Call Detail
Mothership Youth Shelter

Entry Deadline: 9/25/23
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 7
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 8
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Colorado
Budget: $180,000


Public Art Project

Mothership Youth Shelter - Exterior Artwork

Budget: Approximately USD $180,000.00

Eligibility: National

DEADLINE: Monday, September 25, 2023, 11:59 P.M. 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 Mothership Youth Shelter in Denver, CO. A 10-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 a location for potential artworks for the allocated total budget of approximately $180,000.00 USD.

Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the land Denver’s Public Art Collection occupies - - land where we stand, live, work 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.

Overland Park Neighborhood

The area now known as Overland Park became the catalyst for the Colorado Gold Rush, with gold seekers like the Russell Party striking gold in Little Dry Creek in 1858. The establishment of the first platted town on the Eastern slope of the Rockies, Montana City, followed later that year. Toward the end of the 1800s, the area saw transitions from homestead to farm to racetracks, and the establishments of country clubs. In 1901, the City and County of Denver incorporated the land in the area and Overland Park, as part of a broader effort and vision to create a citywide park system. In 1930, the Overland Park municipal golf course opened, with subsequent additions in the following decades. 

In recent years, the surrounding residential and neighborhood areas have seen more than $28 million in infrastructure revitalization along South Broadway. The mixed-use development of the former Gates Rubber Company factory property has also seen a blossoming retail site with a variety of specialty shops. The population as of 2017 was estimated at 3,458. The neighborhood today is bound by the South Platte River to the west, Mississippi Avenue to the north, South Broadway to the east, and Yale Avenue to the south.

Urban Peak

Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in the Denver metro area that offers a holistic range of services for youth experiencing homelessness. Services are designed to support youth in attaining developmental milestones, beginning the journey of healing, building positive and permanent relationships, and achieving self-sufficiency. Program staff are trained in trauma-informed care, positive youth development, harm reduction, crisis stabilization and intervention, restorative justice, and other evidence-informed practices. Relationships between youth and staff create the foundation for all interventions and provide youth opportunities to think, behave and interact differently with peers and healthy adults. Core programming and services include street outreach, a drop-in center, a shelter, an education and employment center, and three apartment complexes. 

Mothership Youth Shelter

Urban Peak's new Mothership Youth Shelter, the region’s first youth shelter, will be situated within the Overland Park neighborhood. The goals for this building are revolutionary and transformational; it will offer the first youth-focused shelter for people ages 21-24, including shelter beds for more than 130 teens, and offer life skills development, mental health services, a medical clinic, case management, supportive services, green spaces, a visual arts center, and a technology center. The project is supported through RISE Denver, a voter-approved $38.6 million bond program to build or rebuild facilities that serve youth, families and people experiencing homelessness. 

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 will interact with the Mothership Youth Shelter


The panel is invested in the creation of a mural for the Contact Visitation space.

  • Artwork should explore the question “What does home feel like?”
  • Artists are encouraged to consider biophilic and trauma-informed design strategies that support mental health through color, pattern and subject matter. Biophilic design is the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments and communities. Trauma-informed design is the practice of combining trauma-informed care with the design process.
  • The panel is especially interested in inviting artists to apply who have relationships with homelessness, having worked with unhoused populations in the past or who were formerly unhoused themselves.


The panel has identified several sites for public art on the façade of the building which is currently in the early stages of construction. All potential sites, regardless of location, will require selected artists or artist teams to coordinate and communicate closely with the project Design and Construction team in order to construct art in a way it can be attached to the building. Selected finalists will have the opportunity for site visits and to meet with the art selection panel, Denver Public Art staff, the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI), and the Department of Housing Stability (HOST) members to ask specific questions about the preferred sites.

Media & Materials:

Artworks could be created using diverse media, including, but not limited to reliefs, mosaic and sculptural applications. Durability and ease of maintenance is important at this location. The selection panel is open to artwork in all media and materials suitable for outdoor display

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 American Disability Act (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 (CaFÉ™).

  1. Six digital images of past work
  2. Résumé
  3. 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 provide guidance on 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, the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI), and the Department of Housing Stability (HOST) when finalizing their designs for installation.


The budget for this commission is approximately $180,000.00 USD 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 Mothership Youth Shelter 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 online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments)

Monday, September 25, 11:59 p.m. MST                  Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)

October 2023                                                             Finalist Selection

November 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 Mothership Youth Shelter selection panel is comprised of 10 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. 

Selection Process

  1. 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, Department of Transportation & Infrastructure, and the Department of Housing Stability (HOST). The finalists will receive an honorarium to prepare a proposal and present it in person or virtually.
  2. The selection panel will review the proposals, interview the finalists, and recommend an artist/artist team for the commission.
  3. 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.

Meeting Format

All meetings are held virtually via the Microsoft Teams platform. Selected artists and artist teams will be expected to download the free Microsoft Teams app and schedule platform testing prior to any presentations and interviews.  

Application Requirements

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 ( There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.

Digital Images

In order 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

Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available here:

If an artist does not have access to a computer, s/he/they may call 720-865-5576 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 To request this RFQ in a different language, please contact

Statement of Interest

Please submit a brief statement (2,000-character maximum) outlining the following:

  • Your interest in the Mothership Youth Shelter project
  • Your relationship to or experience with homelessness
  • Your design approach and experience working on public art projects
  • 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 located within this CaFÉ™ application.


Applicants who are selected to be finalists will be required to provide three professional references.

Meg Pursell, Public Art Program Administrator,, 720-865-5576

Denver Public Art is also hosting a virtual pre-application meeting on Wednesday, September 6th, 5:30-6:30 p.m. for interested applicants. The meeting will cover project backgrounds and goals, and the application process for this Requests for Qualification. Attendees will also get information on 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.

Eligibility Criteria

Who May Apply

This project is open to artists nationally. 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, Two-Spirit+ (LGBTQIA2S+) communities. Denver Arts & Venues also encourages applicants at various stages in their career and applicants practicing a variety of artistic disciplines.