Brookline Library AIR Details

Application Deadline:  April 15th, 2016
Artists notified by May 15th

Here is a PDF version of the Brookline Library AIR Details and Library Hours for your convenience.
Please direct any questions to Bonnie Bastien at


The Public Library of Brookline AIR program invites one visual artist or small artist group from the New England area to apply with a research-intensive project that will engage The Public Library of Brookline, its collection, and its patrons while utilizing the library’s reference staff as research aids.

We seek artists with an extroverted art practice and an affinity for people to create tangible interventions, activated spaces, new ways to approach the library’s collection or archives, etc. This residency program is situated in a public space, which means, while the artist’s studio is not public and the artist’s practice and privacy is to be respected whether in the studio or in the public space of the library, we do expect the artist to be comfortable and open to engaging with the patrons.  The artist will be paired with the Library Liaison from the reference staff who acts as a conduit between the artist and the library’s staff and collections. In addition, the Liaison, together with the broader reference staff, will offer research aid to the artist throughout the residency.

The artist will be required to take part in an artist talk in the beginning of the residency, an open studios event, and a closing event of the artist’s design. The artist should also feel comfortable creating programming to contextualize their work and ideas in the library for the public as it becomes necessary. While this residency intends to support experimentation and exploration of new processes, research and content directions, we will expect some amount of finished work to be produced by the end of this 5-month residency. There will be scheduled progress check-ins with the Curator and studio visits from artists and art professionals from the Greater Boston artist community as the artist sees fit.

We cannot provide living arrangements or reimbursement for transportation so applicants should be able to commute to The Public Library of Brookline easily on a regular basis. The artist will be required to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week in the Main Branch of The Public Library of Brookline.


The artist/s receive:

  • A 5 month residency:  June 15th – November 15th, 2016
  • 11’ x 27’ temperature controlled, handicap accessible, non live-in studio space (description here)
  • $4000 unrestricted funds
  • Outside critical feedback as needed
  • Research support from the Library Liaison and other library reference staff as needed
  • Use of 3 very different Public Library of Brookline branches as possible project sites
  • Access to all of The Public Library of Brookline’s collections and archives
  • Access to a long list of library assets (3D printer, piano, etc.)
  • Access to freight elevator and loading dock (size limited to internal door sizes)
  • Full kitchen and bathroom (shared)
  • Free Wifi

Eligibility and Restrictions: 

  • Artist must be available during Library Hours. The studio and public space is only available to the artist during library hours with a few small exceptions
  • Must not be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program
  • 21 years of age and older
  • No mediums that require ventilation (oil paints, solvents, fumes, spray paint, flames, etc) 

We welcome projects that propose creative interventions into the various indoor and outdoor spaces of The Public Library of Brookline and its branches in Coolidge Corner and Putterham. However, projects that use library spaces in ways that push certain rules or accepted practices may require special permissions or permits. The feasibility of interventions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to library policy and zoning law; the Library Liaison will serve as a key adviser on project feasibility throughout. Unfortunately, due to the infinite possibilities inherent in the artist’s creative process, we cannot provide specific guidelines or restrictions on the use of space; however, we will not discriminate against projects that push the boundaries of its current accepted use. We will, however, contact you if we feel your proposal is strong but would need adjustments to be made feasible.

Artist Requirements

  • 10 hr/week minimum of on-site time at one of The Public Library of Brookline branches
  • Some work must happen in the AIR studio (located in the Main Library)
  • Finished work must be evident in one way or another within the library spaces or on the library grounds
  • Artist must be willing to participate in public events described above, press events/interviews, and be open to discussing their work with library patrons when engaged (within reason)

Submission Requirements

* We strongly suggest doing site visits to the 3 library branches before preparing your proposal. If you have questions or would like to see particular items on the Assets List not accessible to the public, please contact Bonnie Bastien at *

The first 4 items below that include maximum word count limits will need to be cut-and-pasted into test boxes while all the other files can be uploaded as directed.

  • Brief concept description (250 words or fewer)
  • Project narrative (700 words or fewer) *please see note below about details to include*
  • Describe how your project is particularly suited to The Public Library of Brookline and how it will engage its associated resources. (250 or fewer)
  • Artist statement/bio (250 or fewer)
  • Resume or CV (PDF)
  • Provide any combination of work samples to sufficiently support your proposal. DO NOT use media via a website for support material. Support materials must be uploaded as part of your proposal. After uploading a file, please include the applicable prompted descriptions (title, medium, dimensions, etc.). There is room for 2-3 additional sentences if necessary.
    • Up to 10 jpeg images (no larger than 2MB each)
    • No more than 5 min worth of video pieces or excerpts
    • No more than 5 min worth of sound pieces or excerpts
  • List of possible technical needs (PDF)
  • Recommendation letter (optional) – if you choose to submit a recommendation letter, our submission service asks you to provide an email address for the person recommending you. After you submit your materials, that person will receive an email that prompts them to upload their letter to the site. Please be sure to allow for this process before the deadline.

* In the project narrative please include:

  • An explanation of what you want to investigate at The Public Library of Brookline and why.
  • What you expect to produce by the end of this 5-month residency and a description of the form/s it might take in the context of The Public Library of Brookline.
  • Describe possible public programming, collaborations with the public and/or other methods of engaging the public, and an idea of what the closing event might be.
  • Explain how the project fits the Brookline Library AIR vision.

Selection Criteria

  • Does the project engage the library, the collections, and the patrons in an innovative way?
  • Does the project make good use of the research resources of the library?
  • Does the artist have a successful history with engaging the public through their art practice?
  • Does the project promote curiosity, dialogue, and interaction within the Brookline community?
  • Is the project realistic for the residency timeframe?
  • Is the project feasible according to library policy and zoning laws?
  • Is there a proven ability to undertake projects of similar scope as evidenced by submitted material?