REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
Environment, Health, and Public Art Initiative, Pittsburgh, PA
DEADLINE: Monday, April 29, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST
DOWNLOAD FULL CALL: Click here.
BUDGET: $35,000


Summary
The Office of Public Art is launching a one-year pilot program that partners artists with organizations that have identified environmental health issues as topics of concern and advocacy. Artists are invited to apply to participate in this program to collaboratively develop temporary works of public art with these organizations.

These artworks will result from an in-depth collaboration between the selected artists and environmental health and advocacy organizations. The resulting works will be a catalyst to do one or more of the following: increase awareness of key environmental issues relating to air/water quality and lead toxicity; increase advocacy by members of the public about these issues in our region; develop tools that can be utilized beyond the life of the project to continue to build awareness and advocacy for the issues explored in the artwork; and increase visibility of and advocacy for environmental impacts on at-risk communities and susceptible populations.

These public artworks are expected to be present in the community served by each organization for 1-2 years. The exact vision, form, location, and materials for the project will be determined by the artist in collaboration with the organization.

Each artwork has a total budget of $35,000, which includes an artist fee for design and project management of $7,000.


About
The Office of Public Art is launching a one-year pilot program that partners three artists with organizations that have identified environmental health issues as topics of concern and advocacy.

The selected organizations are:

Center for Civic Arts in partnership with Nine Mile Run Watershed Association: In partnership, Center for Civic Arts (CCA) and Nine Mile Run Watershed Association (NMRWA) will work with an artist to bring attention to environmental issues such as the emission pollutants in the air that we breathe and in the water that we drink, with special emphasis on the transit corridor cutting through eastern Pittsburgh and neighboring communities. These pollutants are invisible challenges that too many citizens find incomprehensible until they can somehow see, smell, and understand these silent causes of so many health issues they may experience. 

CCA and NMRWA’s goal is to raise awareness and advocacy through public art about emission pollutants from heavy vehicular traffic and industry in the eastern Pittsburgh region, focusing on the transit corridor through Wilkinsburg and the impact on surrounding communities.

Grow Pittsburgh: There is a legacy of industrial pollution, disinvestment, and inequity in this region that manifests in the land and soil through lead contamination, blight, and residential segregation. Community gardening is one way to revitalize blighted property, remediate soil, and engage neighbors in collective effort. There are over 125 community gardens in Allegheny County that engage thousands of people and can grow hundreds of tons of food. Community gardens are gathering spaces for neighbors to engage in conversation, cross-cultural learning and shared work. By improving the health of the land and soil we can improve the health of people and communities.

Grow Pittsburgh’s goal for the artist collaboration is to advocate for healthy land and healthy communities while raising awareness of lead and heavy metals contamination in our soils and our neighborhoods. 

North Braddock Residents For Our Future: The main focus of the work of North Braddock Residents For Our Future (NBRFOF) since October 2017, has been the gathering and dissemination of information related to the proposed unconventional gas wells by Merrion Oil and Gas at Edgar Thomson Works. Due to the lack of transparency of the oil and gas industry, as well as the lack of information shared by the municipalities involved in the zoning, permitting, and planning of the proposed well pads on property owned by United States Steel and the railroad, this has been an incredible challenge. 

NBRFOF’s goal for this artist collaboration is to promote community health and clean air for our residents, while fighting unconventional gas drilling (commonly known as “fracking”) and other sources of excessive pollution in this Environmental Justice area. 

These organizations will serve on the selection panel in addition to arts professionals, Office of Public Art staff, and Advisory Committee representatives from the Breathe Project, Green Building Alliance, Neighborhood Allies, and regional environmental advocacy organizations.

Once each organization is teamed with an artist, the artist will work with this organization, its stakeholders, and the community members it serves to develop a proposal for the design and implementation of a temporary public art project. The resulting work of art will be a catalyst to do one or more of the following: increase awareness of key environmental issues relating to air/water quality and lead toxicity; increase advocacy by members of the public about these issues in our region; develop tools that can be utilized beyond the life of the project to continue to build awareness and advocacy for the issues explored in the artwork; and increase visibility of and advocacy for environmental impacts on at-risk communities and susceptible populations.

Temporary artworks are expected to be present in the community for 1-2 years. Please note that the purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity and funding for environmental health advocacy organizations and artists to collaborate on developing new ideas for temporary works of art. It is not a funding stream to implement existing plans or concepts for specific works of art.

The selected organizations and the selected artists will enter into a contract with the Office of Public Art.

This program is being supported by generous funding from The Heinz Endowments.
  

Program Structure

A project manager from OPA will be assigned to each team. Working in collaboration with the project manager, artists and organizations will acquire and refine skills to successfully implement temporary public art projects, including design development, evaluation methods, and knowledge of best practices. OPA will provide contracting services, work with the team to develop budgets, and assist with permitting and other approvals as necessary.

The program will also be supported by an Advisory Committee, which includes staff from the Breathe Project, the Green Building Alliance, Neighborhood Allies, and regional environmental advocacy organizations.

Teams will participate in bi-monthly program cohort meetings at which the different collaborations share their project development and exchange ideas. Members from the program’s Advisory Committee will also participate in these meetings.


Budget
Each artwork has a total budget of $35,000, which includes an artist fee for design and project management of $7,000.


Eligibility and Criteria
We are seeking visual artists or teams that include a visual artist. There are no residency requirements for this opportunity; however, please note that this program requires significant community participation.

Artists will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Aesthetic quality of previous work
  • Experience working collaboratively
  • Experience working in the public realm
  • Quality and completeness of application materials


 Selection Process

The Office of Public Art is facilitating the artist selection process for this project. Qualifications submitted through this RFQ will be reviewed by a selection committee. A limited number of artists will be invited for an interview. Only one artist or artist team will be chosen for each organization.

During the interview, artists will discuss their past work, their ability to work on the project, their interest in this particular project, and their experiences with collaboration with organizations or communities. Artists who are asked to interview for the project will not be asked to develop a model or proposal for the interview. OPA may check references to assist in the evaluation of applicants’ qualifications.

Artists may interview with multiple organizations, but can only be chosen for one project. Artists interviewing with multiple organizations may be asked to rank their preferences at the time of the interviews. 

Should the selection committee determine that none of the artists presented are the right match for the commission, the selection committee may elect to choose an artist via an invitational process.


  

Project Timeline 

Week of March 4,   2019                        Artist Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Released

March 26, 2019,   6:00 – 7:00 PM        Artist   Information Session, GPAC, 810 Penn Avenue, 7th Floor,  Pittsburgh, PA 15222

April 29, 2019,   11:59 PM EST               Deadline for Artist RFQ

Mid-May 2019                                         Artist selection panel meeting to review RFQs

Late May 2019                                        Artist interviews / selection of participating artists

Early June 2019                                      Contracts completed with Office of Public Art

June – September   2019                      Conceptual Development

October 2019 –   April 2020                 Final Design and Implementation


This timeline is subject to change without notice.


Artist Information Session
The Office of Public Art will host an information session for interested artists about the RFQ on the following date and time:

Tuesday, March 26, 6:00 - 7:00 PM

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

810 Penn Avenue, 7th floor

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

At this session, the Office of Public Art will discuss the application process and respond to questions. You are not required to attend this session in order to submit an application.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can also join the meeting via Zoom, an online meeting platform. To join the meeting via Zoom, go to tinyurl.com/OPA-zoom.

Partners

About Center for Civic Arts and Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

Center for Civic Arts is a community-based arts organization that supports artistic citizens and public art enterprises that bring forth ideas about our lives as a way to know, understand, gather and act.

Founded in 2001, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association restores and protects its watershed ecosystem, while working regionally to support and implement resilient solutions for a healthy urban environment. NMRWA educates young people and adults about environmental problems, provides citizens and elected officials with the tools to make positive change, and advocates for smarter policy choices through the Clean Rivers Campaign, the Our Water Campaign, and other regional forums.

About Grow Pittsburgh

At Grow Pittsburgh we believe that everyone in our city and region should have the opportunity to grow and eat local, healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. We make gardening accessible for home, school, and community gardeners and urban farmers. Our community gardening program works with community leaders, neighbors, and partner organizations throughout Allegheny County, both by helping build new gardens and by supporting existing gardens.

About North Braddock Residents For Our Future

North Braddock Residents For Our Future is an all volunteer, grassroots group of residents organized to promote community health and clean air, and fight unconventional gas drilling in their community. They came together in 2014 to resist proposed unconventional gas wells at the Grandview Golf Course, North Braddock, Pennsylvania. Working closely with North Braddock council members, residents and business owners, they were able to defeat the placement of unconventional gas wells at Grandview Golf Course through zoning changes. They stepped up their efforts in 2017 to resist Merrion Oil and Gas’s newly proposed unconventional gas wells at United States Steel (USS) Edgar Thomson Works (ET Works) and are currently engaged in this resistance.

About Office of Public Art

Office of Public Art is the leading agent and advocate for public art in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Founded in 2005, we serve communities and artists throughout the region by providing public art education, commissions, project management, artist selection, and artist residencies in the public realm. We collaborate with individuals and organizations in both the public and private sector.


How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted electronically through online application form below. If you have questions, please Contact Divya Rao Heffley of the Office of Public Art at 412-391-2060 x 250 or at dheffley@pittsburghartscouncil.org

For questions about the application process, contact Kahmeela Friedson at the Office of Public Art at 412-391-2060 x 247 or at kfriedson@pittsburghartscouncil.org.

Do not contact Center for Civic Arts, Grow Pittsburgh, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, or North Braddock Residents For Our Future about this opportunity.


PLEASE READ THE FULL CALL BEFORE APPLYING. 

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
City Steps Activation Initiative with BikePGH, Pittsburgh, PA
DEADLINE: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST
DOWNLOAD FULL CALL: Download here.
BUDGET: Artist Fee: $3,500; Implementation Budget: $15,000
 

In fall 2019, Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) and the Office of Public Art (OPA) will kickoff a ten-day city steps celebration, including artist-designed events on and around city steps. We are seeking artists or artist teams, including visual, literary, and performing artists, to be part of this exciting initiative. This is a very unique opportunity as it will not result in a physical work of public art in the traditional sense, but rather create a unique experience and expression of place and time. 

Four community partners will be selected and will work with BikePGH and OPA to each select an artist or artist team with whom they will collaborate to design and produce a place-based event for the fall celebration. Logistical and event planning support will be provided by BikePGH and OPA. 


A. About

The goal of the initiative is to create excitement, awareness, and engagement around city steps for the purposes of increased investment, preservation and utilization. BikePGH and OPA issued a Call for Community Partners in February 2019. The four community partners will be announced in early April. Each community partner will participate in selecting the artist or artist team with whom they will collaborate. 

Pittsburgh has approximately 800 sets of steps - more public staircases than any other city in the United States. The steps are an important and under-resourced connection between communities, which thousands of residents rely on for transportation and recreation. Nearly two-thirds of the steps are in low or moderate-income areas and many are located in the City’s hilliest neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods lack strong public transit resources. Maintenance of the steps has proved an enormous financial and logistical challenge -- some staircases are in such disrepair and built in such intricate surroundings that repairing them equates to undertaking a small bridge repair project. 

Still, the 800 sets of steps are critical assets in the city’s pedestrian transportation network and a point of local pride. With the creation of the City Steps Plan, which was released in 2018, there is an opportunity to bring to life the opportunities that the steps can offer to neighborhood residents. 

The city steps activation project will amplify the work of the City Steps Plan and draw attention to the resources that are being invested in city steps. The partnership is designed to activate the city-wide conversation about city steps, and generate new types of activities that can continue beyond the life of the project. 


B.  Program Structure

BikePGH and OPA are currently in the process of identifying up to four community partners to be part of the project team. Community partners are organizations within neighborhoods that have city steps, and which have identified city steps as one of their community assets. Community partners will be identified in early April 2019. Each community partner will then participate in selecting the artist with whom they will collaborate to produce an artist-designed activation of the steps in their neighborhood. 

Once artists are selected, OPA, BikePGH, and community partners will lead meetings with artists, facilitate community design review meetings, and engage in the conceptual development of each of the four artist-designed events. OPA and BikePGH will also provide support to identify entities who must lend permission or support to execute the proposed event, linking artists with resources needed, or scaling the project to meet logistical and physical capabilities of the site. 

Finally, the project team will implement the proposed artist-designed events in the four communities. Final implementation includes community design review meetings, troubleshooting projects and event details, working with the event production contractor, and executing the events. It is expected that the artist-designed events will occur during two weekends in the fall of 2019 and installations may span from one to ten days. The city steps celebration is tentatively scheduled to launch on Friday, October 4, 2019 and close on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Dates will be confirmed with the selected community partners and artists. 

OPA and BikePGH will provide additional support to promote and document the events, and to conduct program evaluation and review, which will be shared with the community partners. 


C.  Project Budget

Artist Fee for design and project management: $3,500

Implementation Budget: $15,000

Each project has an additional allowance of up to $4,000 to provide infrastructure support for the artist-designed events, such as solar generators, signage, temporary ramps, etc. The artists commissioned for this project will work with the event production contractor to identify needs and allocate resources from this allowance to support the events. 

Community partners will receive a fee of $2,500 each to support their participation in the project. 


D.  Eligibility

This opportunity is open to any visual, performing, or literary artist or artist team with demonstrated experience collaborating with others to create experiences and events. We highly encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. Teams must include at least one artist who has experience working in community settings to be eligible. 

Artists will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Aesthetic and experiential quality of previous work
  • Experience working collaboratively
  • Experience working in the public realm
  • Quality and completeness of application materials

Pittsburgh residency is not a requirement of this opportunity, but please note that any travel expenses will need to come from the project budget.


E.  Selection Process

OPA is facilitating the artist selection process for this project. Qualifications submitted through this RFQ will be reviewed by a selection committee which will include the community partners. A limited number of artists will be invited for an interview. Only one artist or artist team will be chosen for each organization.

During the interview, artists will discuss their past work, their ability to work on the project, their interest in this particular project, and their experiences with collaboration with organizations or communities.  Artists who are asked to interview for the project will not be asked to develop a model or proposal for the interview. OPA may check references to assist in the evaluation of applicants’ qualifications.

Artists may interview with multiple organizations, but can only be chosen for one project. Artists interviewing with multiple organizations may be asked to rank their preferences at the time of the interviews.

Should the selection committee determine that none of the artists presented are the right match for the commission(s), the selection committee may elect to choose an artist via an invitational process.


F.  Project Timeline

Call for Artists Released.........Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Information Session.................Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 6 - 7 PM, at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council; 810 Penn Avenue, 7th Floor; Pittsburgh, PA 15222

RFQ Submissions Due.............Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 11:59 PM

Notification to Shortlist.............Week of May 6, 2019

Artist Interviews..........................between May 22 - May 30, 2019

Project Kick-off...........................Week of June 3, 2019

Project Implementation............October 2019


G.  How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted electronically through Submittable, a free online application system that is used by the Office of Public Art. 

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Kahmeela Friedson at the Office of Public Art at kfriedson@pittsburghartscouncil.org or via phone at 412-391-2060 x247.

Use the form below to complete the submission process. You will be required to create a Submittable account to apply to the call. 

If you have questions about this artist opportunity, please contact Sallyann Kluz at skluz@pittsburghartscouncil.org. 

Please read the full Call for Artists before submitting an application.