Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to Create a Winning RFP or RFQ Entry


The UrbanArt Commission commissions (hires or pays for) the creation of artwork on behalf of other entities, such as corporations, nonprofits or government agencies. The Memphis UAC often commissions artwork (murals or sculptures) on behalf of the City of Memphis or local businesses or organizations. These projects often are commissioned through a request for qualifications and/or a request for proposal.

A request for qualifications simply prequalifies an artist or group of artists to complete the proposed project. It does not mean the artist or artists are hired to create the work—just that they are qualified to do the work or create the project. So an RFQ usually requires artists to submit a resume or CV, samples of previous works of art and ideas (not designs) for the current project. This process helps generate a strong pool for consideration. So RFQs are preliminary to RFPs, and RFQs are always followed by an RFP.

The RFP is the actual call to artists for their ideas and designs for the commissioned artwork. The RFP may be open to all artists or artists selected through the RFQ process and requires artists to submit background information along with their creative ideas, designs, budget and deadline. A selection committee made up of UAC staff, the commissioning organization, members of the local art community and people living and working around a project site reviews and selects the winning proposal. Winning proposals best meet the criteria, budget and creative needs identified in the RFP. Artists may or may not be paid an honorarium for completing the proposal, but the winning artist will be paid to complete the project. The RFP will indicate the budget for the creative design and fabrication of the artwork.

The first key to winning an RFQ or RFP is providing all the designated information in the format requested. Failure to do this often disqualifies an artist from the process, especially if all other entries provide this information. Additionally, it is important that the artist understands the artistic needs of the commissioning organization and the creative preferences of the community, as well as provides a creative solution to those needs.

Artists should expect to maintain communication with the commissioning organization and the public to ensure the project continues to meet the organization’s and public’s needs and adheres to proposal guidelines. So while the artist provides the creative ideas, he or she must work within the guidelines provided through the RFP. Often, there are approval processes along the way to ensure the project stays on task, budget and deadline. Payment is often tied to this schedule.

Working in this way may be a challenge for some artists but the commissioned art process can be a satisfying and enriching experience, especially when artists get to share their artistic vision with the community. We hope we answered your questions about the commission process and how to submit a winning RFQ or RFP. And we hope to see your qualifications or proposals soon!

Friday, June 3, 2016

UrbanArt Commission to Host Free Celebration for Dedication of New Art Sculpture at Zodiac Park

Rendezvous Arc, Zodiac Park, created by Suzy Hendrix

The Memphis UrbanArt Commission and the City of Memphis will celebrate the addition of a new public art sculpture at Zodiac Park, located at 5226 Zodiac Road, on Saturday, June 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. This free celebration is open to the public and will feature a number of kid-friendly activities, including games, music and performances, as well as refreshments.

The celebration will begin with the dedication of the Rendezvous Arc created by local artist Suzy Hendrix. District 3 Councilwoman Patrice Robinson, Tchulahoma community members and UAC staff will participate in the dedication. 

UAC and the City of Memphis commissioned the Rendezvous Arc sculpture in 2014 through the City of Memphis Percent for Art program, which allocates up to 1 percent of the city’s capital improvement budget for public art and design enhancement projects for public facilities and properties. The total budget for the sculpture was $65,000.

Residents of the park’s neighboring subdivision, Whitehaven Hills, and other Tchulahoma community members were actively involved in the art commission process. They wanted the sculptural piece to represent the neighborhood and serve as an attractive landmark for the park and community.

The 23-acre Zodiac Park, which was completed in 2014, was allocated through a donation from city developer V.O. Sneed Sr. The park’s land is considered a second-growth reforested area and previously served as pasture ground for a horse farm.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Calling All Memphis Artists: Public Art Opportunities Open

Top: Cleaborn Pointe at Heritage Landing Apartment Community, Memphis, Tenn.; Bottom: Frayser Branch Library, Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis UrbanArt Commission has extended the deadline on two local public art opportunities. These projects are open only to artists living in the Memphis-metropolitan area and provide a special opportunity for local artists to share their knowledge and understanding of the city’s rich history. More details about each project are below.

The Frayser Branch Request for Qualification is for the production and installation of a public art mural at the Frayser Branch Library. The mural should address one of Frayser Library’s three themes—connecting, learning and growing—and show the library’s connection to the neighborhood’s past and present. The total budget for the project is $13,000. The application and more information about the RFQ are available on UAC’s Opportunities page.

The Heritage Landing RFQ is for multiple art pieces (sculptures) that will enhance the Cleaborn Pointe at Heritage Landing Apartment community. Cleaborn Pointe is the former site of Cleaborn Homes, an inner-city public housing complex. This project is part of an effort to transform the 20-block city area south of FedEx Forum—between Beale Street, Main Street, Crump Blvd. and Manassas Street—into a sustainable and interactive community. The proposed sculptural art pieces should serve as landmarks for the community and allow residents and other community members to engage with the artwork, as well as provide opportunities for the community to help design and/or fabricate final art pieces through workshops. The total budget for the project is $88,000. More information about the project is available on the UAC website.

If you live in the Memphis-metropolitan area and would like to submit an application to one of these projects, first create a profile on UAC’s Artist Registry. Then, submit an application to one of these opportunities or any project open through UAC.

We look forward to receiving your responses!