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Call to Artists


Print Media and Literary Leads

A collaboration between the City of Calgary, Loft 112 and Alberta Printmakers


The intention of this Call to Artists is to select artists based on qualifications, experience and references. Design concepts and prices are not required.


The City of Calgary Public Art Program in collaboration with Alberta Printmakers and Loft 112 are seeking up to two professional artists with established literary and / or printmaking and community engagement experience to co-lead a six-week workshop series resulting in the development and execution of temporary utility box artworks on a select corridor.


The Public Art Program has a vision to build a diverse collection and encourages artists working in suitable media to apply. Safety, durability, low maintenance, vandalism resistance and exposure to sunlight and variations in temperature and weather conditions must be considered due to the public nature and usage of the boxes.


Artists should have experience working in public spaces, be able to work within the existing parameters of the site, be able to work collaboratively and have a history of working within set budgets. Previous experience with successful community engagement is required.


The all-inclusive lead artist budget for this project is C$10 000 per lead artist (printmaking, literary)


The submission deadline is Thursday, April 14, 2017 at 4 p.m. MST. No extensions will be granted and late submissions will not be considered. Please read the full call to artists to ensure compliancy with submission requirements. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.


Disbursements will be made throughout the project as per a negotiated schedule of deliverables. The project will be awarded through a two-stage selection panel process. Stage one to short list based on qualifications and stage two for interviews.


Utility Box Program Background


The Utility Box Program started in 2010 as a pilot project initiated by The City of Calgary Roads. Initially conceived as a highly successful graffiti abatement measure, widespread popularity enabled the program to grow and become permanent in 2011. The City is now expanding the opportunity to include community partners and engage more artists and citizens. Since 2010, over 200 utility box public artworks have been created by local artists throughout Calgary. In 2015 the program took a corridor approach to create a stronger presence in communities. Those corridors are selected by the project team on a priority and accessibility basis.


The Utility Box Program is designed to use the funding for regular lifecycle maintenance of City assets in a creative way. Working with student artists, professional artists and community groups, the program allows for these street-level artworks to add vibrancy to our cityscape, while creating a sense of place and identity for communities. These public artworks are not intended to be permanent but as a temporary canvas through which artists and community members can express themselves and their identity.


Utility Box Mentorship Background


To develop capacity and interest among local artists to create public artwork in Calgary, the Utility Box Program, Loft 112 and the Alberta Printmakers are joining efforts to create a mentorship program. Up to two lead artists will be hired upon his/her ability to bring new ideas, skills and expertise to the selected mentees.


The lead artists will be responsible for implementing workshops and programming, and will also develop the theme, medium and concept for an entire utility box corridor (10 to 15 boxes) creating a consistent body of work. Up to 10 artist mentees will participate in the workshops and, once complete, the lead artists and participants will work together as a group to design the utility box artworks for the chosen corridor. The artist group will engage with the communities where the utility boxes are located throughout the design period in order to create works of art that are meaningful to these communities.


Public Art Project Goals


 Support a diversity of artistic practices by exploring new mediums for the Utility Box Program.

 Support local artists and art organizations by offering workshop and mentorship opportunities.

 Understand the communities along the selected corridor and their identifying features, values and character.

 Involve the communities, in some way, in the development of the artwork.

 Interpret these elements into public artworks for the utility boxes assigned.


Public Art Project – Objectives


 Lead artists will develop a series of workshops for the selected mentees in order to explore concepts and content for the artworks while teaching new skills and/or techniques.

 Lead artists will develop programming that creatively engages a sense of place for the communities along the selected corridor. Lead artists may choose to invite the public at large to programming opportunities

 Lead artists’ team will develop a consistent body of artworks on utility boxes using print and literary techniques for the selected corridor.


Public Art Project Outcomes


 Increase the number of applications from local artists to Public Art Program calls.

 Offer Calgary artists the opportunity to gain new skills.

 Create up to 15 new utility box artworks. Site Considerations The utility box corridor is yet to be determined. The corridor will be selected based on accessibility (i.e. near a community centre and located in a walkable area) and will have 10 to 15 boxes available for artworks.


Site Considerations


 Artwork should last 3 to 5 years.

 Artist should ensure that the materials used and the designs created are graffiti deterrent.

 Artworks created by the artist group should be related in some way (by theme, concept, materials, etc.)

 Artwork should be easy to view by car as well as on foot.


Scope of Public Art Opportunities


 Lead artists must be able to work with communities and engage with the public.

 Lead artists should be knowledgeable in print and literary techniques and should be able to bring new skills or explore new concepts with members of Alberta Printmakers.

 Lead artists must be able to lead group workshops.

 Consideration will be given to artists who will address the diversity of the community.

 Consideration will be given to artists who will be able to re-define print and literary techniques within a public art context.  Artwork must meet design criteria for the Utility Box Program.

 Lead artists will assist in the selection of mentees taking part in the program.


Artist Mentorship Opportunity

Eight to ten artists and writers will be hired as mentees through The City’s Standard Procedure.


Community Engagement Opportunity


As a vital part of this project, the artists will be expected to understand and interpret the use of the site. Public art community engagement considerations include:


 The opportunity for community residents to be involved during the artist selection process, by serving on the selection panel and during the initial artist visit.

 The artists will be expected to work with the community to identify and plan opportunities for the community to be engaged in a participatory way throughout the project.

 The artists will be expected to develop an engagement plan that identifies opportunities for the stakeholders involved with this project.


Project Team

The successful artists will work closely with each other and members of The City’s project team, which includes but may not be limited to:

 A Public Art Program staff who will act as the main contact and liaison for the project.  Calgary Neighbourhoods representatives

 Roads representatives

 Centre City representatives

 Alberta Printmakers and Loft 112 designated staff

 Community representatives.

Approvals The conceptual design will need to be approved by the project team. The artists should not advance beyond any stage (e.g. concept, design, fabrication, installation or remediation) without advanced permission from The City.




The total, all-inclusive artist budget for this public art project is C$10 000 per lead artist * and includes (but is not limited to) costs associated with the delivery of the public art project such as:


 artist fees (including artist design, research, administration, supervision and studio expenses) project management for the duration of the project

 travel

 concept plan and mentorship

 production oversight

 community engagement

 installation plan

 contingency


Disbursements will be made throughout the project as per a negotiated schedule of deliverables.


*Materials, documentation, site preparation and production costs will be provided separately and are not the responsibility of the artists within this budget.


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