Monday, December 24, 2012

New Mexico Arts Art in Public Places Call

New Mexico Arts Art in Public Places (AIPP) program and the Local Selection Committee at the University of New Mexico (UNM) seek an artist or artist team to create a permanent light installation within the stair tower at The Pit on the university’s south campus. The artwork commissioned for this project will enliven the building through a dynamic nighttime installation programmed to convey the excitement of activities held at the facility.

New Mexico Arts requests qualifications from an artist or artist team specializing in lighting design, multimedia and/or video installation that demonstrate a level of experience and professionalism that is commensurate with the project scope and budget. Up to five finalists will be selected to develop a site-specific proposal. From the group of finalists, one artist or artist team will be awarded the project.

UNM recognizes this project as a valuable opportunity to integrate artwork into the architecture of the The Pit. The Local Selection Committee seeks artwork that communicates the language of athletics, and projects the excitement of fans and the energy of activities held in the facility. As the building is located at the corner of the intersection of Avenida Cesar Chavez and University Boulevard, the artwork will have a significant presence within the city and will be viewable from downtown Albuquerque.

Project Background

Home of UNM men’s and women’s basketball, University Arena is built in a 37-foot hole on Albuquerque’s southeast mesa, hence the moniker of The Pit. Originally constructed in 1966, major upgrades and expansions to the facility were undertaken in 1975 and again in 2010. Including reserved standing-room-only spots, The Pit’s capacity is 18,018. Featured in USA Today,, Sports Illustrated and, it is one of college basketball’s most famous and recognizable buildings. Dick Vitale called it “a terrific atmosphere for college basketball. Great building…great history…18,000 screaming fans. It’s big time hoops, baby!”

The 2012-13 season will be the 47th year that University Arena has served as home for Lobo hoops. Averaging more than 15,000 fans in attendance in each of the last 46 years, more than 12 million fans have descended into The Pit to see their favorite college basketball team dominate the competition on Bob King Court.

Legislation for the State of New Mexico to finance the most recent renovations of The Pit passed in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions, and construction was completed in 2010.

Visit for more information about The Pit.

Public Art Intent & Goals

The Art in Public Places Program enriches New Mexico’s public spaces through an innovative and diverse public art collection. Our goal is to reflect the diversity of the arts in New Mexico, the Southwest, and the nation while building a dynamic public art collection for the State of New Mexico. The artwork for this project will be located in a publically accessible location and integrated with the architectural design and programmatic use of the facility. The goal of this specific public art project is to select an artist or artist team who will design artwork that:

  • Is dynamic, visually engaging, and conveys the excitement of activities inside The Pit;

  • Reinforces the core values of UNM Athletics by providing a great fan experience and inspiring Lobo Pride and;

  • Provides a significant artistic expression within the City of Albuquerque;

  • Contributes to the local, regional and national dialogue on contemporary art;

  • Complements the context of The Pit’s architecture and operations; and

  • Enriches and diversifies the State of New Mexico’s public art collection.


The funds for this project represent 1% of a portion of eligible capital outlay approved by the State of New Mexico Legislature for the most recent renovation of The Pit. An all-inclusive budget of $200,000 has been reserved for the project by the UNM Public Arts Committee. This amount includes all associated expenses and fees, including but not limited to design development, design documents, materials, labor, permitting fees, insurance, taxes, travel expenses, identification plaque(s), written and professional photographic documentation of the completed project, and other associated costs.

Artwork Opportunity

This public art opportunity is open to a range of possibilities to be proposed by finalists after selection. The artwork is to be located within the stair tower of The Pit. Intermediate and final design approvals will be provided by members of the Local Selection Committee. Lighting design, multimedia and/or video installation will be considered.

Artists should consider the entire stair tower adjacent to the northeast entrance to The Pit as an artwork opportunity. The structure is clad with frosted Starphire® glass for its intrinsic characteristic to take on light with minimal color alteration. The stair tower is 19’ wide, 69’ long and 52’ high, and has an approximate total surface area of 9,000 square feet. Visitors will primarily use the northeast entrance to the facility as the ticket office and the Lobo Den are also located in this area. The stair tower is viewable from both the interior and the exterior of the facility, from the foundation to the top of the parapet. There is full access to all interior glass surfaces to facilitate lighting, maintenance, and cleaning operations. Artwork that is integrated with the architecture and programmatic use of the building, as well as applications that have a presence during the day will be encouraged. Exterior surface treatment is not a possibility.

Please have a look-see at the most recent photographs of The Pit.

Proposed artwork must be durable, low maintenance, permanent, suitable for interior and/or exterior display, safe for both children and adults and be ADA compliant. At the selected artist’s expense the artwork may require certification by an electrical and/or structural engineer licensed to practice in the State of New Mexico, inspection and approval of the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office, and review by a professional fine art conservator.

The artistic scope of work for this project will generally include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Work collaboratively with the Local Selection Committee in the design development phases of the project, and provide proposals for integrating artistic elements into the stair tower based on established project goals;

  • Provide cost estimates for artwork fabrication and installation in order to determine feasibility of constructing the artwork elements of the project within the available budget of $200,000;

  • Participate in value engineering efforts required during the course of the design process to bring the project within budget;

  • Prepare, as necessary, design development presentations for all relevant reviewing bodies and, if applicable, for release to the press and public;

  • Present, as necessary, design development of artwork elements to all relevant reviewing bodies or stakeholder groups; and

  • Provide design drawings depicting unique detailing and including all necessary specifications as required for certification, inspection and approval prior to fabrication and installation.

Artist Eligibility

Professional visual artists at least 18 years of age permanently residing and legally qualified to work in the United States are eligible to apply. Artists submitting qualifications should have proven experience in lighting design, multimedia and video installation with a level of experience and professionalism that is commensurate with the project scope and budget.

AIPP regulations state that 1% funds may not be spent for artwork created for an institution or agency by an employee of the institution or agency. Qualifications submitted by and on behalf of employees of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and the University of New Mexico, including their project consultants and sub-consultants, will not be considered. Applicants may be required to provide verifiable proof of residency and employment at the discretion of AIPP Program staff.

Evaluation Criteria

The Local Selection Committee will consider the following evaluation criteria:
  • Successful design of projects of a similar scope and budget;

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively engage with design professionals, community stakeholders and user groups;

  • Artistic merit and superior craftsmanship of body of work;

  • Strong conceptual skills with innovative approach to other creative projects;

  • Ability to design artwork that is sensitive to social, environmental, historical and/or other relevant contexts;

  • Ability to translate artistic concepts into materials that are appropriate for public space, with consideration for maintenance, safety and longevity;

  • Potential for artwork to enrich and diversify the State of New Mexico’s public art collection;

  • Ability and willingness to collaborate with New Mexico Arts staff, New Mexico based design, fabrication and engineering professionals, project stakeholders and contractors;

  • Probability of successful execution and completion of project;

  • Suitability of professional qualifications of the artist(s) for project intent and site;

  • Effective communication and organizational skills; and

  • Completeness of application.

Selection Process

The Local Selection Committee is made up of representatives from the owner and user agencies of the facility, project architect, an artist, arts professional, a student and local community members. This group of individuals is responsible for prospectus development, submission review, finalist selection and ultimately selecting the artist or artist team to be awarded the commission project.

Artists may research the project using any resource with the exception of discussion with individual members of the Local Selection Committee or the New Mexico Arts Commission. Members of the Local Selection Committee for this project are:

Project Director:
Sue Mortier, University Landscape Architect
University of New Mexico

Owner Agency Representative:
Maria Dion, Group Manager, Office of Capital Projects
University of New Mexico

User Agency Representative:
Scott Dotson, Associate Athletic Director/Facilities
University of New Mexico

John Quinn Pate, Vice President, Architecture
Molzen-Corbin & Associates

Ryan Henel, MFA Candidate, Art and Ecology
University of New Mexico

Arts Professional:
Chris Fenton, Director, Health Sciences Center Art Program
University of New Mexico

Community Member:
Connie Vance, Real Estate Manager, Science and Technology Park
University of New Mexico

Community Member:
Debi Dodge, Technical Department Administrator
Molzen-Corbin & Associates

Up to five artists or artist teams will be selected to develop a site-specific proposal for the project. Artists or artist teams will receive a $1000 honorarium for a written proposal and renderings of the proposed artwork. One site visit will be required to include a personal presentation to the Local Selection Committee and the public. All renderings, sample materials and written proposals will become the property of the University of New Mexico. Additionally, each artist or artist team will receive a travel stipend based on mapped mileage according to the following schedule:
$250 for travel and lodging between 50 – 300 miles one-way.
$450 for travel and lodging between 301 – 800 miles one-way.
$900 for travel and lodging over 800 miles one-way.

Artists or artist teams short-listed as finalists for this projects will be required to enter into a Finalist Presentation Contract with the State of New Mexico. A sample Finalist Presentation Contract is available on New Mexico Arts website.

From the group of finalists, one artist or artist team and an alternate will be selected. The final design is subject to approval by the Local Selection Committee and may be subject to review by other relevant boards, commissions and stakeholder groups.

The selected artist or artist team will enter into a Professional Services Contract with the Department of Cultural Affairs, New Mexico Arts, and the University of New Mexico. A sample Professional Services Contract is available on New Mexico Arts website. The contract requires authorization from the Administrative Services Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the State of New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration prior to execution.

Submission Requirements

The AIPP program and the Local Selection Committee at UNM seek an artist or artist team specializing in lighting design, multimedia and/or video installation for this public art project. Artists that do not possess demonstrated experience in one of these specialties are asked to refrain from submitting an application to this competition. The medium category selected by the applicant will be reviewed and may be modified at the discretion of AIPP program staff.

Applications must be received online via the CaFÉ™ system no later than 11:59 P.M. (MST), Thursday, January 31, 2013. Duplicate, incomplete or late submissions will not be reviewed by the Local Selection Committee. Failure to provide any of the published requirements will result in disqualification from the competition. All artists must submit all materials via the CaFÉ™ online application system. Email, hard copies or CDs will not be accepted.

Please be prepared to submit the following:

Letter of Interest (2000 character limit, including spaces)
Briefly describe your specific interest in The Pit Art in Public Places Project and explain why your qualifications are well-suited for this commission. Note that specific proposals are not requested and will not be reviewed at this time. Please copy and paste the body of your letter into the Artist Statement field within the application. The letter of interest should address the following questions:
  1. What interests you about this project?

  2. What themes/concepts might you explore through this project?

  3. What perspective and/or experience do you bring to the project that is unique to you?

  4. What is your experience collaborating with architects, design professionals and community groups?

  5. What is your experience working with lighting design, multimedia and/or video installations?

Professional Resume
Please outline your experience as a visual artist/design professional, highlighting relevant work in lighting design, multimedia and/or video installation. If you are applying as a team, please create a new account on the CaFÉ™ system, enter the team’s contact information, and include resumes for each team member in the appropriate field. A biography or an autobiography will not fulfill the resume requirement.

Three Professional References
Please include the names and contact information for 3 individuals with whom you have worked, collaborated or who have commissioned your work in the past. Actual letters of reference are not required and will not be accepted.

Digital Images
Upload a minimum of 10 images demonstrating recent and relevant work. Installation or 3-dimensional work may be illustrated by multiple images. Please note the following:

  • Complete image citations will be required. This information must be provided during the file upload process, or the images must be modified in your CaFÉ ™ portfolio prior to submitting the application. Complete image citations include the artwork title, medium, height, width and depth, price or value, year of completion, and project description to include budget and commissioning agency.

  • If your work is best represented by other media types (video or audio), please include a URL in the project description.

  • Please review and adhere to the Image and Media Preparation page on CaFÉ ™ when formatting your images. Tutorials can be downloaded using the links near the bottom of the page.

  • By default, CaFÉ™ will organize the images in your submission alphabetically. If you wish to present the images to the committee in a different order you must prioritize the images before submitting an application.

Tentative Schedule

Week of November 26, 2012
RFQ released

11:59 P.M. (MST), Thursday, January 31, 2013
Deadline for submission of qualifications

Week of February 25, 2013
Local Selection Committee convenes and recommends up to five finalists

Week of May 6, 2013
Finalists visit New Mexico to present proposals and interview with the Local Selection Committee

December 2013
Artwork completed and installed


Questions regarding the project should be directed to:

Ben Owen, Public Art Project Coordinator
New Mexico Arts

Chuck Zimmer, Public Art Program Manager
New Mexico Arts

Deadline for Submission: 11:59 P.M. (MDT), Thursday, January 31, 2013

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