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The City of Davis Civic Arts Commission invites qualified artists or collaborative teams to design and create a new piece of public art, as part of a neighborhood park improvements project, that will visually and functionally enhance a small performance area and include two elements: 1) an open-form metal superstructure for lighting and theatrical armature and 2) an open-form metal screen for backstage definition.
Davis is noted for its desirable quality of life, its small-town atmosphere, and an emphasis on parks and open spaces. Known as an environmentally aware and socially innovative city, Davis boasts more than 50 miles of bicycle paths (proposed art site is on one such bike path) and more bicycles per capita than any other city in the nation. Residents of Davis are active in local, national, and international political causes, sports, arts, and community organizations.
As a university town, Davis has the advantages of a small town coupled with the numerous intellectual, recreational and cultural activities serving a wide variety of interests. A Northern California hub for artists of many media, Davis features a community-built Art Center, and an exciting collection of unusual public art pieces.
The Central Valley is the agricultural heart of the state and provides one of the most highly developed and integrated agricultural systems in the world. The area surrounding Davis has some of the most productive agricultural land in California, sustaining hundreds of different crops – from rice to tomatoes to almonds. Davis is known for its innovative conservation efforts and efficient use of energy, open spaces and water resources. These priorities have garnered Davis international acclaim for innovative accomplishments in recycling, water conservation, and energy-saving designs.
The Sacramento and American Rivers lie to the east along with historic gold country and Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. To the west are the San Francisco Bay area, the great coastal redwood forest, and the beaches and rugged shores of the Pacific Ocean. Davis also sits in the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route for waterfowl and other North American birds.
The City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Program supports community-based arts projects, cultural opportunities, and education initiatives that foster excellence, diversity, and vitality in the arts. The program is the clearinghouse for all creative activity in the City of Davis government and serves the entire Davis community.
This public art piece will serve as a visual focal point, drawing visitors into this small artistically designed and art-filled park and supporting and enhancing a variety of activities on the performance stage. Within the technical and safety constraints of the project, the artist/team will be at liberty to explore their own artistic vision in partnership with a dynamic team of resident visionaries and within a neighborhood community that has become a local model for community-based design and activism.
The Davis Manor Neighborhood was developed in the 1950s as one of Davis’ first subdivisions. Located east of downtown, the neighborhood of modest homes has traditionally been one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Davis and an incubator of creative innovation. The neighborhood is home to N Street Co-Housing, one of the first retrofit co-housing communities in the country; DaVinci High School, a public charter school focused on project-based learning and use of technology; and the City of Davis Pilot Daytime Homeless Respite Center.
The Davis Manor Neighborhood Council (DMNC) formed in 1998 as a resident-led community association working to create more beauty, neighborliness and community resilience. The DMNC has a long history of collaborating with the City of Davis to lead creative neighborhood improvement projects. A recent example is the creation of the “Naturehood” street mural at Duke Drive and M Street in 2016. Catalyzed by funding from the City of Davis, DMNC organizers worked with community muralist, Danielle Fodor, to design and paint the mural with the involvement of over 150 community volunteers.
N Street Park is a small neighborhood park that is tucked into a narrow ¼-acre lot at the south end of N Street in the middle of the Davis Manor Neighborhood. The park is bordered by private residences to the north and elsewhere by the City of Davis Public Works Corporation Yard. A defining feature and focal point of the park is a 15-foot-tall concrete muraled wall on the south side of the park. A narrow, landscaped trail connects the park to the Davis Community Garden nearby.
Residents of the neighborhood are strongly invested in the park and have participated in numerous park improvement projects since its initial construction in 1960. Most recently, Davis Manor neighbors partnered with a resident landscape architecture student and city staff to envision and develop a concept plan for a major renovation of the park. The N Street Park Improvement Project is a City of Davis capital improvement project with funding from grants and a variety of municipal sources and represents a refinement and realization of the initial community-based concept plan.
Park improvements will be implemented in accordance with the final park design (see Figure 2, attached) and in a series of phases with timelines flexing as necessary. Starting in Spring 2022, Phase 1 will include most of the construction of new hardscape, utilities, and site furnishings by city contractors. In Summer and Fall 2022, Phase 2 will entail planting of landscape areas. In Summer 2023, Phase 3 will include the construction of the concrete stage by contractors and the installation of the public artwork by the selected artist or artist team.
The vision for the N Street Park stage is to create a space that will be well suited to small musical and theatrical performances and other presentations by neighborhood residents and local performing arts groups seeking an intimate equipped outdoor venue. Design for the stage, superstructure and screen should take such possible community uses into full consideration. The final design of the structure will need to be able to support city-provided lighting and/or other theatrical equipment.
The simple stage will consist of a low (6 inch high) poured concrete platform, tucked into the southwest corner of the park, with the existing muralled wall as its backdrop. The final shape and size of the stage are to be determined, but approximate dimensions are 20 x 10 feet. Electrical power sufficient for theatrical lighting and sound amplification will be provided and should be integrated into the proposed stage concept.
The selected artist/team will collaborate closely with project managers from the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and the Davis Manor Neighborhood Council as well as technical experts to create functional, durable, safe, and visually effective sculptural elements for the N Street Park performance area.
Element 1: Metal Superstructure
The metal superstructure for the stage is envisioned as an artistically designed overhead framework that could be used to support lighting, backdrops, curtains, a fabric canopy, etc. Design considerations include engineering for safety, incorporation of proper piping for theatrical lighting (1.5” batten) and strategizing for a variety of theatrical uses. Minimum height for the superstructure is around 10 feet. Maximum height should take into consideration any adjacent or overhead utilities. Weight considerations?
Element 2: Metal Screen
The metal screen is envisioned as an artistically designed open framework, approximately 4 feet high and 8 feet wide, positioned at the back, or upstage edge of the stage where it would partially screen the “backstage” area from audience view. Design considerations include the need to retain ADA-compliant access to the stage, potential use for hanging or supporting backdrops or curtains, and the possibility of having moving parts that can swing open and allow adaptation for different uses.
The Scope of Work for this RFQ includes design, fabrication and installation of the two elements described above. Construction of the stage itself, including excavation for the stage, foundation, electrical connections, and concrete, will be completed under a separate City contract and is not a part of this RFQ. Foundations for the superstructure and screen will likewise be completed in consultation with the selected artist(s), but by City contractors under a separate contract.
The artist/team will be expected to work collaboratively with and synthesize feedback from multiple stakeholders and technical partners including, but not limited to: DMNC representatives, city cultural arts staff, city theater technicians, city building officials, community performing arts representatives, structural engineers, landscape architect consultants, and construction contractors. The artist/team should also plan on participating in 2-3 public or neighborhood meetings to give presentations to community members and receive feedback.
Please be prepared to submit all of the following with your completed application:
1. Professional Resume: of no more than four pages per individual, emphasizing relevant experience.
2. Portfolio Images: Images of past work, up to ten (10).
3. Letter of Interest: (not to exceed two pages) describing individual artist’s or team’s interest in this project and relevant experience
4. Professional References: A list of three professional references, preferably from previous similar projects, with email and phone contact information.
Submissions for this opportunity will stay on file as part of a new initiative to create a pool of pre-qualified artists for future projects.
The project is open to all Davis and regional California artists, regardless of race, color, religion, natural origin, gender, age, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical or mental ability. Artist teams are eligible to apply, including teams of artists from multiple disciplines. The Civic Arts Commission and the City of Davis reserve the right to reject any or all applications, proposals, applicants, or projects, and to modify or terminate the application process or the selection process for any reason and without prior notice. Artists must be 18 years of age. Artists must be able to provide insurance. Must be able to provide a U.S. mailing address on W9.
REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS
Phase One: Review of Artists’ Qualifications
Submittals from artists will be pre-screened by DMNC project leaders for compliance with project requirements. A selection panel composed of DMNC leaders, City staff, theater and art technicians, performing arts representatives, and members of the Civic Arts Commission will meet to review artists’ qualifications. The Panel will recommend up to five (5) finalists to be interviewed in Phase Two.
Finalists (individuals and teams) will be selected based on the following criteria:
● Professional and artistic qualifications and standards of excellence in innovation, creativity and originality as demonstrated in materials submitted as well as appropriateness of applicant’s medium and style to the project.
● Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with landscape designers and project managers in a design-team context;
● Demonstrated experience collaborating with local communities on design development (community-centered public art);
● Previous experience related to successful project implementation based on goals, setting, scale and scope;
● Familiarity with public agencies, the public review process and/or previous collaboration with local government; and
● Demonstrated ability to undertake and successfully execute the work in accordance to the construction schedule, in a professional manner and within the project budget.
Phase Two: Finalist Interviews
In preparation for the scheduled interviews, finalists will be provided with more detailed plans for N Street Park. Finalists will be invited to attend a scheduled interview with the selection panel, which may take place virtually. The panel will then recommend one artist or artist team to receive the project commission. The Civic Art Commission and City Council must approve the recommended artist(s)/team(s) before contracts can be executed.
The City Council has charged the Davis Civic Arts Commission with responsibility for recommending all acquisitions of public art. One artist or artist team will be selected based on experience working with design teams, past work that exhibits style and materials appropriate to the project, and a strong letter of intent. The selection panel will review the proposals and forward a recommendation to the Civic Arts Commission, and ultimately City Council, which has final authority for commissioning all works of art.
Additional plans and supporting materials can be found here on the city’s N Street Park website or at www.cityofdavis.org/arts, under Artist Opportunities, or by contacting Rachel Hartsough, Arts & Culture Manager, 530-757-5640, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tentative timeline is as follows, and is subject to change:
April 15, 2022 RFQ announcement
April 15-June 3 Question/Response period
June 3, 2022 Application submission deadline (through an online process via Café)
Summer 2022 Finalist interviews with Selection Committee and notification of selected artist
Fall 2022 Civic Arts Commission and City Council approvals, artist contract executed with City staff
Winter 2023 Artist develops design in collaboration with project team
Winter 2023 Final design review and approval by Civic Arts Commission and City Council
Spring 2023 Project fabrication
Summer 2023 Projected installation period (coordinated with construction of stage and foundations for art installation)
October 2023 N Street Park and Stage Completion Celebration (Neighbors Night Out)