Call for Artists, Public Sculpture

City of Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

NEW APPLICATION DEADLINE: August 31, 2017 11:59


Eligibility is open to professional, practicing artists/teams who reside in California. Entries not meeting eligibility guidelines will be withdrawn from consideration.


The City of Berkeley, in collaboration with the Downtown Berkeley Association, is reissuing this Request for Proposals to California-based artists interested in exhibiting an existing sculpture for a period of approximately one year in the newly renovated Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza which will open to the public near January 2018.

This project proposal was originally sent out for the month of June 2017 with the projected opening of the BART Plaza set for November 2017. Since then, BART has projected the construction to be completed by January 2018, allowing the Civic Arts Commission more leniency on the duration of the Call for Artists. This reissuance will allow more applicants to join those who have already applied, increasing the diversity of sculptures available to the Berkeley community. 

With over 40,000 commuters a day, plus a steady amount of pedestrians streaming through downtown, the new Downtown Berkeley BART plaza will offers an exciting high-profile opportunity for an artist to display an existing artwork in this important civic space.   The renovated BART plaza will serve an important place-making function for the downtown area and will improve access for residents, employees, students and visitors.

The Downtown Berkeley BART Station and plaza are in the heart of Berkeley's Arts District, an area rich with live theatre, music, dance, visual and cinematic arts. The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theater, U.C. Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, The Jazz Conservatory, and the East Bay Media Center are all within a few blocks of the plaza. Moviegoers enjoy a variety of independent and popular films as well as special film festivals sponsored by nearby theaters. The soon-to-be-rebuilt Civic Center Garage will have an installation art display gallery built into its entrance. U.C. Berkeley and the Greek Theatre are within walking distance of the plaza.


The project budget for the temporary sculpture display is $25,000 inclusive of all associated costs such as artist fee, transportation of artwork to and from the project site, installation and deinstallation costs, as well as any required engineering, permit and insurance costs. The selected artist must engage a professional, licensed art handler or contractor for the installation and deinstallation of the sculpture.


The display of the sculpture will begin sometime near January 2018 and will continue for approximately one year. The project schedule is subject to change.


The entire plaza has been designed to support artwork weighing up to 25,000 pounds. Given this flexibility the artwork may be installed at the location deemed most appropriate by the City in consultation with the artist. Placement considerations will include pedestrian flow as well as maximum visibility of the artwork.


  • Complete application submitted by the application deadline.
  • Artwork examples submitted represent the artist's own original creative work.
  • The artist's work reflects artistic excellence, innovation and originality, as evidenced by professional quality of craftsmanship and mastery of skills, techniques; professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communicate a unique vision or perspective.
  • The artwork should be suitable for a public setting. It should speak to a broad and diverse audience, and remain interesting and appealing throughout its time on display.
  • The work is fabricated in materials appropriate for public display in an outdoor environment and is in exhibition ready condition. The artwork must be made of durable materials, be structurally sound and conform to ADA standards.
  • The artist's professional experience is adequate to meet the demands of the project. Qualifying activities would include some combination of the following:  education and training as an artist, an exhibition record in museums, commercial art galleries, and/or non-profit art spaces, previous public or private commissions: participation in artist-in-residency programs, or other related activities indicative of a professional art practice .
  • The artist is available to oversee the handling, installation and deinstallation of his/her work.
  • Assessed ability to meet project deadlines and to perform work in a timely and professional manner.


Artwork Selection Panel: The applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of representatives from Civic Arts Commission, DBA and arts professionals to identify one artwork and one alternate to be recommended for approval for the project opportunity. 

Civic Arts Commission Approval: The panel's recommendations will be presented to the Civic Arts Commission for approval. 


RFP Posted

August 1, 2017

Application Deadline

August 31, 2017

Selection Panel convenes to select artwork

September 10, 2017

Commission Approval of Artist/Artwork

September 27, 2017

Contract Executed

October 23, 2017

Engineering and Permits

November 20, 2017

Artwork Installed

Before projected January 2018 BART Opening

Artwork Deinstalled

10 to 12 months after Opening Date



You can view a PDF of the listing here.

All application materials must be submitted online via Submittable ( by August 31, 2017, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.  Applications sent via email or post will not be considered. Application materials include:

Application Requirements:

• Images: A maximum of 6 images, per artist or artist team, of existing artworks available for display. May submit multiple entries in those 6 maximum images.

• Annotated image list with descriptions including title, medium, dimensions, year, and retail value (for insurance purposes) for each work. You may also include a brief statement (2 sentences maximum) about each work, including where the work has been previously exhibited.

• Brief letter of interest (3000 character limit)

• A current resume, per applicant, not to exceed 3,000 characters that highlights professional accomplishments, particularly as relates to this art project. Applicants working as a team will also be limited to 4,000 characters total.

• Three professional references, including phone and email contact information per applicant.

Please do not include letters of reference.

• If applying as a team, indicate the name and contact information of the team's representative. 

There is no application fee to apply or to use the Submittable ( online application system.  To view the application, go here ( and sign up for an account. The chosen artist will need to complete a contract with the City of Berkeley for Temporary Artist display.


Please look through the informational page ( before contacting the Civic Arts staff.

FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING APPLICATION SUBMITTAL, contact Jessica Moreno, Civic Arts Intern: [email protected] 

FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RFP, contact Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator:

(510) 981-7533, [email protected]

*This project is being administered by the City of Berkeley. Please do not contact BART.

All information contained herein does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract, and these provisions are subject to change.

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