Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Indiana Bicentennial Plaza: Call to Artists

Public Art Project
Indiana Bicentennial Plaza-2 sculptures
Budget: $150,000-$500,000 USD per sculpture
Eligibility: All artists 18+ residing in the U.S.
DEADLINE: Monday, July 13, 2015, 11:59 P.M. EST

The Indiana General Assembly in 2015 appropriated funds to the Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) for the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Indiana’s statehood. For historical information regarding the Bicentennial, please visit
Bicentennial Plaza is intended to be a physical, lasting legacy of the bicentennial celebration. This site will offer a place for Hoosiers from around the state of Indiana and visitors to the State House to enjoy for years to come.
By placement of two unique site-specific sculptures in Bicentennial Plaza the IDOA wishes to pay tribute to the history and culture of Indiana and to activate a central civic plaza to encourage civic participation and interaction for Indiana's citizens and an attraction for visitors to the state.  The sculptures will be accessible at all times to everyone.
The Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) is responsible for providing support services to other agencies.  Design and construction services are centrally managed by IDOA’s Public Works Division.  The Bicentennial Plaza and the selected artwork will be managed and maintained by IDOA’s Facilities Management Division.  The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) is acting as IDOA’s advocate in the engagement with the arts community.  MKSK Studios is IDOA’s landscape architect for Bicentennial Plaza. The selected artist or artist team for the commission will collaborate with IDOA, MKSK, IAC staff and others regarding engineering specifications, exact location and all details pertaining to the final approved design and placement of the sculpture.

The sculptures will be located on the new Bicentennial Plaza now under construction west of the Indiana State House in downtown Indianapolis. The entire plaza, including artwork, is scheduled for completion October 1, 2016.  The space designated for each sculpture is a 40 feet by 70 feet section of hardscape.

The Plaza will be located at the intersection of Robert D. Orr Plaza and Senate Avenue on the west side of the Indiana State House (Enter “300 Robert D. Orr Plaza, Indianapolis, IN” in Google Maps).  At the center of Bicentennial Plaza will be a fountain with a series of sprays, a walkable reflecting surface, and a series of internally illuminated seating blocks. One sculpture will be placed to the north and the other sculpture to the south of the fountain, reflecting the themes of Enduring Flame and Living Time Capsule respectively (descriptions below). Both artworks will be separated from the fountain by a small garden.

The future plaza, situated over a tunnel, is currently open to automobile traffic but will soon be treated as an exclusively pedestrian area open to motorized vehicles only in case of emergency.

Through the Call URL you will find:

  • Images of the site in its current state
  • The plaza design in pdf format
  • The fountain design in pdf format
  • Dimensions of the plaza
  • Dimensions of the sculpture sites
  • Photographs of the surrounding architecture and area
ARTIST'S BUDGET – up to $150,000 per sculpture. The artist budget may increase up to $500,000 per sculpture through a recent funding opportunity.  IDOA will determine the final budget August 1, 2015.  Finalists will be selected immediately following the funding determination.  Please state in your letter of interest your willingness to work at either or both levels. 
The artist budget will include research, design, materials, fabrication, transportation, shipping, installation, structural engineering, insurance, travel (except for finalist site visit), project documentation, taxes, contingency to cover unexpected costs and any other expenses directly related to the sculpture itself.
Site preparation and lighting will be provided by IDOA/MKSK within reasonable expectations unless lighting is an intrinsic part of the sculpture, in which case it must be included in the artist's budget


This opportunity is open to practicing professional artists over 18 living in the U.S. and working with durable materials. Preference will be given to artists who have a relationship with the State of Indiana (i.e., were born here, or lived, worked or attended school or college in the State). In your letter of intent, please articulate this relationship, if any.


Both artworks will be displayed for free enjoyment 24 hours a day  and viewed by Bicentennial Plaza visitors of all ages.  They should equally engage and be appropriate for the 4th grade students that regularly visit the grounds on field trips, state employees and campus visitors of all ages.  Because Bicentennial Plaza will be a pedestrian space, it should be scaled and detailed appropriately for the pedestrian audience.

Bicentennial Plaza will be located within the grounds of the Indiana Government Center and adjacent to the historic Indiana State House.  The selected pieces should be respectful of their surroundings and complement the site. The artwork should not mimic the surrounding historic elements but should be a contributing element to the collective site.

Artists are encouraged to think of a government plaza as a site for citizen interest and participation. Public art creates meaningful and authentic connections for residents and visitors, and provides a setting for conversation, contemplation, sometimes comfort.  It often becomes an integral part of the local culture and community and offers a source of pride. 

For the Bicentennial Plaza two themes with lasting meaning to the State have been identified:

Sculpture 1. North Sculpture: Enduring Flame
The Indiana Bicentennial will include a torch relay that travels through every Indiana county and concludes at Bicentennial Plaza.  A gold torch is the central element in the Indiana flag.  It represents liberty and enlightenment; the rays around the torch represent their far-reaching influence. The nineteen stars represent Indiana's place as the nineteenth state to join the United States. The thirteen stars in the outer loop symbolize the original Thirteen Colonies, the five inner stars represent the next five states added to the Union, and the one large star above the torch represents Indiana.  An eternal flame was considered for the Bicentennial Plaza, but because of issues with constructability and security, the use of natural gas or liquid propane was prohibited.  The proposed artwork will stand in lieu of an eternal flame and provide an enduring and meaningful symbol for Hoosiers, much like the torch in the Indiana flag.

Sculpture 2. Living Time Capsule 
Major events are frequently marked by the dedication of a time capsule which provides a snapshot of that moment in time.  This work of art is intended as a living "time capsule" that will represent, incorporate or symbolize all of Indiana’s 92 counties .  Hoosiers are a diverse mix of people and Indiana is home to wooded hills and sandy dunes, high bluffs and flat river valleys.  It is urban and rural, big city and small town, industrial and agricultural.  The proposed artwork will stand in lieu of a time capsule, simultaneously commemorating the diversity of Indiana's 92 counties and the commonality that calls their residents Hoosiers.


All applicants are expected to consider the issues of long-term conservation and maintenance.  Both sculptures will be located in the public realm and may therefore be exposed to weather and physical stress. Finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator or materials expert prior to the submission of a final proposal. The two final selected artists' proposals will be reviewed by an engineer selected by IDOA to ensure conformity with standards of maintenance and durability, as well as ADA standards.  The artist must provide stamped documents from an Indiana-licensed structural engineer to be approved by the IDOA prior to commencement of fabrication


IDOA is committed to providing two completed sculptures which will be made of durable materials that do not require constant vigilance or maintenance. Up to three finalists per project will be selected based on merits of past work, relevance of their work and approach to this situation, quality of materials, feasibility, demonstrated experience and ability to meet the required deadline for project completion (this will be a critical consideration during the selection process). 

A particular concept is not required at this time; however, in the letter of interest it will be important to describe your interest in creating a work of art that would provide lasting meaning and relevance for this location and one or both themes. The Selection Committee will choose as finalists those artists that demonstrate an appropriate sensibility for a work of art in this particular location. 

Up to three artists/artist teams will be selected for each sculpture as finalists. Those selected will receive more specific information regarding the site and will be invited to visit the site and meet with project representatives between August 7 and 21, 2015. In your letter of interest please note whether or not you are available for a site visit during those times.  Travel and accommodations will be reimbursed at a reasonable rate.

Finalists will be required to submit full proposals and detailed to-scale physical or electronic models by September 9, 2015.  (More information and detailed expectations will be provided to the selected finalists.)  Finalists will be notified by September 14, 2015 about the outcome of the final review.

The selection panel seeks finalists that demonstrate, through their letter of interest and relevant images of past works that they have the experience, ability and interest in providing sculpture that may be successfully integrated into the overall design concept of the plaza.  The selected artist(s) must also state their willingness and availability to adhere to the time schedule as presented in this request for qualifications. 

After the initial review, up to three finalists for each project will be selected to fully realize the proposal.  The finalist stipend provided will be 1% of the budgeted amount offered. The Selection Committee will include project stakeholders and a minimum of three arts professionals from several parts of Indiana.  Other relevant professionals may review the works in an advising role (e.g. engineers, landscape architects).  

IDOA/MKSK reserves the right to contract with one or more artists, or to refuse a contract with any artist. The committee reserves the right to withhold, delay or re-issue the Request for Qualifications for this project.

Please read this section carefully. An incomplete application could result in your work not being considered.  Your name must appear on all materials.

Materials will be accepted only through the CaFÉ™ website ( There is no application fee to apply or to use this system.

To be considered for either sculpture please send the following with your name clearly on each item.  Make sure to include all of your current contact information in your letter and bio sheet.  If you are submitting as a team, you will need to submit the resume/bio for each member of the team.

Statement of approach and interest, not to exceed one page, describing your interest in this project and why you believe your work and approach would be appropriate. Also please state whether you could meet the goals of the project within the proposed timeline.  If you are applying for both opportunities you may address each project separately in the letter.  Please state how you first heard about this artist opportunity.  If you have a relationship with Indiana describe that relationship in this letter. Indicate your willingness to work at either or both budget levels. 

  • Ten clearly titled and numbered digital (jpg only) images of previous completed artworks (2 detail shots okay to include in the 10). Please fill in the required information for each uploaded image.  
  • Current Brief Resume not to exceed two pages labeled as follows: Last Name_First Initial_Resume.  If you are submitting as a team, include a one-page resume for each member of the team within your two-page document.
  • List of 3 references with their current contact information, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses
The completion of the Bicentennial Plaza will occur by October 1, 2016.  Selected artists will be expected to adhere to this deadline. 


  • Monday, July 13, 11:59 P.M. EST  Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)
  • Thursday, August 6 - Finalists selected
  • August 10-21 - Finalists visits to Indianapolis
  • September 9 - Proposals/models due in Indianapolis
  • October 15 - Engineering of sculpture and foundation provided by artist for approval
  • July 30, 2016 - Completion deadline for installation of sculpture - no exceptions

Please direct all questions about this project to:
Mary Kramer
Please note “Indiana Bicentennial Sculpture” in subject heading.
Phone: 812-240-0736

For assistance applying through the Café system, click here.  For technical assistance with the application, contact Adrian Starnes at or 317-232-1278.

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