Public Art and the Request for Proposals
Some RFPs (Request for Proposals) require the artist to submit a design proposal
for the designated project as part of the application. This is an artist’s worse application
nightmare and, personally speaking, I think an art committee scheme. The panel is
trolling for ideas about their projects without offering any financial compensation for the
time and effort of putting these applications together. They want the artist to go through
the lengthy process of developing a concept, constructing the model or sketch, preparing
the cost estimate, and then submit this well, thought-out document to them free of charge.
GET REAL! It simply shows their indifference to the artist and perpetuates the hungry artist notion
who will do anything to get a job.
The irony of this RFP technique is that communities are ultimately doing a disservice to
the selection process because it limits the number of artists who are willing to apply.
The majority of artists know that public art is a crap shoot and to spend their time creating
speculative art is not time well spent.
If the application is for a commission in your city, neighborhood, or state...then go for it.... always.
Because, after all, this is your community and what better place to demonstrate your
vision than to individuals who might be interested. Also, if you have never submitted a design proposal, it is important to understand the
process. One must learn how to translate the majestic concepts that resonate in our minds to the tangible sources of paper, digital imagery, architectural renderings, cost projections, and descriptive text. These are tools that have to be developed and perfected if a concept ever hopes to transform itself from the dream state to the light of day.