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Request for Qualifications - North Carolina Artists - Durham, Orange, Wake & Chatham Counties

Ground Plane Art & Designs for the Durham SmART Corridor - Arts & Cultural District

Issue Date: March 6, 2019   Budget: $60,000  Deadline for Applications: March 27, 2019 (11:59 PM)

Project Opportunity:  The Durham SmART Initiative in partnership with the Durham Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, Downtown Durham, Inc. and the City of Durham are seeking applications from professional visual artists and graphic designers to create colorful graphic elements for 3- 5 selected streets and intersections in downtown Durham.  The street sites will encompass three distinct districts in downtown Durham’s SmART - Arts & Entertainment corridor and encourage safe pedestrian movement. The goals of this project are to:

· Build on Downtown Durham’s SmART Vision Plan and increase cultural connectivity and economic vitality in downtown Durham.

· Brand the Arts & Entertainment corridor and encourage safe pedestrian movement.

· Enhance the pedestrian experience and reflect the distinct and unique characteristics of Durham and the three districts in downtown–City Center, American Tobacco and Central Park.

Project Background: Durham is one of the North Carolina Arts Council’s eight SmART communities, demonstrating how the arts transform downtowns and build sustainable economic development. In 2015, nationally recognized landscape architect and urban designer Mikyoung Kim created an Artscape Vision Plan as a framework for a reimagined Arts & Entertainment District in Downtown Durham. The plan includes three distinct sectors—City Center, American Tobacco District and Central Park-- along a south to north corridor from Blackwell, Corcoran to Foster St.  In 2018, artist Olalekan Jeyifous created monumental art banners wrapping the Corcoran St. Parking Deck providing a vibrant and bold visual linkage from the American Tobacco District to the City Center. The current project will continue to build the artistic momentum and a sense of vibrancy for the Arts District.  

(Below - Olalekan Jeyifous, Durham In Continuum, 2018)


Community Profile: A booming city in North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle, Durham began in 1864 as a small rail depot village. Tobacco drove the early economic development of Durham; the distinctive voice of the Piedmont Blues music grew to entertain workers; and the largest black-owned insurance company in the country opened its headquarters on Parrish Street in 1906. 

Drawing on its rich and diverse history, Durham has re-imagined and repurposed its earlier tobacco and textile warehouses and prominent landmarks, to create a vibrant downtown. Since 2015, Durham has attracted more than $600 million in private development downtown including hotels and restaurants along the Arts & Entertainment district and the City of Durham has established a permanent public art program.

Selection Process and Schedule: The Selection Committee will invite three finalists for a site visit and interview. Finalists will be paid a $750 stipend to participate in community engagement activities and generate preliminary 2-D concept renderings for committee review. The selected artist will be placed under contract for a final design concept and oversight of the street painting. A professional paving vendor approved by the City of Durham Transportation Department will create scaled templates from the artist’s designs and complete the actual street painting. Contract amounts for the artist and street painting vendor will be determined at this time. 

March 6, 2019: Request for Qualifications Launch; March 27, 2019: Deadline for RFQ Submissions; April 8-15, 2019: Finalists Visit Durham/Interview: April 25, 2019: Selected Artist Notified: May, 2019: Final Design Phase; June, 2019: Fabrication and Installation

Eligibility & Submittals: This RFQ is a regional call to artists and is open to North Carolina artists working or residing in Durham, Orange, Chatham and Wake counties only. Please identify county and state of residence in your statement of interest. Applicants must be age 18 or older, and are eligible regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, military status, sexual orientation, marital status or physical ability.

Submissions will be accepted online only by March 27th at 11:59 pm EST. 

Submission materials must include: 

1) Statement of Interest: Artists should outline their: Interest in this project; experience working on comparable projects of size, scope and budget; experience working with government agencies, arts organizations, neighborhood organizations, or other relevant organizations.                                                               

2) Community Engagement: Artists should outline their experience collaborating with community members on public art projects and any proposed methods of engaging with community stakeholders and gathering input.

3) Resume (no more than 2 pages): Artists should highlight their artistic background and professional accomplishments.

4) Images: Up to ten (10) visual images of related art and design projects named and numbered to match an annotated image list; and 

5) References: Three (3) current references with current contact information, with relationship to the artist noted. 

Selection Criteria: Artists will be selected based on the following criteria, as evidenced in application materials: 

· Artistic accomplishment as demonstrated by images of previously completed artwork. 

· Demonstrated ability to create artwork that reflects the distinctive characteristics of the place and community.

· Demonstrated ability to collaborate with community stakeholders.

· Demonstrated ability to complete projects on time and within budget.

Artist Selection Committee: Representatives of the Durham SmART Resource Team, Durham Arts Council, City of Durham and Downtown Durham, Inc. will participate on the selection committee. Members have expertise in the visual arts, public art, urban design, city planning and economic development and are engaged in the cultural life and growth of Downtown Durham.

For Further Information: Contact Jean Greer, Public Art Consultant, jeanpgreer@me.com