By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,514)
The Portland Public Art Committee is posting an open call for artists for a major public art commission in the heart of our arts district in downtown Portland. At the same time, the City is posting a Request for qualifications (RFQ) for redesign of Congress Square. This is a unique opportunity for an artist and designer to work collaboratively at the onset and throughout the project.
Information about both RFQs (Congress Square Public Art Commission RFQ-Bid # 3016 and Congress Square Redesign – Bid # 3916) will be posted on the City of Portland website (http://www.portlandmaine.gov/1034/BidsRFP-Search). To obtain a copy of the RFQ you must contact the City Purchasing Office at 207 – 874-8654 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals from artists or designers not registered with the Purchasing Office may be rejected. Should a vendor receive this Request from a source other than the City, please contact 207 – 874-8654 to ensure that your firm is listed as a vendor for this RFQ.
Congress Square is the heart of the Arts District and a center of activity for neighborhood residents and the arts community attending the First Friday Art Walk and events coordinated by the Friends of Congress Square Park. The Square also provides an important first impression for visitors to the Portland Museum of Art and the Westin Hotel and serves as a neighborhood open space for surrounding residents according to a press release from the city.
In 2012, the Public Art Committee selected the Square as the next site for a major public art acquisition and has saved funds since that time for this project. Since 2013, the Friends of Congress Square Park has made dramatic improvements to the public open space by deploying temporary furniture and art installations, events programming and taking on the responsibility of park maintenance and stewardship.
In 2014, the Friends of Congress Square Park, working with Project for Public Spaces, was awarded the Southwest Heart of the Community grant to fund its activities and collect data on the use of the park. The group now has a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the City to act as placemaking managers providing amenities and events. The results from these efforts are incorporated into the work plan for the project moving forward.
The proposed public art commission budget is a minimum of $503,000 which includes an artist fee of $125,000. The submission deadline is Thursday, January 28, 2016 by 3:00 pm EST according to a press release by Lin Lisberger, Chair, Portland Public Art Committee.