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Sunday, July 12, 2015

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: Phase One of the Wayfinding Project

The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA), in partnership with REV Birmingham (REV) and the City of Birmingham (COB), is seeking proposals from artists and artist collectives residing in the Southeast* for a sculpture to be developed and integrated into a comprehensive wayfinding system that is currently being designed for downtown Birmingham.

This call seeks to identify an artist or artist collective for Phase One of the wayfinding project who will: 1) develop a concept for a large scale sculpture that will serve as an artistic gateway sculpture in the Birmingham Wayfinding System; 2) produce a prototype of the sculpture that will be used to fundraise for Phase Two: full implementation of the Birmingham Wayfinding System.

This call is open to all artists and artist collectives over the age of 18 who currently reside in the Southeast*. No 501c3 nonprofit organizations or religious institutions may apply.

Artist(s) will receive up to $25,000 to produce a prototype, which includes: artist’s stipend and travel, project materials, construction, and delivery of work of art to Birmingham.

Application form and required materials must be submitted at by July 31, 2015 at 5pm Central Time. No exceptions. Please see the following pages for application procedures and submission guidelines.

*Southeast is being defined as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee based on South Arts’ designation of the region. Applicants must currently reside in one of these states to apply.

The Birmingham Museum of Art, in partnership with REV Birmingham and the City of Birmingham, has been awarded an “Our Town” grant by the National Endowment for the Arts to develop an artistic wayfinding system for downtown Birmingham. REV, BMA, and COB have hired KPS Group (KPS) to lead the design of the wayfinding system. This system will include a “family” of signs (gateway sculpture, vehicular directional signs, pedestrian signs, kiosks, and banners). Phase One of the project includes: KPS creating the overall wayfinding system plan and developing a total implementation budget; selection of an artist or artist collective to develop a concept to serve as a gateway sculpture in the Birmingham Wayfinding System; construction of prototype of the gateway sculpture by the selected artist or artist collective to be used for Phase Two fundraising and full implementation.

The Artistic Gateway Sculpture is anticipated to be one of several gateway elements that, over time, will mark the entrances to Downtown Birmingham, Alabama from Red Mountain Expressway, Interstate 20/59 and I-65. The family of Gateways has the potential to develop in a number of ways. Each of the gateways may be completely unique, or they may carry a common design theme, or be duplications.

The Artistic Gateway Sculpture will inspire the comprehensive Artistic Wayfinding System for downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Elements of the system will include vehicular directional signs, pedestrian signs, kiosks, and banners.

The Artistic Gateway Sculpture shall reflect the unique identity, culture, and character of the City of Birmingham. The artist or artist collective is encouraged to be unique and creative, yet mindful of the primary purpose of wayfinding and the safety of the general public.

  *   The gateway sculpture shall be located in the general vicinity of the intersection of 2nd Ave North and 26th Street in Birmingham, Alabama. The exact location is at the artist or artist collective’s discretion as it relates to his/her design concept.
  *   The gateway sculpture shall be of sufficient height to make a strong visual statement (anticipated to be within the general range of twenty (20) to forty (40) feet), shall be visible to westbound motorists on the Red Mountain Expressway, and shall clearly indicate the concept of gateway.
  *   The gateway sculpture shall be generally visible from multiple directions.
  *   The width of the sculpture shall be of sufficient dimension to achieve the purpose of thesculpture, and sufficient to support the vertical dimension.
  *   The gateway sculpture shall not overhang the roadway, unless it provides a minimum 16 foot vertical clearance from the roadway.
  *   The gateway sculpture shall comply with all governing laws and ordinances regarding safety and public rights of way.
  *   Materials shall be durable, exterior grade, with non-corrosive fasteners, etc.
  *   Safety, durability and maintenance shall be key considerations.
  *   The gateway sculpture shall be visible and legible to motorists during both daytime and nighttime hours. Creative exterior lighting concepts are encouraged and should be considered during the development of design concepts; however the artist or artist collective is not expected to provide exterior lighting design or engineering.
  *   Contextual design elements, such as landscape, lighting, and other environmental features shall be taken into consideration during conceptual design; however the artist or artist collective is not expected to provide a full multi-disciplinary design team.

Birmingham, Alabama is a rapidly growing city currently undergoing a cultural renaissance. New attractions including the award-winning Railroad Park and Regions Field have helped draw an influx of new residents to the city center, while new generations of retailers and restaurateurs are contributing to the vibrancy of the downtown area. Nearly one million people live in the metro area, approximately 9,000 people live in the city center, and an additional 1,500 residents are projected to move into new units in the next few years. An estimated 2 million people visit downtown Birmingham attractions each year, while an estimated 75,000 people commute to jobs downtown.

Currently, visitors and residents experience downtown Birmingham disjointedly. This was strongly noted in the recently adopted “Birmingham Comprehensive Plan”, the first such plan for Birmingham in 60 years. Both visitors and residents have expressed a desire for increased connectivity, wayfinding, and public art in the city; and the Comprehensive Plan recommends the development of a wayfinding system so that those who travel through the city center, whether multiple times a day or for the first time, can creatively connect Birmingham businesses, cultural districts, and historic landmarks.


Phase One Selection Process
Round One
Online application form and required materials must be submitted at<> by July 31, 2015 at 5pm Central Time. Details for required materials included in online application form.

  *   Online application form
  *   Statement of interest
  *   Description of proposed concept
  *   Preliminary drawings
  *   Resume
  *   Ten (10) digital images of previous work
  *   Annotated image list

A selection panel including representatives from REV, BMA, COB and other community partners will review qualifications and proposals and select up to ten (10) finalists for Round Two.

Round Two
Finalists will be given three weeks and $250 each to prepare the following:

  *   Final project concept description
  *   Final drawings and/or renderings
  *   Detailed budget with line itemized expenses

The selection panel will review submissions and finalists will be required to respond to follow-up questions. Please note: finalists may be asked to present developed concept in person or by skype. One of the ten finalists will be selected by the committee to further develop and construct a prototype of the sculpture.

Round Three
The selected finalist will be given six weeks and up to $25,000 to produce a prototype. Funding shall cover artists’ stipend and travel, project materials, construction, and delivering work of art to Birmingham per the budget prepared during Round Two.

Phase One Selection Criteria

Projects should support one or more of the priorities identified by key stakeholders, which includes fulfilling the public’s expressed desire for connectivity, wayfinding, and public art and creatively connecting businesses, cultural districts, and landmarks in the city. Applicants must be able to:

  *   Complete the online application form and sufficiently address all questions outlined in this Call
  *   Show established record of completed projects
  *   Illustrate and implement technical skill in producing the proposed work of art


July 31, 2015
Round One deadline for receipt of application materials

August 14, 2015
Review of application materials and selection of up to 10 finalists

September 4, 2015
Round Two deadline for finalists to submit materials

September 25, 2015
Review of proposals and selection of 1 [ONE] artist/artist collective

November 6, 2015
Selected artist/artist collective’s artwork complete and delivered to Birmingham


Proposals must be submitted via the project website No submissions will be accepted by email, mail or hand delivery.

The project website will require you to COMPLETE AN ONLINE APPLICATION FORM and UPLOAD the following documents as PDFs except for the ten (10) digital images. Images should be formatted as JPGs. Maximum size for each file is 2 megabytes.

  1.  STATEMENT OF INTEREST briefly describing your interest in this project, any relevant past experience/projects, and how you would approach the design process (No more than one page)
  2.  DESCRIPTION of proposed concept (No more than one page)
  3.  PRELIMINARY DRAWINGS and sketches of the concept
  4.  RESUME (No more than five pages)
  5.  TEN [10] DIGITAL IMAGES of previous work. Each image file must be titled first with the number of the image in the order to be viewed followed by the lead contact’s last name (for example: 01_Smith, 02_Smith, etc). DO NOT embed images into a PDF, PowerPoint or other document

Acceptable digital images must be:
Dimensions: Minimum 800 x 600, Maximum 1600 x 1200
File Format: JPG at 72 DPI
[Do not use Progressive JPGs, GIFs, or TIFFs]

  6.  ANNOTATED IMAGE LIST that includes the lead contact’s name as a heading and a brief description of each image, including title, date, medium, dimensions

Application materials will only be accepted via by July 31, 2015, 5pm (CT). No exceptions. Proposals submitted by any other means (mail, email, hand delivery) will not be considered.


The mission of the Birmingham Museum of Art is to provide an unparalleled cultural and educational experience to a diverse community by collecting, presenting, interpreting, and preserving works of art of the highest quality.

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