Pittsburgh Creative Corps:  Call for Roster Artists

Application Deadline:  Monday, February 22, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Information Session:    Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 4 PM via Zoom.

Attendees must register in advance by going to https://tinyurl.com/OPAInfo2. Attendance is not required to apply to this RFQ. The session will be recorded and made available for viewing.

To download a PDF of the full call for artists, please click here


A. Summary

The Office of Public Art and Riverlife seek visual artists  living in southwestern Pennsylvania to be considered for the Pittsburgh Creative Corps Roster, a pre-qualified list of creatives selected by a panel of artists, art and design professionals, and community stakeholders for various public art opportunities for 2021 - 2022.  The roster will also be accessible 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.

The Pittsburgh Creative Corps (PCC) initiative is designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to engage artists and creative workers to activate the public realm while providing economic opportunity. As part of the PCC, the roster is designed to engage a broad pool of artists in southwestern Pennsylvania for various public art opportunities that arise. The roster is designed to make the artist selection and vetting process for individual projects more equitable and time efficient, allowing the PCC initiative to more quickly commission artists.


B. About the Pittsburgh Creative Corps and the Roster

The Pittsburgh Creative Corps (PCC) is an initiative of Riverlife and Office of Public Art (OPA) with funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The PCC 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 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the PCC initiative, the organizations are establishing the PCC Roster.

The PCC Roster is a list of pre-qualified artists who may receive invitations for temporary and permanent public art projects managed and/or commissioned by the PCC initiative. The roster will also be made available to other public agencies, private businesses, and organizations seeking to commission artists for projects in the public realm.

As PCC projects are defined and funded, artists on the roster may receive an invitation to indicate their interest and availability for the specific project. The roster artist(s) would then go through a simplified selection process for the potential commission, which may include an interview or submission of a project proposal. The PCC Roster will also be available to other public agencies, private businesses, or organizations that seek to commission artists for projects in the public realm.

Inclusion on the roster will be determined by a selection panel composed of art and design professionals and community stakeholders based on a series of review criteria. Priority will be given to artists from historically underrepresented communities, including communities of color.

Who is a Public Artist?

For the PCC Roster 2021-2022, a “public artist” is defined as a visual artist who  has past experience with the creation of artwork that has gone through a collaborative commissioning process - including planning, review, and installation - in a venue other than a gallery, home, or studio space.

Who is an Emerging Public Artist? Who is an Established Public Artist?

For the PCC Roster, the terms “Emerging Public Artist” and “Established Public Artist” refer to the level of experience an artist has in working on projects in the public realm. The Emerging and Established categories will be used for the selection process and internally, but will not be displayed on the publicly facing roster. Artists are asked to self-identify as either Emerging or Established Public Artists.

Emerging Public Artists: Artists who have been awarded three or fewer commissions in the public realm not exceeding $20,000 (per commission, not cumulative). This may include artists with no public art experience, but who are poised to enter the public realm.  Emerging Public Artists may also include mid-career artists with limited or no prior public art experience.

Established Public Artist: Artists who have been awarded more than three commissions in the public realm of $20,000 or more (per commission, not cumulative).

Inclusion in the PCC Roster 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.


C. Eligibility & Review Criteria

This call is open to all visual artists living and working in southwestern Pennsylvania who identify as either Emerging or Established Public Artists.

Artists  will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Past work shows a strong, consistent, and clear artistic voice
  • Experience working collaboratively
  • Strength of past work in the self-selected areas of expertise and media indicated in the application
  • Letter of interest
  • For Emerging Roster: Significant experience creating studio-based artwork and demonstrated interest in the creation of artwork in the public realm
  • Established Roster:  Experience fabricating and installing temporary or permanent artwork in the public realm
  • Ability to complete a project on time and on budget

Priority will be given to artists from historically underrepresented communities, including communities of color.


D. Selection Process

The selection for the PCC Roster is a one-step process. In March 2021, a panel of art and design professionals and community stakeholders will review applicants’ work samples and applications and select a list of both emerging and established artists who will be pre-qualified for future projects via the PCC.

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

  • As PCC projects are identified, scoped, and budgeted, staff may identify a shortlist of prequalified artists from the PCC Roster 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 prequalified artists from the PCC Roster 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 PCC Roster to connect artists and others to fabrication and implementation resources.
  • Staff may make the PCC Roster available to public agencies, private businesses, and other organizations who seek to commission artists for projects in the public realm.

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


E. How to Apply

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

Artist Information:

Please provide the following:

  • Name and pronoun
  • Racial and/or ethnic identity
  • Business or studio name (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • County of residence
  • 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).

Letter of Interest (not to exceed 300 words)

A statement describing your creative practice, approach to projects, and qualifications. If applying as a business or team, please describe your project approach, experience working together, and the roles of each member.

Bio and Statement (300 words max)

A brief bio and description of your creative practice. Businesses or teams may submit a group bio and statement, or individual team member bios and statements (up to three statements total).

References

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

Past Work Samples (JPG, MP4, AVI, MOV, or WMV files only)

Five (5) to ten (10) images and/or video samples, total. If applying as a business or team, it is recommended that you submit samples of artwork that were created collaboratively.

Images should be in JPG format. Please name files using the following naming convention: Artist Last Name_Artist First Name_Name of Artwork (for example, “Kahlo_Frida_Self Portrait 1.jpg”) Video sample links to third-party video hosting sites (Youtube, Vimeo) are preferred, but video files in MP4, AVI, MOV, or WMV format will be accepted. Video samples must be no longer than 3 minutes each.

Work Sample Descriptions

Within the application form, you will be prompted to enter descriptive information for each work 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.

Application Questionnaire

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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • Assemblage, including found objects, multimedia
  • 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. If selected for the PCC Roster, do you want us to include your profile as part of a public-facing roster? The public-facing roster would include: Artist name; website (if applicable); contact information; artist statement and bio; areas of expertise and artwork types; primary media; and submitted work samples. You will have an opportunity to review the profile prior to it being published as part of a web-based resource. Choosing to not be part of the public-facing roster will NOT preclude you from being selected as a PCC Roster artist.

  • Yes
  • No


F. Information Session

An information session will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 4 PM via Zoom. Attendees must register in advance by going to https://tinyurl.com/OPAInfo2. Attendance is not required to apply to this RFQ. The session will be recorded and made available for viewing.


G. Deadline for Submissions

The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 22, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Late submissions will not be accepted.


H. Notification of Results

Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by email by the end of March 2021. Inclusion in the 2021 Pittsburgh Creative Corps Roster does not guarantee a commission of artwork. Future opportunities to apply to the PCC will be announced later in 2021.

Office of Public Art and Riverlife reserve the right not to select any of the applicants for commissions. This timeline is subject to change. 


I. Additional Resources

To support the Pittsburgh Creative Corps and other public art opportunities, the Office of Public Art will be hosting three training sessions as part of its Winter Intensive: Demystifying the Public Art Application Process. These sessions include:

Thursday, January 28, 2021, 4 - 5:30 PM: Finding and Applying for Different Types of Opportunities

Thursday, February 4, 2021, 4 - 5:30 PM: Preparing Work Samples and Image Scripts

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 4 - 5:30 PM: Letters of Interest and Artist Statements

These sessions have a suggested ticket price of $5 per session or $12 for the series. For more information and registration, visit opapgh.org/events.


J. Funding

Funding and resources for Pittsburgh Creative Corps are provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Riverlife, and Office of Public Art.