Thursday, February 12, 2015

Call for Public Artists for Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis is pleased to invite public artists to apply to design new public artworks in concert with the Nicollet Mall Redesign. (See page 5 for information on artist eligibility.)

Artist Informational Meeting February 12, 3:30 p.m. Application deadline February 27, midnight, Mountain Standard Time (one hour after Central Standard Time).

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact Mary Altman, Public Arts Administrator, Community Planning and Economic Development, People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

I. Nicollet Mall

The City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Downtown Council are working together to design and rebuild Nicollet Mall. Support from both public and private sector entities is making this possible.

Originally constructed in 1968, and renovated in the late 1980’s. Nicollet Mall was created to strengthen the appeal for retail and downtown investment. Today, Nicollet Mall contains the densest concentration of jobs and market values in the state. Hundreds of employers (US Bank, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise Financial, Target, Macy’s, Fallon Worldwide, RBC Dain, Dorsey & Whitney and Piper Jaffray, to name a few) identify the downtown public realm experience – and Nicollet Mall in particular – as central to recruiting top businesses and talent to the state.

Unlike many suburban malls, Nicollet Mall is a linear outdoor space that connects businesses and residents for nearly a mile. It is also a transit corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and taxi cabs, and a future streetcar line. Known for its curvilinear form, the space is home to Minneapolis Central Library, sidewalk cafes and events such as the Nicollet Mall Farmers’ Market, and this year featured the All Star parade.

Nicollet Mall by the numbers:

  • 130,000 employees use Nicollet Mall each day.

  • Over 34 million square feet of office space.

  • 3 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered on the Mall (U.S. Bank, Xcel Energy and Target)

  • It is a thoroughfare for more than 140,000 Minnesotans daily.

  • There are 35,000 current downtown Minneapolis residents, and by 2025, the goal is to have 70,000.

II. Nicollet Mall Design and Rebuild

Plans call for the complete reconstruction of the street and sidewalks from building face to building face, for the 12 blocks of the Mall between Washington Avenue and Grant Street. Construction will be completed in 2016-2017. New York-based James Corner Field Operations is leading the Nicollet Mall redesign, along with local firms Snow Kreilich Architects, Coen + Partners and SRF Consulting Group, Inc.. James Corner Field Operations is a landscape architecture and urban design practice renowned for strong contemporary design across a variety of project types and scales. Major projects include the design of the High Line, New York City; Fresh Kills Park, Staten Island; and the Central Waterfront, Seattle.

Detailed information, including the current design and related plans on the mall can be found at these websites:

III. Nicollet Mall Public Art Collection

Nicollet Mall currently features the largest collection of public artworks in Minneapolis, with the exception of the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden. The majority of the collection includes artworks owned by the City that were commissioned as part of the renovation of the Mall in the late 1980’s. These works, which are largely in cast metal and stone, range in scale from the 80 cast iron manhole covers (11 different designs) created by Kate Burke, to a fountain designed by Elliot Offner. They also represent some of the most important artists working in the region at that time from a range of cultural backgrounds. Privately owned works are also located on the Mall, including two works by Brad Goldberg and one by Howard Ben Tre’.

Concurrent to this commissioning process, the City and the Minneapolis Arts Commission is assessing these works and their significance and will be determining which works to reinstall as part of the Mall redesign. It is likely that the many of the works will be returning.

An interactive map on the public art on the mall can be found on the City’s website.

IV. New Public Art Commissions

The City of Minneapolis is seeking public artists/artist teams to design new public artworks to be integrated into the Mall redesign. The project’s goals are to commission new works of art that:

  • Are stimulating and contribute to the Mall’s reputation as a national destination.

  • Engage adults and children at both large scale and detailed (intimate) levels.

  • Contribute to Mall’s vitality and attract visitors.

  • Are compatible with the Mall design and current collection and the needs of the businesses and residents.

  • Are durable and can be maintained in Minneapolis’ climate and urban environment.

Artists may apply to work with the City and the design team to design and create one or more of the following commissions, although each artist or team will only be selected for one. The specific locations for these opportunities on the Mall have not yet been identified. This will be developed in collaboration with the design team and staff.

A. Artist to Engage Local Artists to Create a Series of Suspended Lanterns: $225,000: The purpose of this commission is to engage people on a level of human discovery through a series of lanterns that will be suspended along the Mall. The selected artist will work with the design team to design the basic lantern form and then lead a diverse team of local artists (selected through a future process) to design individual laser-cut patterns for the lanterns. (These artists could also work in non-visual media, such as poetry.) The budget above will include all artists’ fees and cover all fabrication that occurs outside of the budget for non-artistic elements in the project. Artists applying for this commission should have experience in leading a team of artists on a public art project.

B. Artist to Design a Key Feature: $200,000: The current design concept for the Mall includes several special features (the Reading Room, the Theater in the Round, Tree Groves, a Light Walk, etc.) The artist selected for this commission will work with the design team to transform one of these spaces into a work of public art. The above budget will include all artists’ fees and cover all fabrication that occurs outside of the budget for non-artistic elements in the project.

C. Artist to Design and Create a Large Scale Iconic Artwork: ($500,000): The Nicollet Mall project is seeking a large scale work that will contribute to the vitality of the Mall, be one of the iconic features for which the Mall is known, and contribute to the Mall’s reputation as a national destination. This work could be integrated into the functional elements, but this is not required. The current public art collection for the Mall includes several notable pieces by Minnesota and National artists that enhance the Mall experience, but lacks a signature work that draws people to the Mall. This budget includes all artists’ fees, as well as the entire fabrication and installation of the artwork.

D. Artist to Work with the Design Team to Curate/Integrate Public Art into the Mall Design ($75,000): The selected artist will work with the design team, as well as the other selected artists and artists whose works are in the current collection, to curate and integrate all of the artworks seamlessly into the new Mall design and materials. This artist will also create a coordinated/and integrated community engagement effort for the development of Mall public art program. Artists applying for this commission should have experience integrating public art designs into a major public site, and should have interest in developing a strong understanding of and advocating for the works of other public artists.

V. Eligibility

Please read the eligibility requirements over carefully before applying.

A. Eligibility

  • The project is open to artists or artist teams who reside within the United States. Teams are limited to a two artists.

  • Artists applying must be readily available during the timeline and must personally attend the finalist interviews (see section VI.A. below).

  • For Commissions A, B and C in section IV above, artists must have completed at least two major public or private commissions of $75,000 or more.

  • The City of Minneapolis encourages persons from various cultures and ethnic backgrounds to apply, and is seeking artists who have a strong knowledge of working in cities with diverse communities.

  • Artists who are ineligible to apply include current City staff and Minneapolis Arts Commissioners. Organizations, galleries and public art consultants are also ineligible.

The City is open to considering artists who work in a range of media, however, please note that artists should have experience creating durable works of art in climates and circumstances similar to Minneapolis.

B. Compensation

  • Finalists will be selected to be interviewed. Out-of-town finalists will be reimbursed for a modest travel stipend.

  • Selected artists will receive a fee to cover design, fabrication and installation costs. (Some non-artistic elements of the project could also be covered by the construction budget, such as electrical, seating elements, etc. This will be negotiated during the design development process.)  This fee should cover any and all of the costs and expenses associate with fulfilling the Project Tasks outlined in section C below.

A contract between the artist/artist team and the City of Minneapolis will define stages of completion, exact fee and a payment schedule.

C. Project Tasks

Artists/artist teams will collaborate with the project architects and staff. The artists/artist team’s responsibilities include:

1. Developing and refining artistic concepts and designs.

2. Developing designs that comply with all codes and functional requirements, are constructed of durable materials, and require little repair or maintenance.

3. Developing final drawings, models, presentation materials, and other visual and written items.

4. Presenting concepts and designs to committees, boards, community groups, and others.

5. Providing documents for the purpose of the City obtaining approvals from all of the appropriate entities, such as Minneapolis Public Works, Metro Transit and MNDOT.

6. Participating in a thorough design review assessment administered by an art conservator determined by the City.

7. Participating in an ongoing design review and modification process with input from the staff, architects, and appropriate City committees.

8. Providing ongoing updates to City staff.

9. Working closely and coordinating with the consultants and contractors that will be designing and constructing the Mall.

10. Developing cost estimates and a final budget.

11. Developing a maintenance plan for the artwork

12. Fabricating artwork or overseeing fabrication by others

13. Delivering and installing the artwork in coordination with the Mall renovation work.

14. Sub-contracting with professionals to provide all necessary engineering.

15. Providing signed engineering drawings for the artwork and footings, including mechanical and/or electrical portions of the work that are not part of overall Mall reconstruction project.

16. Note, soil and concrete testing, footing excavation, site restoration and the plaque will be provided by others.

17. Carrying adequate insurance coverage for the project as per the City’s General Conditions.

18. Providing the City with copyright privileges to make two-dimensional reproductions for non-profit use, such as brochures, publicity and web-site publications.

19. Providing the City with documentation of the project, including site plans, images of the fabrication process, information on all fabricators and subcontractors and material specifications.

20. If the artwork is integrated into the Mall in a way that it cannot be removed without destroying a portion of the Mall infrastructure, the artist/artist team will be required to waive their rights according to appropriate sections of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

21. Work with the design team and contractors to coordinate the installation within the overall construction budget and timeline.

VI. Application Process

A. Project Timeline

February 3, 2015, Call for Artists Distributed

February 9, 2015, 4 p.m., First Deadline for Questions

February 12, 3:30 p.m., Artist Informational Meeting, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Minneapolis Central Library, room S-275, 300 Nicollet Mall.

February, 13, 2015, 4 p.m., First Posting of Answers

February 20, 2015, 4 p.m., Final Deadline for Questions

February 24, 2015, 4 p.m., Final Posting of Answers

February 27, 2015, Call for Artists Deadline (midnight, Mountain Standard Time)

Week of March 9, 2015, First Panel Meeting/Finalist Notified

Week of March 23, 2015, Finalists Informational Meeting (Conference Call)

Week of April 13, 2015, Finalists Interviews and Selection of Commissioned Artists

Early May 2015, Council Approval of contract

End of May 2015, Artists under Contract

June 2015, Design Begins

Fall 2014/Winter 2015, Design Reviews and Approvals

Fall 2016/Spring 2017, Installation Complete

B. Proposal Due Date and Submittal Process

Date and Time: Received by February 27 at midnight, Mountain Standard Time (one hour after Central Standard Time)

Application Process:  All materials will be submitted online, via CaFÉ™ website ( There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ system. To view the application, go to, register a username and password, navigate to “Apply to Calls”, and search the list for “Call for Public Artists for Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis”. Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available during regular business hours (Mountain Time) via e-mail at

Artists who submit applications acknowledge that the materials they submit are public information under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and may be shared by the City of Minneapolis with members of the public or the media for informational purposes or as otherwise required by the Data Practices Act. Accordingly, they grant a non-exclusive license to the City of Minneapolis to make and distribute a limited number of copies of the submitted materials for the purposes of information and/or evaluation of the artwork related to this RFP and the related Public Art Projects, or as required by the Data Practices Act.

C. Contact for More Information

All questions regarding this proposal must be submitted via email to:

Mary Altman, Public Arts Administrator, City of Minneapolis,

The questions and answers to all artists will be posted on the RFP website according to the timeline listed in section VI.A. above

D. Proposal Format and Submission Materials

Artists who desire to submit for more than one of the commission opportunities listed in section IV above, may either submit one proposal, and indicate in the appropriate question the opportunities for which they are applying, or they may submit multiple proposals, one for each opportunity.

1. Images: Submit ten (10) images of recent work, as relevant to this project

Each image must be labeled a title corresponding with the Image List. No collaged images--one image of each work per file only. Explanatory text should be included on the image list, not within the image itself. Brochures, press-releases, newspaper articles, or web sites should not be submitted and will not be reviewed by the selection panel.

2. Written Materials:

  • Narrative Description: A narrative description Not to exceed two (2) pages including information about: 1) Which of the four opportunities you are applying for described in section IV above; 2) Your approach to the Scope of Services addressing the tasks defined in section II.C above and the opportunities identified in section IV above, and 3)The types of deliverables that you would provide, including sketches, technical drawings, models, electronic presentations, and other visual and written products.

  • Resumes: The current resume(s) of all of the team members involved, including information on background and ability to conduct the tasks listed. Not to exceed two (2) pages per member.

  • Image List: A completed one-page Image List with information on the commissioning entity, dimensions, budget, location and materials for the artwork for each of the 10 images submitted submitted. Not to exceed one (1) page.

  • References: The names, addresses, emails, and daytime phone numbers of three professional references from past projects.

F. Selection Criteria

The criteria listed below will be used for evaluating artist/artist team previous experience, proposed processes and project ideas.

1. Stimulate excellence in urban design and public arts:

  • Is the submission, previous work and/or proposed idea engaging and high quality in concept and construction?

  • Is the quality of the artist’s previous work comparable to other artwork commissioned by the City?

  • Is the artist not over represented in the City’s collection?

  • Does the artist have a significant or engaging body of work?

  • Does the artist have experience collaborating with architects and other professionals?

  • Does the artist have experience with architectural and engineering drawings and methods?

  • Does the artist have experience in comparable projects and artistic disciplines?

2. Enhance community identity and place:

  • Is the artist familiar with the community and setting and its characteristics, including history, identity, geography and cultures?

  • Has the artists’ previous work been appropriate to those communities and settings and the above characteristics?

  • Does the artist have experience integrating artwork into infrastructure and building function?

3. Contribute to community vitality:

  • Has the artists’ previous projects attracted visitors and residents?

  • Does the artists’ previous work or proposed process build capacity between the private and public sectors, artists, arts organizations and community members?

  • Does the artists’ previous work or proposed process encourage civic dialogue about City issues?

  • Do the artists’ previous projects incorporate or address aspects of public safety?

4. Involve a broad range of people/communities:

  • Does the artist have experience working with communities and diverse groups?

  • Does the artist have a demonstrated ability to address ADA regulations as they apply to public art?

  • Does the artists’ previous or proposed process celebrate one or more of the City’s cultural communities?

  • Does the artist have experience in projects that bring people together or create gathering places?

5. Value artists and artistic process:

  • Does the artist have a unique or appropriate cultural, geographic or artistic perspective?

  • Does the proposed project or process appropriately support the integrity of the artwork and the moral rights of the artist?

  • Does the proposed project or design process include the artist and the artistic process as a central element?

6. Use resources wisely:

  • Is the artist’s previous work or proposed project sustainable, secure and technically feasible?

  • Has the artist’s previous work been within the timeline and budget and is the team able to work within the City’s timeline and budget?

G. Selection Panel

The role of the selection panel is to interpret and review team’s previous experience and proposed ideas based on the selection criteria. The panel will include the following representatives: Artist, arts administrator, architect or landscape architect, Arts Commissioner, a project site representative, Public Works staff member, an appropriate community representative, two at-large members.

For the City's General Conditions that apply to this RFP, and for a full color version of the RFP with images, go to:

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