of musical instruments
  • Play that supports spatial awareness, manipulative skills and numeracy
    • building blocks
    • sorting games
    • toy telephones
    • cash register /pretend buying
    • puzzles
    • toy measuring tapes, level, scales, gears, measuring cups
    • play clock

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk is a school and library district with a population of 15,000. The district is an amalgamation of communities near the Hudson. Ravena started as a railroad town, and then later became home to one of the largest cement factories in North America, and until recent decades had a classic American Main Street. The rail yards later moved up to Selkirk. Coeymans  Landing and New Baltimore drew their livelihood from the river - the Port of Coeymans is the largest employer in  an area that historically included brickyards and mushroom farms. Coeymans Hollow and Feura Bush are more rural and agricultural. The working name for the play area is Itty Bitty RCS. This project is made possible by generous funding from the Bender Family Foundation and Senator George Amedore.


Ways that our two goals might be incorporated include but are not limited to:

  • A shipping port where a mechanical toy crane loads and unloads packages at an area designed to look like a port - a chalkboard could be included where kids could write or draw ports of call or cargo, and scales would allow kids to weigh the toy cargo.
  • A market where kids could shop for local produce, making shopping lists, weighing items and then adding them up at a cash register
  • A construction area where builders use bricks, thread together pipes, draw plans, turn gears and consult local maps



This space needs to be clearly delineated from other parts of the Library. See floor plan and pictures of current space at  www.RCScommunitylibrary.org/itty-bitty-rcs-call. We see these walls as a way to reinforce thematic elements and make the playful learning visually appealing. The rest of the Library will remain open during construction. The ideal proposal would include elements for kids, ages birth to five, but the primary focus is on the preschool age. All aspects should have broad gender appeal. We have a budget of $20,000, inclusive, and the dedicated space will be up to 700 sq. ft.



Applications are due at or before 11:59pm on Monday, September 11, 2017 online at http://tinyurl.com/IttyBittyRCS.

An Open House for interested individuals is scheduled at the Library on Thursday, September 7th, 2017 from 7-8pm at 95 Main Street, Ravena, NY. Applicants are not required to attend, but strongly encouraged.

Applications must include:

  • Contact information for lead applicant
  • Resume for every team member
  • 2 letters of recommendations for team or lead applicant
  • Up to 10 representative digital images of your work
  • A written proposal (up to 1,000 words) with initial imagery to demonstrate your concepts for the space
  • Cover letter mentioning your interest in the project, experience working with team members (if applicable), familiarity with children’s play activities and/or willingness to learn, and any other information you want us to know about you and your team.



The selection committee will judge proposals on the following criteria:

·      Quality, originality, and appeal of the concept,

·      Concept’s appropriateness for the site, and

·      Artist’s proven capacity for timely completion of the project.


The selection committee will choose up to three finalists will be announced by mid-October. A small fee will be provided to finalists to prepare a public presentation in early October that will include the following:

·      Finalized images of your project (ideally rendered on the space),

·      Explanation of the concepts and materials,

·      Budget and timeline for the completion of the work.

For more information visit  www.RCScommunitylibrary.org/itty-bitty-rcs-call, or email RCS Community Library Director, Judith Wines, at director@rcscommunitylibrary.org.


Thank you in advance for your thoughtful submissions. We are eager to find the right partner for this project!



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