24 Jun 2019

Public Art RFP Science Museum of Virginia Iconic Artwork Commission

Science Museum of VirginiaRichmond, Virginia, United States

NOTE: This opp listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Opportunity Description

U.S. National Deadline: October 18, 2019 – Broad Street Station has been the home of the Science Museum of Virginia [the Museum], for the past 40 years. Broad Street Station (Union Station) was the only railroad station designed by American architect, John Russell Pope. Pope’s other notable designs include the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art—West Building located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Museum, located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, USA is seeking requests for preliminary proposals from a qualified individual artist and/or artist teams to design an original, large-scale iconic exterior artwork reflecting the theme of science and the Museum’s mission.

The artwork should complement the museum’s beautiful architecture and landscape. This public artwork will serve as a new destination point and source of inspiration for Museum guests, the Richmond community, and tourists alike.

As a catalyst for inspiration, a place that sparks curiosity, encourages discovery and presents ideas through the lens of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the Museum inspires hundreds of thousands of guests each year to enrich their lives through science.

$850,000.00–1M USD inclusive of all costs associated with the project, including but not limited to: research, professional consultations, formal reports from Virginia-licensed structural and electrical engineers (required), a long-term care and maintenance plan and report, building materials, fabrication, transportation/shipping of all materials, personnel travel costs, insurance, installation, photography, process documentation of the artwork from concept through implementation, post installation site-visit and assessment report, and written project progress reports due every 90 days from signed contract to 90 days following final installation inspection by artist.

This commission is open to professional artists 18 years of age and older. Note: This public body does not discriminate against faith-based organizations in accordance with the Code of Virginia, § 2.2-4343.1 or against a bidder or offeror because of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other basis prohibited by state law relating to discrimination in employment.

Artist teams may apply and must designate one artist as the lead contact. Lead artist must have a minimum of five (5) years of demonstrated professional public art experience (not student work) and must have examples of previous experience with large-scale outdoor sculpture or sculptural installation projects with budgets over $500,000 each. Examples of work must be documented original artwork. The application, including all samples of work and supporting documents, is considered the artist’s official “submission.” If any information submitted by the artist, artist’s representative, or team of artists including all supporting documents supplied is false, inaccurate, or misleading, the submission will be disqualified.


  1. convey the concept of science and/or STEM via literal, metaphorical, or abstract representation.
  2. be an iconic visual experience that engages guests while creating an opportunity for inspiration, scientific discovery, and learning.
  3. be visually stunning and inspire a sense of wonder and awe.
  4. exemplify creative ways of thinking.
  5. encourage curiosity, sustainability, and a sense of community.
  6. support the goals and mission of the Museum.
  7. integrate seamlessly into the design of the facility and grounds.

A wide variety of materials for this sculpture will be considered including ISO metals and other durable, low-maintenance materials. The artwork must be visually engaging during both daytime and nighttime hours. The design must be a free-standing sculpture, ideally with integrated and/or accessory lighting, decorative pavers, aggregate, stained concrete or other ground design elements that will further accentuate the sculpture. The maximum desired height for the final sculpture is 40 feet from the ground (inclusive of the installation base) and viewable from 360 degrees. The plaza shown on the Master plan is approximately 55’ x 80’. The artwork should be bound by a cubic space of 50’x50’x40’. All proposed work must be designed to meet ADA accessibility, ASTM International/International Organization for Standardization, and meet structural code requirements.

The artwork must also withstand an outdoor, unmonitored, high traffic environment, and must require only minimal maintenance throughout its minimum lifespan of 75 years.

Submissions will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  1. Artistic excellence and originality as evidenced by representations of past work, images and other supporting materials, including references for each artwork completed.
  2. Experience with projects of a similar scale and scope.
  3. Demonstrated adherence to budget and schedule in previous projects.
  4. Strength of your concept proposed for the Science Museum of Virginia, both visually and contextually
  5. Appropriateness of artist’s medium, style, and previous experience as they relate to the project goals and setting.
  6. Ability to participate in the design and implementation of the project as required.

The Museum will choose three (3) finalists from the submissions received. Each of the three finalists or team of finalists will be offered a small stipend to produce a refined viable design proposal which must include: an outline of the scope of work, materials plan, installation plan, long-term maintenance plan, and budget.

The Museum reserves the right to negotiate any of the terms of the refined proposals in consideration. Example: price, design, the scale of artwork, etc.. Revisions/changes will be negotiated until all terms are agreeable to both parties.

Artists interested in this project must prepare and submit the following documentation in a single zipped upload to the Dropbox link listed above.

A. Contact: please provide your current business contact information including full name, email, cell, and business mailing address. If a team, include this information for all members.

B. Resume/CV: chronological resume demonstrating a minimum of five (5) years of professional art experience (exhibitions, sales, commissions, etc.). If submitting as a team, a current resume should be provided for each team member.

C. Artist’s statement: (individual or lead artist) a written description of the individual or lead artist’s body of work to give the viewer understanding or insight. It should inform, connect with an art context, and present the basis for your work. It can be descriptive and/or reflective in nature (300 words maximum).

D. Website and/or social media: please provide links to professional online presence.

E. Letter of interest: brief statement summarizing the artist’s methods of working, interest in this project, and availability to participate in the design. Why should the Science Museum of Virginia choose this proposal and implementation plan of the project?

F. References: a list of at least three (3) professional references that have an intimate knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods. Include complete addresses, email, and telephone numbers. References will be contacted only for artists invited to develop a full proposal.

G. Images: submit six (6) DIGITAL images of original completed artwork—not conceptual works— which demonstrate your/your team’s qualifications for the project. You must include the value of each work/commission presented in USD. (3 MB max, each image)

H. Presentation of concept: ideally, we would like to see digital drawings, sketches, video clips (3 MB max each), written explanation of your concept as well as the scientific research that supports the message you intend to convey. Concept renderings should include: proposed materials/media, scale and dimensions, color, estimated weight, additional equipment required for the desired effects (projection, lights, electricity, etc.). It would be ideal to include multiple angles/perspectives, proposed budget allocations, and proposed fabrication methods.

I. Proposal file name: must be formatted as example below: Last name_First Name_calltoartists2019.zip (IE: Smith_John_ calltoartists2019.zip)

NOTE: If a team is submitting, use the lead artist’s last and first name in the title of the proposal.

All applications must be submitted electronically via Dropbox (25 MB maximum size). English language preferred, but not required.

Submittals must be electronically received by 11:00 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -5 hours), October 18, 2019.

Science Museum Public Art Committee, calltoartists2019@smv.org
Email questions by 4:59 PM, EDT (GMT -5 hours) July 12, 2019, Responses will be posted online https://www.smv.org/calltoartists2019 no later than 4:59 PM, EDT (GMT -5 hours) July 26, 2019.

Email questions: calltoartists2019@smv.org by 4:59 PM, EDT (GMT -5 hours) July 12, 2019. Answers to questions posted to http://www.smv.org/calltoartists2019/ by July 26, 2019

  • APPLICATIONS DUE by 11:00 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -5 hours) Oct 18, 2019
  • Finalists notification by Nov 22, 2019
  • Offer to produce refined viable design plan to three (3) finalists (stipend) Jan 17, 2020
  • Finalists design plans due March 20, 2019
  • Review by the Museum, state and local agencies for viability March–May*
  • Announcement of winning design/artist(s) May 2020*
  • Design/fabrication 12–18 months
  • Installation date* Fall 2021*

* Timeline is subject to change based on final design, artist availability, and project details.

There is no guarantee that the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation will utilize the services of any artist, artist representative, or team of artists responding to this request for qualifications.

A stipend offer will be issued to a shortlist of three (3) applicant finalists to produce a refined viable design proposal. The stipend will only be provided to finalists that agree to terms of a refined proposal set by The Science Museum of Virginia Public Art Committee. The finalists will be chosen by the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation and the Science Museum of Virginia Public Art Committee solely based on the applications received by the deadline specified above.

Further instructions will be provided to each of the finalists per the contact information provided within the application. Please respond to each question in your own words, and do not attach any additional marketing documents to this response.

RFP Copy

Science Museum of Virginia
2500 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220-2057

Opp Categories: + Open to Multi-Media. Opp Types: Public Art RFP. Opp Tags: $0 Entry/Application Fee, Deadlines 09 Sept thru Oct, and Open to U.S. Artists Only. Income: *No Application Fee and Purchase.

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