Friday, October 12, 2007

Call-to-Artists: Overton Park Shell Project

The Overton Park Shell, now the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts (Levitt Shell) is being renovated thanks to a partnership between the City of Memphis and Friends of the Levitt Shell, a 501c3 organization formed to restore the shell and provide free open-air concerts.

Changes to the shell include removing the benches and creating lawn seating, adding new seating near the stage and at the rear of the lawn, replacing the wings on either side of the shell, reducing the depth of the stage, and renovating the bathroom facilities and backstage areas. These changes will bring the facility back to its original 1936 footprint. In addition, many of the existing architectural materials will be reused, and new sustainable materials and techniques will be used for the renovation.

Project Description
The UAC is seeking an artist to create an enhancement for the Levitt Shell. Possible areas for enhancement include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Along the sidewalks
Sidewalks will connect the entrance and entrance area seating with the bathrooms, and will lead to the seating near the stage. The sidewalks will be finished by the time the artwork is ready to be installed, so we are suggesting that artists consider creating a border for the sidewalks. A site plan will soon be available at
2. On the wall of the existing restroom building
The back wall of this building, which measures approximately 9' x 44', will face the lawn seating.
3. At the entrance
The main entrance to the shell will be behind the Brooks Museum and will be at the top of a slope looking down to the shell. This creates an opportunity for a grand portal to the area. This area may also contain plaques about the history of the shell, and artists may consider incorporating these plaques into the artwork.

The enhancement should reflect the historical nature of the park, which was established in 1906. The shell was built in 1936 as a project for the Works Progress Administration. It served as the site of Elvis Presley's first paid concert in 1954. The shell is situated in Overton Park, which also houses the Memphis Zoo, the Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis College of Art, a 9-hole golf course, an old forest arboretum and many memorials, monuments and sculptures.

Overton Park Shell before renovations.

Rendering of the renovated shell.

Please check our website,, for more images and information about the shell.

Budget: $75,000
Deadline: 4:00 PM, November 21
Eligibility: National

· Typed, one-page letter of interest that explains your general concept including theme and materials.
· A sketch may be included but must be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. Artists with no previous experience in public art are encouraged to send some type of visual representation of their concept. Do not send original artwork.
· Resume, not to exceed 2 pages.
· Images of your work - either slides or digital, following these guidelines: Please note that only the first five images may be viewed during the first round of selection.
  • Slides - up to 10 slides labeled with your name and artwork title, in a plastic slide sheet.
  • Digital - up to 10 digital images. Images must be JPEG format, 1920 pixels maximum on the longest side, 72 dpi, with compression settings resulting in the best image quality under 2MB file size.
· Image identification sheet
· List of three references, including current phone number.
· Self-addressed, stamped envelope with postage sufficient for the return of your materials. Materials will not be returned without one.

Send applications to:
UrbanArt Commission
Attn: Shell Project
8 South Third Street, Suite 100
Memphis, TN 38103

All proposals must be received by 4:00 PM, Wednesday, November 21, 2007
· To ensure fairness to all, there are no extensions or waivers of deadlines.
· Applicants will be notified by letter as to the status of their application.

For information contact the UrbanArt Commission:
Elizabeth Alley, Director of Public Art

Commissioning of artists by the UrbanArt Commission and the pursuit of all UrbanArt Commission activities are implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or age.

The UrbanArt Commission reserves the right to modify this solicitation and to request additional information or proposals from any or all participating artists.

The UrbanArt Commission reserves the right to accept or reject, at any time prior to
the commissioning of a work, any or all proposals when the acceptance, rejection, waiver or advertisement would be in the best interest of the project. In addition, the UrbanArt Commission may solicit proposals from artists not responding to this call and reserves the right to select an artist outside of the pool of artists responding to this call.

The staff of the UrbanArtCommission shall be responsible for all correspondence and communication by and between applicants and members of selection panels. Discussion regarding these projects by and between any applicant and any member of a selection panel outside of regularly scheduled meetings during the selection process may be grounds for the disqualification of the applicant. Such determination shall be in the sole discretion of the UrbanArt Commission.

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