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Tribal artists Erica Deitz, Elgin Jumper finalists for FSU student union installation

A rendering of the area in the new FSU student union where art will be displayed on the stairway wall. (Courtesy FSU)

When Florida State University reached out to contemporary artists to submit proposals for art that will be on permanent display in its new student union, Seminole artists Erica Deitz and Elgin Jumper rose to the challenge.

The open call for artists document stated “While the selection committee will consider all submissions, priority will be given to works that represent and celebrate the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s culture and history. Preference will be given to artists with Seminole ancestry.”

Seminole artist Elgin Jumper in 2019. (Photo Beverly BIdney)

On July 16, Deitz and Jumper were named finalists in the competition.

FSU asked for large-scale wall-based works, installations or murals for the under-construction student union. The winning artwork will be installed in a space by the main staircase that measures 26 feet high by 14 feet wide. FSU may choose one or more pieces for the new building.

“It’s an immense honor, to be sure, of the highest level,” Jumper wrote in an email. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. It’s wonderful to be named one of the finalists. I didn’t think I would make it this far, truth to tell.”

To apply for consideration, artists had to submit an artist statement or video, resume, links to their website and social media and 10 to 20 images of representative artwork.

Now that four finalists have been chosen – the other two are Roberto Delgado and Cecilia Lueza – the next step in the process is for the artists to submit a description of the proposed piece, up to 250 words, a sketch or rendering, a detailed budget and a timeline for completion. The final artwork is due Oct. 1 and a selection will be made by Oct. 16.

“I have several options, but I have as yet not rendered a presentable study,” Jumper wrote. “What do I have in heart and mind? I’ve been going over it, Lord knows, and I keep coming back to poetry. This piece has got to be Seminole and it’s got to have its own poetry. I believe this work calls for … Seminole poetry in its imagery; moving, uplifting, soul-stirring.”

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at