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REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
Public Art Project
Ruby Hill Park
Budget: Approximately $66,000.00 USD
Eligibility: Open to artists or artist teams residing in the state of Colorado
DEADLINE: Monday, November 21, 2022, 11:59 pm MST
The City of Denver’s Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or artist team to create original public artwork(s), for the Ruby Hill Park in the Ruby Hill neighborhood of Denver, CO. An 11-member selection panel of community representatives, arts and design professionals, and civic leaders has been assembled to identify art opportunities and to select and recommend an artist or artist team for this project. The selection panel has identified multiple outdoor locations for potential artworks and will select one artist or artist team for the allocated total budget of approximately USD $66,000.00.
We acknowledge that the land on which Denver’s Public Art Collection works stand; land where we stand, live, and learn is the traditional territory of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Peoples. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado. Our nation was founded upon and continues to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples. May this acknowledgement demonstrate a commitment to dismantling ongoing legacies of oppression and inequities, as we intentionally honor and celebrate the Indigenous communities in our City and express our gratitude for their ongoing and significant contributions. Let’s not forget that this land was theirs long before we made it ours.
Ruby Hill Neighborhood
Ruby Hill is located in southwest Denver. The neighborhood’s namesake comes from the discovery of red stones by Anglo-American miners and settlers in the mid-1800s; these gemstones were thought to be rubies but were actually garnet.
The Ruby Hill neighborhood represents a rich diversity of communities including Vietnamese, Haitian, Honduran and Ethiopian, as well as Chicano, Mejicanos, Latinos and Mexican Americans, and many multigenerational families. Ruby Hill today is one of five neighborhoods in Denver that have the highest population of immigrant families. Ruby Hill is also home to public housing opportunities that provide very low-, low- and middle-income families with quality and affordable housing. The neighborhood is bounded by South Federal Boulevard to the west, Mississippi Avenue to the north, Jewell Avenue to the south, and the South Platte River to the east. The Ruby Hill neighborhood contains three schools, one park, and access to Sanderson Gulch, a green space with walking/biking trails and picnic spaces. The latest population as of 2017 was estimated at 11,402.
Ruby Hill Park
The signature feature of the Ruby Hill neighborhood is Ruby Hill Park. Gemstones, as well as ore, would play a major role in Ruby Hill Park’s history. In the early 1900s, facilities near the park and the South Platte River were established to process radium-bearing ore used in medical treatments, make-up applications and paint for watch faces. These processes — in addition to the park being used as a landfill for decades— had long-lasting impacts on the environment. In the 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the park as a Superfund site, the name given to environmental programs established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. Robust and subsequent clean-up efforts were completed in 2006 and began a new era for Ruby Hill Park.
In 2007, the creation of the Rail Yard formally supported snow sports and fun winter activities. In 2012, a community garden was formed to connect seasoned and new gardeners as well as to rekindle neighbors’ relationships with nature. 2016 saw the further addition of a mountain bike park with trails and features of various difficulties. Construction of the Levitt Pavilion was completed in 2017 and currently hosts 50 free concerts annually with local, regional, national and international acts. The Pavilion also continues to be used by schools, arts organizations, outside promoters and non-profit organizations.
This last phase of improvements will be to the highest point of the park to the west. Improvements will include a new splash pad and picnic areas, and the creation of a skate park. The site will also host a new beginner's bike playground to support youth bike activity, complementing the existing bike park that caters to more advanced riders. A new Community Gear Library will also provide access to winter sports activities by lending gear and equipment to children and their families.
Goals, Site, Media & Materials
The selection panel members have set forth specific goals and parameters for this public art project with the hope of creating unique and inspiring works of art for the diverse communities that enjoy Ruby Hill Park.
The panel is very invested in cultural diversity and local history, and aspires to create gathering spaces that are inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all. The panel hopes to see artwork that acknowledges the land and reflects the rich cultures of the area. The artwork(s) should be welcoming, interactive and culturally responsible, as well as celebrating coming together in green spaces. The works could also be playful, encourage full-body participation and employ multiple senses such as vision, hearing and touch. Artists applying should have a strong background in community engagement.
The panel has identified multiple potential sites for public art. One potential location includes the gates of the Community Gear Library. A second location includes the façade of the Community Gear Library. Additional sites include locations that emphasize the highest point of the park at 5,390 feet elevation with clear site lines. All sites, regardless of location, will require selected artists or artist teams to coordinate and communicate closely with the design team and general contractor*. Selected finalists will have the opportunity for site visits and to meet with the art selection panel as well as Denver Public Art staff, the design team, and members of Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) and the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) to ask specific questions about potential sites.
Media & Materials:
Artworks could be created using diverse media including, but not limited, to reliefs, sound elements, sculpture, earthworks, mural and mosaic applications. Given the park’s history, the use of environmentally conscious materials that are upcycled and/or responsibly sourced are encouraged. Durability and ease of maintenance are important at these locations. Works that are engaging and help to tell the stories of the neighborhood are encouraged. The selection panel is open to artwork in all media and materials that are suitable for outdoor display.
*Though Ruby Hill was remediated of hazardous waste in the 1980s, debris may still be present. There are many nuances with State regulations that must be considered and limits what can be done if debris is seen during excavation. Given these protocols, it is paramount that artists and artist teams coordinate and communicate with both the design team and general contractor well in advance.
Maintenance & Durability
This artwork will become a permanent addition to the Denver Public Art collection. All applicants must consider the issues of long-term conservation and maintenance of public art, along with time and budget. These projects are in the public realm and will be exposed to physical stresses, as well as be subject to vandalism. Public art projects should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator prior to the submission of a final proposal. Artist proposals awarded contracts will be reviewed by the City of Denver’s Public Art Committee to ensure conformity with city standards of maintenance and durability, as well as ADA standards. All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved time frame.
Applying for these opportunities
In response to this RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit the following items via www.callforentry.org (CaFÉ™).
- Six digital images of past work
- Statement of interest no longer than 2,000 characters
From these applications, the selection panel will choose three to five finalists who will create site-specific proposals and be interviewed in person or virtually. Artists will be paid an honorarium for this work. Artists/teams selected as finalists will be required to submit a Diversity & Inclusiveness Form for their proposals to be considered, which will be provided upon notification. As directed by Executive Order 101, this form must be submitted for all city solicitations of proposals. Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program staff can guide you in filling out this form.
Based on the interview and proposal, an artist or artist team will be selected for this commission. The selected artist or artist team will work with the Denver Public Art Program staff, Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR), and the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) when finalizing their designs for installation.
The budget for this commission is approximately USD $66,000.00 which will be allocated to the artist/team selected. These funds come from the City of Denver’s 1% Percent for Public Art Ordinance resulting from improvements made to the Ruby Hill Park project. This contract amount is inclusive of all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to: the artist’s design fee, other consultation fees such as structural engineering, insurance (including Colorado Workers Compensation), tools, materials, fabrication, transportation, installation, any building or site modification required, travel to and from the site, per diem expenses, project documentation, contingency to cover unexpected expenses, and any other costs. For all work performed on city property, prevailing wage requirements will be applied.
(Except for the online application deadline, the timeline is subject to adjustments)
- Monday, November 21, 2022, 11:59 pm MST - Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)
- December 2022 - Finalist Selection
- January 2023 - Selected Artist or Artist Team Notification
Project Selection Panel
According to Denver’s Public Art policy, the project selection panel plays an active role in the acquisition of public art for the City and County of Denver. The Ruby Hill art selection panel is comprised of 11 voting members and additional non-voting advisors. The selection panel is responsible for reviewing the site, establishing criteria for a request for qualifications, reviewing applications, selecting and interviewing finalists, and finally for selecting an artist or artist team for the commission.
- Three to five artists/artist teams will be selected as finalists. Those selected will receive more specific information regarding the sites and have the opportunity to meet with community members from the art selection panel, Denver Public Art Program staff, Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR), and the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI). The finalists will receive an honorarium to prepare a proposal and present it in person or virtually.
- The selection panel will review the proposals, interview the finalists, and recommend an artist/artist team for the commission.
- The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Public Art Committee, the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, and the mayor of Denver for final approval.
All decisions of the City and County of Denver are final.
Materials to be Submitted
Please read this section carefully. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered. The applicant’s name must appear on all materials submitted.
All materials must be submitted online, via the CaFÉ™ website (www.callforentry.org). There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.
To be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit six digital images of previously completed artworks through the online CaFÉ™ system. Artists who wish to submit kinetic, sound, or media works must submit a complete CaFÉ™ application and will have the opportunity to upload one video file.
IMPORTANT: if submitting audio or video files, do not use them as your very first image. They must be submitted last in your image sequence.
Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found at https://www.callforentry.org/uploading-images-audio-and-video-files/.
Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available here: https://www.callforentry.org/artist-help-cafe/.
If an artist does not have access to a computer, s/he/they may call 720-865-5575 to make arrangements to use a computer at Denver Arts & Venues. To request this RFQ in an alternate format (such as Braille, large print, or accessible electronic format) please contact DisabilityAccess@denvergov.org
Statement of Interest
Please submit a brief statement (2,000-character maximum) outlining the following:
- Your interest in Ruby Hill Park public art project
- Your design approach and experience working on projects of this kind
- Please also include information on your experience working with diverse communities and stakeholders
Submit a one to two-page current résumé via CaFÉ™ that highlights your professional accomplishments as an artist. Please name your résumé file accordingly: Last name.First initial (i.e. Smith.J.pdf). Résumés that are more than two pages will not be downloaded. If applying as a team, please submit one résumé with no more than one page per team member.
Applicants will also be required to fill out a short demographic survey that will be sent to the email on file from the CaFÉ™ application.
Applicants who are selected to be finalists will be required to provide three professional references.
Please direct all questions about the project to:
Meg Pursell, Public Art Program Administrator, email@example.com, 720-865-5576
Denver Public Art is also hosting a virtual pre-application meeting on Thursday, October 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m. for interested applicants. The meeting will cover project backgrounds and goals, and the application process for these three Requests for Qualifications: Fairfax Park, Ruby Hill Park, Sloan's Lake South Playground, and City Park - Nature Play. Attendees will also get information on CallForEntry.org through which artists may apply. This event will be hosted on Zoom. Interested applicants are asked to register to get information on how to join prior to the event. If you cannot attend, a recording will be available on the Denver Arts & Venues Vimeo channel.
Who May Apply
This project is open to artists who reside in the state of Colorado. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to building a public art collection that represents a broad diversity of artists and encourages applicants from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities including artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/x, People of Color (BILPOC), people with disabilities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexual, asexual, + (LGBTQIA+) communities. Denver Arts & Venues also encourages applicants at various stages in their career and applicants practicing a variety of artistic disciplines.
Can a team apply?
Applicants may apply as a single artist or multi-person collaborative group. If applying as a team, please submit one résumé for the team, with no more than one page per team member.