Call Detail
Ohio Creek Watershed
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Entry Deadline: 7/31/22
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 10
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 11
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: International
State: Virginia
Budget: $135,000

The Norfolk Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, and the Ohio Creek Watershed planning committee seek to commission an artist to design and create exterior artwork.

LOCATION/CONTEXT: The City of Norfolk has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program to hire an artist to design and create artwork that will celebrate the Elizabeth River, the community, and the NDR Ohio Creek Watershed Project; a flood risk management and resiliency project. 

Construction is underway on a flood-resiliency project whose cost and scope rival any undertaken so far in the United States. Bolstered by an injection of $112 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Norfolk is installing more than 7,000’ of earthen berms, about 1,000’ of floodwalls, a resilience park, about 4,000’ of living shoreline, a fishing pier, a flood gate, two large stormwater pump stations, and places for community gatherings. The project includes raising a half-mile of roads by 6’ above existing grade.

The home of the art will be the Ohio Creek Watershed which includes two neighborhoods: Chesterfield Heights and Grandy Village, both with strong community identity.  The neighborhoods are bordered by the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, on the south, and Interstate 264 on the north, providing both a picturesque shoreline-view and easy access to downtown Norfolk, Virginia Beach, as well as cities on the peninsula. Industrial complexes on the east and west seclude the community from the rest of the city. However, this seclusion has caused residents to rely on each other and has helped define this friendly, resilient community.

Chesterfield Heights, with over 400 homes on the Historic National Register, was initially laid out in 1904. The community contains homes in a range of styles, the earliest being imposing Queen Anne and Revival styles with extensive ornamentation to modest Craftsman-style bungalows built after 1914. Many of the residents are older-African American families that have owned their homes since the early 1960’s; however, over the last decade, the neighborhood has been undergoing a transformation bringing diversity to the community.

Grandy Village, a work-force community with 367 units, was built in 1953 and originally consisted of townhouse-style residences, and a recreation center. Under the management of Norfolk Housing and Redevelopment, the community has been undergoing transformation since 2001, including demolition of several buildings, and construction of new 2-story homes, new lighting, walkways, signage, fencing, and landscaping.  The Grandy Village Learning Center, recognized nationally for excellence in design, provides the opportunity to use the environs as an educational tool for community youth. The Elizabeth River Project’s Learning Barge docked at the Grandy Village Learning Center is the world's first floating wetland classroom.  Powered by sun and wind and with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets, and a rainwater system, the 120'x32' steel deck barge is designed to model and teach ecology, resilience, and sustainability.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: We seek an artist to design public art that will reflect the values and challenges and tell the stories of the people who live in this historic shoreline community. The artwork should reflect the diversity of culture and heritage and connect the two neighborhoods. We hope the artwork will be a fluid, thought provoking example of resiliency.

PROJECT SITE: There are several sites that are ideal locations for the final artwork. One area is a wide pathway that runs between Chesterfield Academy, an elementary public school, and the newly renovated park. A second is at the end of Ballentine Boulevard which is a major north/south road and a key gateway into the neighborhoods. The boulevard feeds directly into a new water pump station, a small plaza, Kimbell Terrace and the Elizabeth River. Ballentine provides direct access to the light rail station, Norfolk State University, a Historic Black University, and the rest of the city. A site plan is attached.

SIZE/MEDIA: The artwork could be large or an integrated series of solutions and should be detailed enough to be experienced by pedestrians. It must be constructed of durable, permanent outdoor materials that are safe and easily maintained.  

Up to three finalists may be selected to be interviewed virtually by the Public Art Planning Committee. The finalists are not expected to complete a design at this stage but will be interviewed about past work and creative process. There will also be a preliminary discussion of the site. The committee reserves the right to select the final artist without a finalist process.

The total budget for the completed, delivered, and installed artwork is $135,000. This will cover artist’s honorarium, fabrication, materials, shipping, insurance, travel expenses necessary to complete the project, project plaque, final documentation, and any incidental expenses. The artist must hire a Virginia licensed contractor to install the artwork(s). The selected artist may be asked to present a community educational workshop or presentation.

Please note that a city contract will be issued with a design phase requiring review and approval by the Norfolk Arts Commission prior to fabrication.

The selected artist must carry a Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy naming the City of Norfolk as an additional insured and must provide certificates of insurance to that effect guaranteeing thirty (30) days written notice before any changes to the policies become effective. Insurance can be purchased, and certificate presented after the first payment is made. If the artist employs anyone in connection with this work, the artist must carry a workers compensation insurance policy and an automobile liability insurance policy if appropriate. The artist shall also be responsible for assuring subcontractors, if there are any, meet the same insurance requirements.  

  • CALENDAR: This calendar is subject to change.
  • July 31, 2022, 11;59 p.m. MDT time, submittal due date and time
  • September 2022, selection announced
  • April 2023, completion of art

SELECTION CRITERIA AND AWARD CONSIDERATIONS: The commission will be awarded based on many factors such as the aesthetic value, creativity, and contemporary relevance of the proposed piece. The city will consider the diversity of beliefs and values and general standards of decency of the citizens who fund the commission and purchase public art for the City of Norfolk. The award will be made to the responsible offeror whose submission is determined in writing to be the most advantageous to the City taking into consideration the evaluation factors set forth in this Request for Proposal.

The following criteria will be used in the proposal evaluation process:

• Artistic merit (excellence, originality, creativity, and innovative approaches) as evidenced by submitted materials

• Professional artistic experience to fulfill the requirements of this project either in studio, educational, community, employment and/or art projects and the ability to undertake the design, creation, and installation of the artwork

• Appropriateness of materials, style, and concepts in relation to this prospectus

PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS: Submission must be submitted  via CAFÉ Call for Entry by 11:59 PM MDT on July 31, 2022. There is no application fee to apply or use the online application system.

The following materials are required:

1.      Statement of Understanding, online agreement of compliance to all State of Virginia codes. By submitting your application you agree to the Statement of Understanding.

2.      Letter of Interest outline your interest in this project and how you will approach the artwork design and creation. (500-word max)

3.      Resume, maximum of two (2) pages, outlining your professional accomplishments.  If submitting as a team, please include resumes for each team member, with each resume not exceeding two (2) pages.

4.      Artwork Images, selection of up to ten (10) images representing artworks most relevant to the scope of this opportunity.  You may submit one (1) video file if relevant to showing the artwork. Each video should be no longer than 2 minutes.

5.      References, three (3) professional references, including name, affiliated organization (if appropriate), email address, phone number, and relationship to each reference.   

QUESTIONS/FOLLOW UP:  Questions about this project may be directed to Danny Hawk, Office of the Purchasing Agent, at


Open to all artists and artist teams.