The Office for Public Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, envisions a region in which the creative practices of artists are fully engaged to collaboratively shape the public realm and catalyze community-led change. OPA builds capacity for this work through civically engaged public art, artist resources, public programming, and technical assistance.

Our work is informed by four guiding principles:

  • Artists are agents of social, civic, and cultural change. We support them to work with communities.
  • Community members are highly valued collaborators with expertise in their neighborhoods. We build capacity for them to engage with artists.
  • Equity and social justice are the foundation of our work. We center equitable and just practices through staff commitments as well as in our programs, partnerships, and collaborations.
  • A successful public art landscape depends upon a thriving network of public art practitioners. We build tools and systems to support the public art ecosystem in the region.

To learn more about our projects and programs, please visit our website at opapgh.org.

Pittsburgh Creative Corps:  General Application for Spring Review
Application Deadline:  March 13, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET for spring 2023 consideration

Artist Info Sessions :



A. Summary
The Office for Public Art (OPA) and Riverlife seek artists living in southwestern Pennsylvania to be considered for the Pittsburgh Creative Corps (Corps), a group of pre-qualified artists whose work has been reviewed by a panel of artists, art and design professionals, and community stakeholders for various public art opportunities in southwest Pennsylvania. An online directory featuring Corps artist profiles is available at tinyurl.com/pcc-artist-directory to serve as a resource for public agencies, private businesses, or other organizations that seek to commission artwork in the public realm in southwestern Pennsylvania.


The Pittsburgh Creative Corps was originally designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunity to engage artists and creative workers to activate the public realm while providing economic opportunity. The Corps was designed to make the artist selection and vetting process for individual projects more equitable and time efficient, allowing the program to more quickly commission artists. Based on the success of the pilot program and increased interest in commissioning artists for opportunities to work in public space, the decision was made to continue the Corps. The Corps continues to engage a broad pool of artists in southwestern Pennsylvania for various public art opportunities that arise.

B. About the Pittsburgh Creative Corps and the Roster
The Corps is an initiative of OPA and Riverlife with funding from a variety of sources, including the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. The Corps is a coordinated effort to commission artists and other creative workers to fabricate and install public art, and create civic engagement programs throughout the Downtown neighborhood and river-adjacent spaces.

The Corps is a group of pre-qualified artists who may receive invitations for temporary and permanent public art projects managed and/or commissioned by Corps stakeholders. An online directory featuring Corps artist profiles is available at tinyurl.com/pcc-artist-directory to serve as a tool for public agencies, private businesses, or other organizations that seek to commission artwork in the public realm in southwestern Pennsylvania.

As projects are defined and funded, Corps artists may receive an invitation to indicate their interest and availability for the specific project. Corps artist(s) would then go through a simplified selection process for the potential commission, which may include an interview or submission of a paid project proposal.

OPA and Riverlife will use the Corps in the following ways:

  • As projects are identified, scoped, and budgeted, staff may identify a shortlist of artists from the Corps and invite them to indicate their interest and availability for the commission. If they are interested and available, they may be invited to participate in an interview or other selection process with project stakeholders.
  • Staff may also identify one or more Corps artists and invite them to submit a paid conceptual proposal for a project or commission that has been identified, scoped, and budgeted.
  • Staff may utilize the Corps to connect artists and others to fabrication and implementation resources.
  • The Pittsburgh Creative Corps Directory is available to public agencies, private businesses, and other organizations who seek to commission artists for projects in the public realm.
  • Staff may elect to design opportunities to support the specific development needs of Corps artists with little or no experience working in the public realm in order to expand the capabilities and experience of Corps artists.

In addition, all members of the Corps will be notified via the Office for Public Art’s Artist Opportunity List of open calls for artists that are released by OPA or Riverlife.

C. Eligibility & Review Criteria
This opportunity is open to all artists living and working in southwestern Pennsylvania, including those working in visual arts, literary, performance, and other forms of practice. Artists who identify as established public artists, early/mid career public artists, and artists whose practice is poised for an opportunity in the public realm, regardless of career level and who fulfill the review criteria below are encouraged to apply.

Artists who have previously applied to the Corps but were not accepted are encouraged to reapply.


What is our definition of public art?
At the Office for Public Art, we define public art as all art that impacts the public realm, regardless of ownership of the land on which it is located. Public art may include physical artworks, such as sculptures or murals, or other types of artist-designed activations of the public realm, such as performances, workshops, walking tours, etc.

What is our definition of the public realm?
We define the public realm as the physical space and place from building face to building face that influences the way in which we experience and inhabit the shared spaces of our city. It includes exterior spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, front yards, parks, public courtyards and plazas, and building facades. In our definition, it can also include interior spaces if those spaces are open and fully accessible to the general public. Examples of interior spaces that are part of the public realm include public libraries, public transit stations, and public buildings such as government offices.

Artists will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Past work shows a strong, consistent, and clear artistic voice
  • Experience working collaboratively, either in their artistic practice or other experience
  • Interest in working in the public realm with community members, clients, and/or stakeholders, as demonstrated in the responses to the Artist Questionnaire 
  • Strength of past work in the self-selected areas of expertise and media indicated in the application
  • Responses to the Artist Questionnaire

Inclusion in the Corps does not guarantee a commission. In addition, Riverlife and OPA may release additional open calls for artists that include artists beyond those listed on the Corps.


D. Selection Process
Twice a year, a panel of art and design professionals and community stakeholders will review application materials and select a list of pre-qualified artists for future Corps projects. Selected artists will be added to the online artist directory. A completed application is not a guarantee of selection. 


Applications submitted after March 13, 2023 at 11:59 pm ET will not be guaranteed inclusion in the spring 2023 selection review meeting. Applicants will be notified of the panel's decision in spring 2023.


E. How to Apply
Interested artists must submit an application via the electronic form fields below. Applicants must supply the information and materials in entirety for an application to be considered complete:

Artist Information:
Please provide the following:

  • Name and pronoun(s)
  • Racial and/or ethnic identity
  • Business or studio name (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • If applying as a team,  the above information must be submitted for each member (up to two others), as well as a brief description of each member's role on the team.
  • If applying as a business, the above information must be submitted for the business owners (primary contact plus up to two others).
  • Primary Website/Social Media URL
  • Secondary Website/Social Media URL (if applicable)


Artist Questionnaire
Please answer the following questions either in written form or as video or audio recording submission. The video or audio recording should be no more than four (4) minutes long. Please note that this should not be a highly produced or edited recording. The intent of this option is to provide an opportunity for individuals who feel they can represent themselves better verbally versus in writing.  

If applying as a team or business, please be sure that the key members are represented in the recording, and that their roles are indicated.

NOTE: If submitting a video or audio recording instead of a written response, you must type the words “See Recording” within the respective text fields in Submittable in order to complete your application.

1. Why do you want to be a part of the Pittsburgh Creative Corps? (100 words suggested max)

2. What does public art mean to you as part of your personal creative practice? If not currently an artist in the public realm, how might an opportunity in the public realm affect your personal creative practice? (100 words suggested max)

Tip: Keep in mind the distinction between public art and public realm, as defined within this artist call. 


3. In what ways do you work collaboratively as an artist or otherwise? Why is collaboration important to you? (100 words suggested max)

Tip: Other forms of collaboration may also include experiences working with the general public, teaching, clients, community organizing, etc. 


Additional Key Details
Applicants are asked to identify their areas of expertise and primary media. Applicants who select more than the indicated maximum will have their applications returned to them for revision. When making your selections, please keep in mind that your self-identified categories should be further demonstrated in your responses to the Artist Questionnaire and/or project/artwork samples provided in your application. 

 
1. What are your areas of expertise and artwork types? (select no more than three)

  • Community engagement and social justice
  • Digital / lighting / projection art
  • Environmental and landscape art
  • Sculptural art
  • Site-specific and integrated art
  • 2-D art, including murals, mosaic, photography, etc.
  • Literary arts, including poetry, creative writing, fiction, and non-fiction
  • Live performance, including puppetry, theater, dance, music, etc.


2. What are your primary media? (select no more than three)

  • Assemblage, including found objects, multimedia
  • Audio / sound recording
  • Carving, including wood, stone, other materials
  • Ceramic / glass
  • Digital / photography
  • Fabrication, including wood, metal, glass
  • Illustration / comics / graphic novels
  • Kinetic art
  • Landscape design
  • Metals / Jewelry
  • Murals
  • Painting / works on paper / printmaking
  • Textile / fabric / weaving
  • Site-specificity determines materials used



3. Are you a teaching artist / workshop artist?

  • Yes
  • No


4. If yes, what age range(s) or specific audience(s) do you teach?

5. Do you provide fabrication services for other artists or designers? E.g. Work for hire to implement another artist or designer’s vision.

  • Yes
  • No


6. Do you have any accreditations, certifications, notable experiences (formal or informal), or awards that are relevant to this opportunity?

  • Yes (please list, including the year received)
  • No


7.  If selected, do you grant permission for the Office for Public Art to include all of the material provided within this application in your profile as part of the online directory? The directory would include: Artist name; website (if applicable); areas of expertise and artwork types; primary media; and submitted work samples.

  • Yes
  • No


8.  If you are selected for the Corps, you will be required to submit an artist statement/biography (250 words max) and a representative artist photo, such as a headshot or other image that is representative of yourself, team, or business to be included as part of your online profile. You will have an opportunity to review the profile prior to it being published online. Choosing to not be part of the public-facing directory will NOT preclude you from being selected as a Corps artist.

  • I understand



Five (5) Project/Artwork Samples

As part of your application, you may submit up to five (5) project/artwork samples. These work samples should clearly demonstrate your experience and skills in the self-identified areas of expertise and primary media that you selected in this application. 

  • For visual work, you may submit up to three (3) jpg images to represent each sample, or one (1) video.
  • For text based work, please submit a single PDF.
  • For video and audio samples, URL links to third-party hosting sites are preferred,  but uploaded files will be accepted. Video and audio samples must be no longer than 3 minutes each.


If applying as a business or team, it is recommended that you submit samples of artwork that were created collaboratively.


Please name files using the following naming convention: Artist Last Name_Artist First Name_Name of Artwork1 (for example, “Kahlo_Frida_Self Portrait1.jpg”)


Project Sample Descriptions
Within the application form, you will be prompted to enter descriptive information for each work project sample, including the title, medium, dimensions, year, and a brief (50 word max) description of each to share any critical contextual information that is not already evident in the work sample.

References
Please provide three references. References should be affiliated with projects completed within the past five years.

F. Information Session
OPA is hosting two virtual information sessions for this opportunity on the following dates. Attendees must register in advance by clicking the meeting’s unique Zoom link below:



Upon registration you will be provided with a link to access the Zoom session. Registering with your email address helps keep this live session secure, and allows us to ensure that you receive any updates to the Call for Artists.

Artists are not required to attend an info session in order to submit an application. The presentation will be recorded and available for later viewing via our website on opapgh.org.

G. Application Assistance
Twice a week, the Office for Public Art offers in-person and virtual office hours to assist artists with application preparation prior to the submission deadline. Attending office hours is not required in order to submit an application. If interested, please follow the directions below:

  • IN-PERSON meetings are available weekly on THURSDAYS from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Our office is located in East Liberty at 224 North Euclid Avenue, Suite 206. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. You can schedule an in-person meeting using this link: https://calendly.com/opa_office_hours/in-person_30min



H. Notification of Results
Artists will be notified of the panel's decision in spring 2023.


Inclusion in the Pittsburgh Creative Corps does not guarantee a commission of artwork.
The Office for Public Art and Riverlife reserve the right not to select any of the applicants for commissions.

Pittsburgh Creative Corps:  Artist Nomination

I. Summary

The Office for Public Art (OPA) and Riverlife seek artists living in southwestern Pennsylvania to be considered for the Pittsburgh Creative Corps (Corps), a group of pre-qualified artists whose work has been reviewed by a panel of artists, art and design professionals, and community stakeholders for various public art opportunities in southwest Pennsylvania. An online directory featuring Corps artist profiles is available at tinyurl.com/pcc-artist-directory to serve as a resource for public agencies, private businesses, or other organizations that seek to commission artwork in the public realm in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Creative Corps was originally designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunity to engage artists and creative workers to activate the public realm while providing economic opportunity. The Corps was designed to make the artist selection and vetting process for individual projects more equitable and time efficient, allowing the program to more quickly commission artists. Based on the success of the pilot program and increased interest in commissioning artists for opportunities to work in public space, the decision was made to continue the Corps. The Corps continues to engage a broad pool of artists in southwestern Pennsylvania for various public art opportunities that arise.

II. About the Pittsburgh Creative Corps

The Corps is an initiative of OPA and Riverlife with funding from a variety of sources, including the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. The Corps is a coordinated effort to commission artists and other creative workers to fabricate and install public art, and create civic engagement programs throughout the Downtown neighborhood and river-adjacent spaces.

Members of the Corps are pre-qualified artists who may receive invitations for temporary and permanent public art projects managed and/or commissioned by the Corps stakeholders. An online directory featuring Corps artist profiles will be available at tinyurl.com/pcc-artist-directory  to serve as a tool for public agencies, private businesses, or other organizations that seek to commission artwork in the public realm in southwestern Pennsylvania.

As projects are defined and funded, Corps artists may receive an invitation to indicate their interest and availability for the specific project. The Corps artist(s) would then go through a simplified selection process for the potential commission, which may include an interview or submission of a paid project proposal.

OPA and Riverlife will use the Corps in the following ways:

  • As projects are identified, scoped, and budgeted, staff may identify a shortlist of artists from the Corps and invite them to indicate their interest and availability for the commission. If they are interested and available, they may be invited to participate in an interview or other selection process with project stakeholders.
  • Staff may also identify one or more Corps artists and invite them to submit a paid conceptual proposal for a project or commission that has been identified, scoped, and budgeted.
  • Staff may utilize the Corps to connect artists and others to fabrication and implementation resources.
  • The Pittsburgh Creative Corps Directory is available to public agencies, private businesses, and other organizations who seek to commission artists for projects in the public realm.
  • Staff may elect to design opportunities to support the specific development needs of Corps artists with little or no experience working in the public realm in order to expand the capabilities and experience of Corps artists.

In addition, all members of the Corps will be notified via the Office for Public Art’s Artist Opportunity List of open calls for artists that are released by OPA or Riverlife.


III. Eligibility & Review Criteria

This Pittsburgh Creative Corps is open to all artists living and working in southwestern Pennsylvania, including those working in visual arts, literary, performance, and other forms of practice. Artists who identify as established public artists, early/mid career public artists, and artists whose practice is poised for an opportunity in the public realm, regardless of career level and who fulfill the review criteria below are encouraged to apply

Artists who have previously applied to the Corps but were not accepted are encouraged to reapply.

What is our definition of public art?

At the Office for Public Art, we define public art as all art that impacts the public realm, regardless of ownership of the land on which it is located. Public art may include physical artworks, such as sculptures or murals, or other types of artist-designed activations of the public realm, such as performances, workshops, walking tours, etc.

What is our definition of the public realm?

We define the public realm as the physical space and place from building face to building face that influences the way in which we experience and inhabit the shared spaces of our city. It includes exterior spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, front yards, parks, public courtyards and plazas, and building facades. In our definition, it can also include interior spaces if those spaces are open and fully accessible to the general public. Examples of interior spaces that are part of the public realm include public libraries, public transit stations, and public buildings such as government offices.

Artists will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Past work shows a strong, consistent, and clear artistic voice
  • Experience working collaboratively, either in their artistic practice or other experience
  • Interest in working on public art and/or collaborative art projects with community members, as demonstrated in the responses to the Artist Questionnaire
  • Strength of past work in the self-selected areas of expertise and media indicated in the application
  • Responses to the Artist Questionnaire

Inclusion in the PCC does not guarantee a commission. In addition, Riverlife and OPA may release additional open calls for artists that include artists beyond those listed on the PCC Roster.

IV. Nomination and Artist Selection Process

Artist nominations are accepted on a rolling basis. The Office for Public Art will reach out to invite each nominee to submit further application materials for review. Twice a year, a panel of art and design professionals and community stakeholders will review application materials and select a list of pre-qualified artists for future Corps projects and will be added to the online Corps directory. Nominees/applicants are not guaranteed selection into the Corps.


Nominators must submit an artist nomination via the electronic form fields below:

Office for Public Art