The Bloomingtonian

Press release: Artists being sought for a public art project on traffic calming devices on 6th and 7th Street

The following press release was sent to The Bloomingtonian Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 27, 2021

For more information, please contact:  Alex Crowley, Director, Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, [email protected] or 812-349-3477.

City Issues Request for Qualifications for Near West Side Public Art ProjectBloomington, Ind. – The Near West Side Neighborhood Association (NWSNA), in collaboration with the City of Bloomington Art Commission (BAC), is issuing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an innovative street mural celebrating the diversity and history of the Near West Side.  The work will be installed on five traffic calming devices on West Sixth and West Seventh Streets (see site photographs, below).  Responses to the RFQ must be received by 5 p.m. on August 19 at [email protected], and work must be completed by October 31, 2021.  The RFQ is posted at https://bloomington.in.gov/rfp.This work of public art will be a highly visible design element that celebrates the history of the Near West Side neighborhood by referencing its history and landmarks, such as Second Baptist Church and its architect Samuel Plato, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Elks Lodge, Fairview Elementary, and Banneker School.  Themes might include LGBTQ+ Pride and visibility or the neighborhood’s Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) histories.

Funding for the project comes from a Neighborhood Improvement Grant, offered through the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND) to develop neighborhood-driven physical improvements.  The artist or artist team selected will be encouraged to incorporate public feedback on the proposed mural and to engage with the community.  The artist or artist team will receive a $1,000 artist fee; and high traffic paint, material, and equipment needed to complete the mural will be provided.  City staff, the NWSNA and the BAC will provide assistance in the execution of the project.

This RFQ does not require artists to submit actual design drawings.  However, each artist or artist team is required to include in their letter of interest a description outlining their conceptual and community-engagement approach to the project.  A selection panel comprising City staff, NWSNA and BAC members will review qualifications, including a letter of interest, conceptual and community engagement approach to the project, images of past work, and resume/vitae.

Applicants must demonstrate the following qualifications and qualities:

  • History of accomplishing successful, creative, and innovative public art projects, or showing the potential to do so.
  • Ability to understand a locale’s sense of place, and to design in a context-sensitive manner.
  • Openness to working collaboratively with the project team members and City staff and to engaging with the community
  • Possibilities for engagement in the project by volunteers of all ages.

Given the neighborhood’s demographic history, the selection panel is particularly interested in artists from minority and underrepresented communities.  Artists new to the public art process are encouraged to consider this and the City’s other public art opportunities, and will receive guidance and assistance in the execution of the project as needed.  Each application will be evaluated in accordance with the artistic quality, project goals, and process outlined above.More information about the RFQ is available at https://bloomington.in.gov/rfp.”

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