Call Detail
Washington St. Underpass Public Art Project-San Juan Bautista, CA
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Contact Email:
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Entry Deadline: 4/29/22
Application Closed
Number of Applications Allowed: 5
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 10
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 10
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: California
Budget: 160,000

Project Background

Launched by Governor Newsom as part of his California Comeback Plan, Clean California is investing $1.1 billion for state and local governments to clean up trash and debris statewide, beautify community gateways and public areas along highways, streets and roads, and to provide good jobs to thousands of Californians.

A Clean California Beautification Project at the State Route 156 and Washington Street. underpass in the City of San Juan Bautista, “The City of History,” is currently underway and is seeking artists for the installation of new public art.  Washington Street is a low-volume vehicle corridor, and a pedestrian and bicycle route which links downtown San Juan Bautista with adjacent neighborhoods and a future planned community park.

The San Benito County Arts Council, together with Caltrans and the City of San Juan Bautista, is administering a Call for Artists and/or Artist Team to submit their qualifications to create and install a mural on the exterior façade and interior vertical walls of the underpass (see Site Plan-Figures 1, 2, and 3), as well as 2D or 3D site-specific elements, integrated with the theme and style of the mural, to be incorporated into concrete slope paving areas which will be installed beneath the underpass (see Site Plan-Figures 4 and 5). Click HERE to download a pdf version of RFQ Description and Guidelines.

Community Public Art Survey Results

  • To engage the local community in this project, a community input survey was distributed to San Juan Bautista residents in February 2022, revealing the following artwork preferences:
  • Respondents favored realistic representation (58%) in the artwork, followed by whimsical styles (26%) and abstract styles (16%)
  • Respondents favored the depiction of local stories and histories (48%), followed by the natural world and the environment (42%) and diverse communities and cultures (38%)
  • Overwhelming preference for a painted mural (80%), followed by mosaic tile (41%), metal installations (21%) or sculpture (16%)
  • Warm colors and earth tones were found more appealing that cool tones or vibrant colors

      Recurring artwork themes included:

  • Indigenous peoples, native plants and wildlife
  • San Juan Bautista’s cultural influences including El Teatro Campesino, Day of the Dead, the Californio period and Chicano muralism
  • Current and historic agriculture and farmland, farm animals, mountains and hills, trees
  • Children, joy and hope

Artwork Qualities

  • Aesthetics. Artwork must be of high aesthetic quality, including consideration of content, craftsmanship, uniqueness and relevance to the mural’s location.
  • Thematic Responsiveness. Artwork must compliment the character of the neighborhood and be responsive to the themes and styles identified in the community public art survey.  Submissions of artwork that are overtly sexual, political or religious in nature will not be reviewed by the review panel.
  • Artist Experience. Artwork must be the work of artists or artist teams who can demonstrate experience with past works, especially with large-scale public art projects.
  • Durability. Artwork must be comprised of durable and safe materials that can withstand long-term exposure in an outdoor environment, be resistant to vandalism, and be mindful of maintenance requirements.  Specific product types and brands, such as primer, paint, sealer or other materials placed on the underpass structure, will require approval by Caltrans prior to installation.
  • Concept Quality. Artwork must exemplify artistic excellence and creativity and must be a completely original concept.
  • Technical Practicality. Artwork must be feasible to install as proposed, in consideration of site and structure characteristics, and appropriate for public viewing, use and access.
  • Caltrans Requirements. Artwork must conform to Caltrans Transportation Art Guidelines, including all required copyright waivers.

General Specifications

Mural artwork must cover approximately 3,150 square feet of surface area, including the North and South Façades and the East and West Inside Walls of the underpass (see Site Plan-Attachment 1).  Proposals must also include additional compatible aesthetic elements or features to be incorporated into the planned slope paving areas.  Slope paving elements must fit within slope paving limits but do not need to cover the entire area (see Site Plan-Attachment 1).  Proposed slope paving elements may require adaptation, as directed by Caltrans, for engineering purposes.  The design may not include the underpass ceiling.

Proposals that consider the general context and translate well from various viewing angles will be given preference over those that consider only the immediate pedestrian perspective.  Proposals must include each of the four (4) primary viewpoints (looking north and south from Washington Street at the outer facades and east and west on the inside walls of the underpass).

Artist applicants must review Caltrans Transportation Art Guidelines (see Site Plan-Attachment 2) and ensure that design submissions conform to all artwork requirements.  Applicants must read, acknowledge and accept the Rules and Terms when responding to this RFP.

Note: The terms of the contract are non-negotiable and failure to accept the terms of the contract will result in disqualification from the project at the proposal phase.  Moreover:

  • Selected artists will be required to waive their rights of integrity to commissioned artwork as pertains to its removal or repair as set forth in the California Art Preservation Act and the Visual Artists Rights Act and as described under the Caltrans Transportation Art Guidelines.
  • All artwork materials must have a minimum lifespan of five (5) years as specified in the Public Art License Agreement, and artists or artist teams must be prepared, if selected, to provide a maintenance plan for the work as part of the final submission.


The total budget for this project is $160,000.  Budget is inclusive of all costs including but not limited to concept refinement and adaptation as required by Caltrans, site preparation, materials, tools and equipment, artist fees, insurance, and travel.

Review and Selection Criteria

  • Artistic Merit. The aesthetic quality of the artist’s past work, including content, craftsmanship, uniqueness and relevance to its environment.
  • Experience. The degree to which the artist’s past work relates to the goals and parameters of the Washington Street Underpass Public Art Project.
  • Ability. The artist’s demonstrated ability to translate art concepts into durable and safe materials that can withstand long-term exposure in an outdoor environment.
  • Project Sustainability. Evidence that artist’s existing public artworks have maintained an appropriate level of quality and integrity over time.
  • Teamwork. Artist’s demonstrated ability to work successfully as a member of a project design team and ability to work within public review processes.
  • Concept Quality. Artistic excellence, creativity and originality of the proposal concept.
  • Compliance with Goals. The artist's response to the stated goals of the project, including the physical, geographical, and ecological relationship of the artwork/installation to the site.
  • Technical Practicality. The technical feasibility of the proposed artwork/installation, including minimum maintenance requirements, resistance to vandalism and appropriateness for public use and access.
  • Budget (Completeness, not Lowest Bid). An evaluation of the proposed budget, including: 1) its feasibility for the nature and scope of the project, and 2) an analysis of whether the artist has done appropriate research and obtained viable cost estimates from subcontractors and suppliers.
  • References. Professional references that positively attest to the artist’s ability to undertake public art projects of this size and scope.

Review panel will consist of 7 members. Up to 3 Finalists will be selected for virtual interviews to be scheduled between May 9th- May 20th and will be given a $500 stipend to prepare for the interviews. The final selected artist will be notified by May 23rd.


April 29, 2022RFQ submissions due
May 2-6, 2022Formal review by public art selection committee
May 9-20, 2022Finalists notified & virtual interviews scheduled
May 23, 2022Selected artist notified
May 23 - 31, 2022Selected artist to review/sign contract with Caltrans
June - Nov 2022*Artist to develop final design in collaboration with Caltrans
Nov 2022Construction begins; Artist invoices begin to be submitted
Nov - Dec 2022Coordination with Construction Contractor


Jan - June 2023

Artwork installation (exact dates of installation will be determined after project construction work is awarded and are subject to change within this time period)
June 2023Community Celebration

*FINAL DESIGN (Selected artist will be asked to create the following between June-Nov. 2022)

Visual proposal including:

  • Detailed, well-rendered, color concepts - hand drawn or computer-generated simulation - of the proposed mural, appropriately labeled and corresponding to each primary structure location shown on Attachment 1.
  • Detailed, well-rendered, color concept - hand drawn or computer-generated simulation - of the artistic elements proposed for the slope paving areas, appropriately labeled with placement shown to scale for the slope paving areas shown on Attachment 1.

Narrative proposal including:

  • Proposed artwork title
  • Brief description of concept and inspirations for the artwork
  • Color palette
  • Materials description and product cut sheets
  • List of tools and equipment to be used (including storage if required)
  • Maintenance plan

Proposed project budget including separate line items for:

  • Artist(s) Design Fees including concept refinement and construction coordination
  • Materials and Tools
  • Equipment Rentals (if any)
  • Site Preparation and Installation
  • Site Clean-up
  • Travel (if any)
  • Insurance

Proposed project Schedule including separate line items for:

  • Design Coordination and Finalizing Artwork
  • Installation schedule – hours per day, number of days, interim days (if any for drying time or other similar breaks in on-site installation time).  Final day of work must be before June 20, 2023.


Please direct questions about the project to Jennifer Laine, Executive Director, San Benito County Arts Council at or 831-636-2787. Click HERE to download a pdf version of RFQ Description and Guidelines

Direct all questions related to use of the online call for artist site to the site operator. Please also consult the CaFÉ Help for Artists page if you have questions regarding use of the website. This resource has a link to contact the operator.

Submission Package

Applicants must be prepared to provide the following information and acknowledgements as part of a complete submission:

ARTIST INFORMATION (applicants must provide the following information)

  • Artist Contact Information
  • Resume/CV
  • Work Samples (5-10) that relate to this RFQ, including:
    • Artwork that connects to the themes and styles reflected in the community input survey
    • Experience with public art projects of a similar budget size and scope
    • Evidence of working with other collaborators or collaborative teams
  • Annotated Work Sample List: An annotated work sample list that includes the title, media, year completed, dimensions, location (if site-specific), project budget (if applicable) and client or commissioning entity for each corresponding image.
  • Artist(s) Statement, explaining your artistic practice and background, as well as what interests you in this project (1 page)
  • References (3)

Other Requirements

Submit online applications using the CaFÉ call for artists website* only (see note below).  Hardcopies will not be accepted at this time.  Submittals of application materials sent to staff email will not be accepted.  The deadline for the online submittal is 10:59 pm PST on Friday, April 29, 2022 (this is equivalent to 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time Zone per the CaFÉ website).

Please Note: Failure to submit using the approved CaFÉ online call submittal system or to include all required materials herein may result in the application being deemed incomplete and ineligible for consideration.  We encourage you to submit all required application materials, including all written materials and images, well in advance of the deadline.  In this way, if you/your team have a technical issue with the online application process, there may be opportunity to work with the application portal vendor to address the issues before the deadline.

Preference will be given to applicants based in California with special consideration for artists residing in San Benito, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.