Friday, May 23, 2008

New Memphis City School Projects

The UrbanArt Commission and Memphis City Schools are seeking artists to create art enhancements for Colonial Middle and Riverwood Farms K-8.

Memphis City Schools is renovating Colonial Middle School and building a new K-8, Riverwood Farms. Images and additional information about each of the schools can be found on the UrbanArt Commission website at

The goal of each project is to use public art to provide an interactive, visual stimulus enhancing students’ reading, writing, computation, thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills; to provide a welcoming and pleasing environment reaffirming the importance of schools; and to create a sense of ownership in the school.

It is expected that the art enhancements will be functional elements integral to the buildings. However, free-standing artwork may be appropriate at some sites. Though the design of the schools is virtually identical, each school has its own unique needs and Colonial Middle has a long-standing history within the community. Examples of the site plans for the schools can be found below. Artists are encouraged to research the school and to contact the UrbanArt Commission for more information about each school. Artists may submit a proposal for a specific school or outline a general approach to developing a theme.

Student involvement in the creation of the artwork or in direct interaction with the artwork allows students to take ownership of the art. As this happens a sense of community develops. Projects should include participatory elements, whether it is participation in the visioning or the creation of the artwork or ongoing interaction with the artwork.

Art Enhancement Budgets:
Colonial Middle School $170,000
Riverwood Farms K-8 $166,559.20
Proposal Deadline: 4:00 pm, June 27, 2008
Artist Eligibility: National

All professional artists residing in the United States, regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap, are invited to submit proposals for this project. Preference will be given to artists living in the City of Memphis and to graduates of Memphis City Schools. Professional artists may include fine artists, architects, landscape architects and other design professionals provided they are not the project architect or an employee of the project architect. Artists should have experience or demonstrate skills in one or more of the following areas: working with students; public art projects; collaborating with others towards an artwork/art enhancement; working with community based organizations; and working with committees/boards towards an arts-related goal. It is the policy of the Board of Education to select a diverse group of qualified professional artists that represent a wide variety of artistic styles, media and subject matter to design public artworks that best meet the needs of the students.

Artists will be selected based on the materials submitted – please see the Application Guidelines below. Selection for this project will be made by a panel made up of representatives of Memphis City Schools, a Community Representative, an Arts Professional, and a Visual Artist. The UAC Project Manager will attend meetings but is not a voting member of the panel. The panel will be looking at the merit of the artists’ work, past experience at completing projects on time and within budget, and appropriateness of the proposed concept for the community.

Though specific concepts are not required, the selection panel would like a general idea of your approach to this project. Please see the questions listed in the guidelines to help you develop your letter of interest. You are welcome to submit drawings, but they should not be larger than 8 ½ x 11 and should not be originals.

Although specific concepts are not required, some level of student participation should be part of the project. Suggestions of student participation include:
• Working with students directly (workshops) or indirectly (collecting information from the student body) during the design process and/or the fabrication process.
• Designing an enhancement to be interactive and informative to insure relevance for many generations.

Application Guidelines

• 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. (This is a new policy – please call if you have questions.)
• 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: Colonial/Riverwood
8 South Third Street, Suite 100
Memphis, TN 38103

For more 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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