ACT Public Art: Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts Temporary Public Art

Request for Qualifications

Mayor Elorza, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, and the Providence Art in City Life Commission in partnership with WaterFire Arts, The Wilbury Group Theatre, The Manton Avenue Project, The Dirt Palace, The Steel Yard, Woonasquatucket River Watershed present a CALL FOR ART.

Through this CALL FOR ART, two local artists will be awarded $7,500 to design, fabricate and install new original work at one of two pre-selected sites along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway: 99 San Souci Drive and Riverside Park (50 – 60 Aleppo Street).

Artists will be selected through a competitive, two-tiered process. Eligible artists must submit their qualification materials no later than  January 2, 2019.

The Art Selection Panel will choose no more than six artists (three for each site) to submit design proposals.  Of these original six, no more than two artists will be selected to install works at these sites.

The awarded artists will be notified by March and publicly announced in April 2019.

This call is open to 2D and 3D artists as well as light and projection artists. People of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ artists are strongly urged to apply.

If a collective or group applies, its members must submit only a single application. Members of a group may not submit individual applications if they submit as part of a group. The artist statement submitted for the group should speak to how its members have developed work collectively. The group’s submitted examples of previous work should highlight the experiences and skills of all group members.

Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts (WRGA) – Project Summary

The City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (ACT) and WaterFire Providence are convening collaborators to generate a series of site-specific performances and temporary art works along the banks of Providence’s historic urban waterway in anticipation of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway extension project (2020/21 – see here for more on the Woonasquatucket Vision Plan developed by the Department of Planning and Development). Manton Avenue Project and Wilbury Theatre Group will work with the history and built environment of the Woonasquatucket to create performances; temporary public artworks will be curated by ACT and WaterFire Providence in collaboration with the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, The Steel Yard  and The Dirt Palace. A culminating celebration along the Greenway the week of July 21, 2019, will demonstrate the potential for a permanent linear art park connecting downtown to emergent arts institutions and diverse residential neighborhoods. Following the WRGA demonstration project, partners will convene to refine a vision for the permanent park’s arts infrastructure.


WRGA Temporary Public Art – Themes

Commissioned works for the WRGA project will foster new thinking about subjects that are important to Olneyville’s diverse residents, workers, business owners, and artists by reflecting on at least one of the following themes:

  • The ecology, or life of the river, and its flora and fauna; the river’s harmony and/or dissonance with the urban built environment;
  • The area’s pre-industrial or industrial heritage and its ongoing effects on the watershed, as well as the people that live in the Valley and Olneyville neighborhoods;
  • The ways that diverse means of communicating (eg. language, music, foodways, and other cultural expressions) affect how neighbors and visitors experience the area’s past, present, and future.

Optional keywords and themes to consider: people helping each other, connecting to and protecting the environment and land, sky, water, plant life, light, energy, clean, intervention, disturbance, pride, pollution, friendship, laughter, health, community, regrowth, renaissance, reflection, recreation, play.


LOCATION AND SITING – Where will the art be?

Public Art will be sited at the two locations listed below. We are NOT looking for a full proposal during the Qualifications round, but do want to know what site you are most interested in and what media and format you may choose should you make it to the next round. All projects must be made fireproof, graffiti proof (washable) and waterproof (unless the material exposure to rain/water damage be deliberate and safe).

99 San Souci Drive

A soon-to-be-opened spur of the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, the 700-foot stretch of roadway at San Souci Drive will provide for safer bike and pedestrian connectivity between Manton Ave and Valley Street. In addition to a protected bi-directional lane, enhancements to the Greenway will include new hardware and fencing between the protected pathway and the River as well as enhanced landscaping and stormwater remediation. Art selected for this site will be mounted on the brick facade of the building; non-permanent metal add-ons, banners, and other temporary surface treatments (for instance) will welcome riders and pedestrians to the Greenway while drawing attention the river and its amenities.


Riverside Park Aleppo Street Gateway (50 – 60 Aleppo Street)

Riverside Park is a crown jewel in the Woonasquatucket River Greenway trail system. Already the site of multiple public art installations, including murals, furniture, and other amenities for children and families, the park sits on a capped brownfield where the Riverside Mills once manufactured woolen goods. Art selected for this site will be mounted on a wooden telephone pole adjacent to the picnic tables near the entrance to the park; light installation, flags, and other aerial installations (for instance) will help create a visual connection between the new Greenway spur along San Souci and the existing infrastructure, art, and amenities in the park.

Eligibility – Am I able to apply?


Artists must be 18 years or older and have a home or studio address in the Providence metro area statistical area, which includes Pawtucket, Central Falls, Warwick, Cranston, Attleboro, New Bedford, Fall River, and Attleboro, to be eligible to apply. Applicants who live or work in, or have an otherwise compelling relationship to the Olneyville or Valley areas of Providence, will receive special consideration. Interested applicants must be able to demonstrate having completed at least three successful installations or creative projects of similar scale.



Qualifications – How to Apply

The Qualifications round will introduce you and your work to the Art Selection Panel. We are NOT looking for a design proposal during this round, rather, we will look at your previous work for a sense of your discipline, aesthetic, and successful implementation of past projects. We are interested in a general idea (one sentence) of your preferred site, media and format should you be chosen to submit a full proposal. We ask for this to help guide the Art Selection Panel in choosing a balanced shortlist.

The deadline for Qualifications is January 2, 2019 at 11:59pm. Artists must submit the following documents to be considered:

  • An artist statement of no more than 250 words.
    • Please indicate if you have a relationship to the Valley or Olneyville neighborhoods.
    • Please include a brief note (no more than one sentence) that alerts the Art Selection Panel to your preferred site, media and format. For example: “I will most likely propose a 3D add-on to the 99 San Souci facade.”
  • A CV or Resume
  • 3-5 examples of previous work
  • The names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least 1 but no more than 3 professional references

NOTE: All materials must be submitted together through our website portal.  THE APPLICATION IS NOW CLOSED – we will not consider late applications.


Finalists – If I make it to the next round

This round is by invitation only.

No more than 6 artists will be shortlisted and offered a chance to submit a full proposal. Finalists will be notified in mid-January and required to submit a full design proposal no later than February 10, 2019 at 11:59 pm. Finalists may submit up to two proposals, but no more than one proposal per site.  Design proposals must include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • A brief narrative summary of the work you want to create for Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts that includes thoughts on how it will be integrated into the Greenway and celebrated in Olneyville between installation in July 2019 and deaccession (de-installation) in October 2019 (350 words max).
  • Design concept drawing, a sketch, rendering or visual image that represents the idea of the proposed project. Provide a hi-res color image and a scaled site rendering that can be printed to 24” X 36”. Work must be site-specific and consider pedestrian and traffic patterns, events, weather, and safety.
  • An installation plan that includes a brief description of your anticipated technical needs and installation/deaccession timeline (i.e., how long will it take to install and de-install).
  • Projected budget up to $7,500, including materials, artist-fees, and installation costs.
  • High resolution headshot (jpg) and artist bio (max 300 words) to be used in press.
NOTE: All proposal materials other than the artist’s headshot must be submitted as separate PDF documents organized in one shareable google drive folder. All files must be clearly named and include the name of the artist and the name of the proposed project.  We will not consider incomplete or late applications.

Commissioned artists will be notified in late February and can begin fabrication as soon as they are able. Revised design drawings will be due in late March and final design drawings will be due May 30, 2019. Installation will begin in late June.


Artist Scope of Work – What is expected of me

Commissioned artists must adhere to the following responsibilities:

  • Review and sign contract and adhere to deadlines within.
  • Attend press events and/or participate in promotional activities in conjunction with the project.
  • Submit final design concepts no later than May 30 2019.
  • Design, fabricate, and purchase materials to contractual deadline.
  • Be present at and actively participate in the installation of the work.
  • Be present at and actively participate in the removal or de-accessioning of the work.
  • Restore the site to its original condition.
Note: Applicants will retain copyright and receive credit for their work; the City of Providence reserves the right to reproduce images of commissioned works for non-commercial purposes.


The Artist Selection Method – How PVD chooses public artists

Artists will be selected through a competitive, two-tiered process. Qualified artists may submit their Artist Statement, Resume/CV, and three to five examples of relevant projects to ACT by  January 2, 2019.

The Art Selection Panel will review complete applications and score the submitted qualifications, limiting the selection pool to no more than six artists.

The finalists will be invited to submit design proposal(s) by  February 10, 2019. Each artist will receive a modest stipend for their design work and a detailed Request for Proposals to guide their thinking. Full design proposals sent to ACT will include a project narrative detailing their proposed design, a project budget, and a project timeline.

The Art Selection Panel will reconvene to review full proposals and upon Art in City Life (ACL) Commission approval will notify the commissioned artists no later than February 28, 2019.

The commissioned artists will be publicly announced in Spring 2019.


Art Selection Panel – Who reviews my application?

The Art Selection Panel will be comprised of seven members:

  • One member of the Art in City Life Commission: Xander Marro* (also representing the WRGA project and The Dirt Palace)
  • A staff member from the  Department of Art, Culture + Tourism: Micah Salkind*
  • A staff member/artist facilitator from The Steel Yard: Tim Ferland
  • An artist and community champion representing the Native American Narragansett, Wampanoag community of Rhode Island: Deborah Spears Moorehead
  • A community champion representing Olneyville residents: Abelardo Hernandez
  • A community champion from the Wilbury Theatre Group board of directors: Avishek Ganguly
  • A site owner representative: Seth Shapiro
These projects will be subject to an installation review led by an Art in City Life commissioner. The installation score will be averaged into the Art Selection Panel design score. Names noted with a (*) may also be a part of this installation review.


Budget – How much?

The Woonasquatucket River Greenway Arts project has a total budget of $15,000 for temporary public art. $7,500 is reserved for each artist’s fees, materials, installation and deaccession costs and additional as needed tech.


Project Schedule – Important Dates

December 3, 2018: RFQ is live  

  • January 2, 2019: RFQ deadline
  • January 10, 2019: Finalists are notified
  • February 10,  2019: RFP Deadline
  • February 13, 2019: ACL Commission reviews Art Selection Panel recommended artists
  • February 28, 2019: Selected artists are notified
  • March 30, 2019: Selected artists submit revised design drawings  (subject to change)
  • April 2019: studio visits and first payment disbursal (80%), tbd
  • May 2019: meet the artist event tbd
  • May 30, 2019: Final design drawings due  (subject to change)
  • June 18, 2019:  Final City Service review for installation and deaccession plans  (subject to change)
  • June 19 – July 19: Installation period, schedule tbd (subject to change)
  • July 20 – October 20, 2019: Exhibition period  (subject to change)
Qualifications materials are due on January 2, 2019 at 11:59pm. We will not consider late or incomplete applications.

Submit your Qualifications Materials using the form linked above or mail to City of Providence Department of Art Culture + Tourism, Attn: Micah Salkind, Special Projects Manager,  444 Westminster Street, Third Floor, Providence RI 02903

There will be multiple ways for all types of artists to engage with ACT and its partners during the demonstration project and week of Fringe performances. If you are an artist interested in this project who doesn’t see yourself in this call, please reach out to ACT Special Projects Manager Micah Salkind to find out about other opportunities to engage: // 401-680-5774

This project is supported by ACT Public Art and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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