Call Detail
Call for Artists, Rhode Island Office of the Medical Examiner
Entry Deadline: 11/13/23
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 6
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: Rhode Island
Budget: $35,000

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts- Call for Artists

RI Office of Medical Examiners

Cumberland, Rhode Island

Budget: $35,000

Application Deadline: November 13, 2023

Eligibility: Rhode Island residents

Artwork for the new RI Office of State Medical Examiners will be commissioned by the Department of Capital Asset, Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) on behalf of the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) through Rhode Island’s Public Art Law, which mandates that 1% of all state capital construction and renovation funds be allocated to the purchase and maintenance of public art. Through this program, the State recognizes that “public art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment, and pride for all citizens.”

About the RI Office of State Medical Examiners

A division of the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Office of State Medical Examiners mission is to determine both the cause and manner of death for deaths occurring within the state that meet certain criteria as defined by State statute. Examples of the types of deaths that are investigated include homicides, suicides, accidental, as well as medically unattended deaths and deaths caused by an infectious agent that could cause an epidemic within the state. In many cases, during the course of the death investigation, the Office works in conjunction with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and other ancillary personnel. The Office also interacts with the families of decedents, certifies death certificates and approves organ and tissue donations for decedents whose deaths they are investigating.

About the Building

The State is renovating an existing building to house modernized operations of the RI Office of Medical Examiners. Due to the building’s location within a corporate park, exterior artwork is excluded. This Call seeks artwork for the interior only.

People who use this facility include staff, forensic contractors, visitors from other agencies including representatives from state and local law enforcement agencies, representatives from the organ bank, and the Attorney General’s office. Other public visiting the facility are typically members of a decedent’s family. Such visitors may be deeply grieving or in a state of shock. The office strives to be very gentle in their interactions. There is a family room that will be used as needed for meetings with decedent family members and sometimes other visitors. There will be a vestibule, a waiting room, and a hallway. Combined with the family room, these rooms comprise the public-facing areas.

Feedback from the selection panel

In September of 2023, the artwork selection panel met to discuss goals for the commission. Included on this panel is the architect, a building representative, a community member, and two professional artists. The following goals emerged from this conversation.

Suitable artwork might:

  • Be calming, peaceful, soothing, familiar; feel homey; create a sense of the familiar, of belonging or connection, perhaps through the use of imagery that evokes Rhode Island or New England;
  • Be a series of works that connect the spaces;
  • Offer texture, such as textiles, weaving, collage or quilting, to alleviate the interior finishes which are very plain; or,
  • Be sound-based.  While this Call is primarily for visual works, an interdisciplinary approach that combines audio and visual elements is of interest.

Additional considerations:

  • The facility can best accommodate artworks on the walls.
  • Both abstract and representational works will be considered.
  • Artwork should generally avoid the use of bright colors or generic floral imagery.
  • Artwork must be fabricated and installed in such a way that it does not create a hazard and cannot be utilized as a weapon.

Estimated Timeline

November 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

Late December 2023: Panel meeting for selection of finalists; notification to applicants.

January 2024: Finalist site visits

March 2024 TBD: Finalist presentations to selection panel. Artwork chosen and recommended to the Council.

Spring 2024 TBD: Final approval by RISCA Council. Contract signed, fabrication of artwork begins.

Artwork completion and installation, TBD.

According to law, the final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, who has final approval of the commission.

Selected Finalists

Finalists will be invited to a site visit and to propose an artwork specifically for the State Center for the Office of the Medical Examiner.  Finalists will craft a detailed proposal for artwork(s) including an itemized budget, scale models or renderings, timeline, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid a stipend of $750. This stipend is inclusive of all proposal expenses including travel, hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., as applicable for both the site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for travel costs.

Site-specific proposals should convey the artist’s ideas and plans through digital materials, designs, renderings and/or scale models with a statement that describes the project's intent, proposed materials, fabrication and installation methods, and an itemized budget. Finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  They will be supplied with plans, photographs, and specific information about the facility.

The proposals will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain proposals for up to one year for display purposes and the right to reproduce final proposals for documentation and public information purposes.

Selection Criteria

The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:

  1. Suitability for facility
  2. Responsiveness to this Call
  3. Artistic Vibrancy
  4. Value, permanence, durability
  5. Demonstrated ability to manage and complete commission


Application Requirements

Submission Requirements:

Please note: This Call for Artists/Request for Qualifications is the first step in the public art selection process.  YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC PROPOSAL AT THIS TIME. You will submit your qualifications, i.e. examples of previous work and written qualifications. After review, the selection committee will invite three finalists to create site-specific proposals for the RI Office of Medical Examiners. A $750 honorarium will be paid to finalists for this work.

RISCA will conduct the application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ, (see below). There is no charge to apply.   At this preliminary selection stage, we are requesting submissions from artists or artist teams consisting of six images or audio files representing current work (completed within the past ten years) and resumes.

If an artist wants to apply as an individual as well as part of a team, two separate CaFÉ profiles and two separate CaFÉ applications must be completed (i.e., one application submission for you and one for your team).

Materials will be reviewed by the selection panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist's work and the artist’s ability to carry out a commission. The RFQ process is mainly about the panel’s initial response to the artist’s images.

No slides or hard copy materials will be accepted for this call. First time CaFÉ applicants must allow enough time to prepare their CaFÉ formatted digital images and electronic submission prior to the deadline on November 13, 2023.

Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ web site ( and must include:

  1. A narrative bio, statement, cv or resume for each artist; please submit the materials that you feel best convey your suitability for this commission. If you are applying as a team, include all team member’s qualifications within one document.
  2. Six digital images and/or audio files of relevant works. In the “description of image” fields, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion, commission cost or price.  A brief description of the artwork may be included for clarification if necessary.  Please do not present more than one view of artwork per image.  If you wish to show a "detail", include it as one of your allotment of 6 files.

Artists may submit audio if it best conveys their work, such as a sound installation or original music composition. Submission of audio is NOT required. Submission may be any combination of audio and visual files, up to 6 work samples total. 

Eligibility Criteria

Artist Eligibility

This call is open to professional artists residing in Rhode Island. For the purposes of this application, residency is determined as the state in which one files their personal tax return. Undergraduate students are excluded. Applications may be submitted individually or in collaboration with others. The panel will not discriminate against any applicant based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or physical challenges. Excluded from participation are RISCA Council members, staff, and their family members as well as Public Art Selection Panel members and their families.