Friday, May 30, 2008

Advocacy At Work: Thank You.

Dear Friends,

I would like to express my most sincere thanks to those of you who have taken the time to voice your support of the UrbanArt Commission and the Percent-for-Art program to your elected Memphis City Council representatives.

I've heard from members of the Council as well as their administrative staff that they have received numerous calls and emails praising the work of the UAC and the role of public art in strengthening the social and cultural health of our city.

I am incredibly proud of your efforts in communicating our collective belief in the importance of public art in such a fast, and effective manner. Your advocacy is invaluable.

Please encourage your friends and colleagues to express their support with an email to their Council representative as well. All City Council contact information is publicly available at the City's website.

If you are interested to learn of UrbanArt projects by district, please contact us at, for a comprehensive list.

Here are some quick facts for your reference:

• The UrbanArt Commission is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works as a subcontractor for the City of Memphis to administer the Percent-for-Art Program.

• Operating funds are termed ‘O&M’ for Operating and Maintenance, this is the section of the City budget that compensates UrbanArt for administering the Percent-for-Art Program. UrbanArt’s ‘O&M’ budget for FY09 is $130,000.

• Percent-for-Art projects are funded by the City’s Capital Improvements Plan, or the ‘CIP’ budget. UrbanArt’s CIP budget is 1% of the budget for new construction on all City-funded building projects. The sum UrbanArt is allocated is capped by law, never to exceed $1M in any single fiscal year.

As for the current state of affairs, we will keep you updated on this issue as developments progress.

Thank you again for supporting us, and for letting your city know that art matters.

Be well,

John Weeden,
Executive Director

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.

A Few Out-of-Town Projects.

Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, in conjunction with Sacramento County, invites artists to submit qualifications for potential inclusion in a pre-qualified artist database for upcoming public art opportunities at the Sacramento International Airport. This project, with a budget of $5 million, is the largest public art project in the history of the County. A number of selection panels will be established to review applications for the purpose of establishing a pool of qualified artists working in a variety of media. Media appropriate to the Airport Art Program includes sculpture, ceramic, mosaics, art glass, multi-media, artist-designed lighting elements, or any other durable materials suitable for long-term exposure in an airport environment.

Information of the Airport Art Program and an application form may be found at: The deadline for applications is August 4, 2008.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Open Call to Artists - Public Art Opportunity for Mission/Cliff Bungalow Promenade
The City of Calgary Public Art Program and Community Cultural Development, in conjunction with Parks, is seeking requests for proposals from artists and other individuals interested in the opportunity to provide an arts-based community development opportunity to the communities of Mission/Cliff Bungalow. The successful candidate will design, create and implement a public art project that will reconnect the community to its history and the river by providing a point of interest on the new promenade. The project will involve the community in all aspects of its development.

The Mission/Cliff Bungalow Promenade Project is part of a larger initiative by the Parks department in conjunction with the Community Association, Heritage and Carson McCulloch landscape architects to redevelop the bike path and walkway along the Elbow River. The Community Association is working to engage the communities of Mission and Cliff Bungalow in the use of this new promenade, making it an active gathering space and source of pride for the area.

This competition is open to local, national and international artists.

The budget for each phase is $4,000 CDN for a total of $12,000 CDN.

Submissions must be received by Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 16:30 hours MST.

Please see attached PDF for the Request for Proposal # PA-2008-1001. Should additional information be required please contact Jon C. Waks at 403-268-2843 or electronically at

Resources for artists, including tips and hints about open calls and a list of current opportunities are online at The City of Calgary Public Art Program page:

NOTE: We are not asking for a concept at this time. Only those artists who have been short listed will be asked to submit a design concept for this project.

Lauderhill, FL
The City of Lauderhill announces a new public art project at the Ilene Lieberman Botanical Gardens. The project budget is $20,000 and the Art Selection Committee is open to commissioning site-specific work and/or purchasing existing artwork. Interested artists can view the new call by going to the website and clicking appropriate titled link on the
City's web-site:

The submission deadline will be 2:45 p.m., Monday, June 30, 2008

For more information, contact Ms. DeLesa E. Parrish, Public Art Board Staff Assistant, City of Lauderhill, City Hall, Suite 211, Corporate Park at Inverrary, 3800 Inverrary Boulevard, Lauderhill, Florida 33319, 954-730-3078, E-Mail:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

UrbanArt ED in the Memphis Flyer

UrbanArt is the cover story of this week's Memphis Flyer!

Check it out:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please join us for a visit to
Greely Myatt's studio!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
6:00 PM
416 S. Main Street

Local artist and University of Memphis professor, Greely Myatt, will be opening his studio to the public. Myatt, whose Cloudy Thoughts billboard can be seen on Madison Avenue through the end of May, has worked on a number of projects for the UrbanArt Commission. During this studio visit, the artist will be focusing on his two projects for the UAC, Cloudy Thoughts, which was completed as part of the UAC's 10th Anniversary Interactions/Interruptions temporary installations, and his equipment screen that will be installed outside of City Hall in the coming months. Fabrication, installation, and the public art process with the UrbanArt Commission will be discussed.

For more information contact the UrbanArt Commission 901.525.0880 or visit

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Visit Dan Corson and His Lasers - May 9

Friday, May 9, 2008
6:30 PM
Center for Southern Folklore
119 S. Main Street
in Pembroke Square at Peabody Place

Dan Corson's temporary public art piece in Downtown Memphis uses laser light and infrared technology to track people as they walk down the sidewalk, outlining the "auras" of passers-by.

Those who attend the reception/talk will be invited to view the project after dark at the corner of South Main and Peabody Place in front of Peabody Place Tower.

This installation will be up May 10 - May 26. It is one of ten temporary public art projects being installed as part of the UrbanArt Commission's 10th Anniversary.

For more information contact the UrbanArt Commission 901.525.0880 or visit

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rick Lowe, Founder of Project Row Houses - May 8

Houston Artist Lectures on Revitalization
Thursday, May 8
6:30 PM
Memphis College of Art Callicott Auditorium
1930 Poplar Avenue in Overton Park

As a follow up to the April screening of the documentary Third Ward, TX, the UAC is hosting a discussion with the Project Row Houses’ founder, Rick Lowe.

Lowe, an artist based out of Houston, established the Project Row Houses program on the principle that art and the community creating it can “revitalize even the most depressed inner-city neighborhoods, for the mutual good of existing and future residents.” The program was designed to create a sense of community through art, culture, and history.

This lecture will be held as part of the UAC’s Arts Build Communities Grant through ArtsMemphis. The UAC was established in 1997 through the collaborative efforts of the Memphis Arts Council and the Shelby County Government. The mission of the UrbanArt Commission is to create a dynamic, vibrant, nurturing community through art and design. The UAC is funded in part by the Greater Memphis Arts Council, Tennessee Arts Commission and the Hyde Foundation.

For more information contact Laura Caroline Johnson at (901) 525-0807.