Call Detail

515 DSM Public Art Commission

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Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Iowa
Entry Deadline: 7/31/14
Application Closed
Images - Minimum: 6, Maximum: 8
Total Media - Minimum: 6, Maximum: 8
The 515 DSM PUBLIC ART project has been created to commission a major public art work on private property in the central business and financial district of downtown Des Moines, Iowa.
The private nonprofit Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation is looking for professional artists to submit their ideas and qualifications for this innovative public art opportunity. The Foundation encourages artists from all cultural and political backgrounds who have had experience working in the public sector.
The estimated budget for the artistic design, fabrication and installation is not to exceed $5 million.
Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation
Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation (GDMPAF) is a nonprofit organization that places art in public spaces through public and private collaborations. It is responsible for advancing and administering the affairs and activities of the community’s public arts program and assisting to provide public art by venerated professional artists as part of civic and private sector development and community initiatives. It believes that identity, distinctiveness, and meaning are added to a specific site by integrating works of art and the creative thinking of artists into the design.
Downtown Des Moines
The skyline of Des Moines was transformed during the 1990s. Eight 25- to 45-story buildings were added and the Des Moines 4-mile-long skywalk system took shape, connecting many downtown buildings.
The downtown business district is populated by Fortune 500 companies that are giants in the insurance, financial, and publishing industries. However, a mix of private and public green spaces and buildings are also found in the heart of the city. The past 10 years have seen a very successful effort to encourage downtown living. Numerous lofts, apartments, and town homes , restaurants, and other entertainment establishments have been added throughout the downtown area.
Most recently, Des Moines reclaimed its historic waterfront, the location of several large Beaux Arts public buildings. In 2013, one of its largest civic improvement projects was completed, The Principal Riverwalk. The riverwalk is a pedestrian zone adjacent to the Des Moines River and features lighted bridges and a landscaped promenade. The promenade weaves together a series of civic gardens, including the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the Simon Estes Amphitheater, and Principal Park, a minor league baseball stadium. The Riverwalk connects with 300 miles of central Iowa trails through its walking paths and bridges.
Public Art Highlights
The west entrance to downtown Des Moines, also the corporate lawn of the American media conglomerate Meredith Corporation, is heralded by a whimsical large-scale sculpture. The sculpture “Plantoir” (2001) is by the celebrated artists Claes Oldenburg and the late Coosje van Bruggen 
Numerous signature public artworks are located within a 15-block corridor between this site and the Des Moines River. Examples include:
  • The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a 4.4-acre park showcasing internationally acclaimed sculptures donated by Des Moines philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn. Works by Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, and Sol LeWitt are among the 22 world-renowned artists represented.
  • Temple Chess and Poetry Garden, located between a new and historic building, is a pocket park designed by Iranian-born American sculptor Siah Armajani. The two buildings located in this district are the Central Public Library designed by English architect David Chipperfield and the historic Temple for Performing Arts, reborn as a cultural center for the city.
  • Cowles Commons adjacent to the Des Moines Performing Arts complex incorporates an early commissioned sculpture (1979) by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and new LED sculpture (2014) by San Francisco-based artist Jim Campbell.
  • Municipal Building, one the Beaux Arts buildings along the Riverwalk, has a dynamic, 20-ft. abstract bronze sculpture by American artist Joel Shapiro centered on its esplanade.
  • The award winning designed HubSpot plaza and Court Avenue Pump Station feature a public art project by Japanese-born American artist Jun Kaneko. Dedicated in 2013, five “dango” sculptures and a large glass mural are integrated into this location. 
For more information on public art in Des Moines, visit: 
It is expected that the final project when completed and installed will:
  1. Engage the community, focusing on people who work, live or visit downtown Des Moines; 
  2. Connect the Western Gateway art district with the core business district downtown; and 
  3. Contribute to the goal of establishing Des Moines as a world class destination for public art.
The selected work should be visible and appealing for both drive-by and pedestrian viewing. It must take into consideration the safety of the public. The material and structure of the artwork must be suitable for an outdoor environment, and be able to withstand local climate extremes of hot, humid summers, and cold, snowy winters. The selected proposal must not require more than minimal maintenance.
This RFQ is open to experienced professional public artists, including sculptors or other visual art professionals, qualified in the design, implementation, and management of installation costs for public art projects. Artists must be at least 18 years of age.
The artist selection process will involve an Art Selection panel that will consist of knowledgeable representatives from the art and design community, civic leaders, and property stakeholders.
The panel is empowered to recommend two or more finalists at the conclusion of the review process. Should the panel be unable to do so, it may be necessary to extend the existing process or to begin anew by issuing a modified Call for Artists.
In Phase 1, artists will be screened based on their qualifications, resulting in the selection of two or more finalists. 
In Phase 2, finalists will be invited to present a brief narrative including sketches and any visuals that will inform the Art Selection Panel as to your vision of the final project. Each finalist will receive an honorarium of $5,000 upon submission.
In Phase 3, a selected artist/team will be commissioned to develop their concept with stakeholder weigh in.
In Phase 4, the project will be commissioned for fabrication and installation.
Phase 1
  • 30 June 2014 - Call for Artists begins
  • 31 July  2014 - Request for Qualifications application deadline
Phase 2
  • 29 August 2014 - Two or more finalists selected
  • September/October 2014 - Concept Design Development
  • 3 - 7 November 2014 - Concept Design Proposal presentations
Phase 3
  • November/December 2014 - Artist/team selected & commission announced
  • 2015 - Design development
Phase 4
  • 2015-16 - Fabrication & installation
RFQ application deadline: 31 July 2014
Artist Submittal Requirements for Phase 1:
Current resume/CV should include information about the artist’s education, work, awards, professional recognition, and other relevant information.
Please include a brief statement of availability to undertake the anticipated project.
Professional references: List three (3) people with whom you have worked on relevant projects who can describe your participation. Include name, email and current contact information.
Include six (6) to eight (8) digital images of recent work.  Each image upload shall include the following information:
  • Title of the artwork or project
  • Media
  • Dimensions (H x W x D)
  • Project budget 
  • Date of artwork or project completion
  • Project/artwork description and location, if available. (500-word limit)
All submissions must be submitted virtually through
Incomplete and/or late submissions will not be accepted. GDMPAF reserves the right to reject all submittals.
Artist Selection Criteria: All submittals will be evaluated on the following:
Artistic Merit
Artist’s experience applicable to this project
References regarding ability to meet schedule and stay within budget
Finalists selected: 29 August 2014 
All finalists will be provided with the full scope of the project to enable the artist(s) to submit precise information and make realistic budgets. 
Artists/teams may also schedule time to view the site(s) and meet stakeholders if they wish within the 60-day concept design time window (September/October 2014).
Concept Design Proposal presentations
3-7 November 2014
Please submit the following as part of your Concept Proposal:
1) Preliminary drawings, images, a short video, or any other type of media showing the proposed art project in the specific site to scale.
2) Description of materials, colors and textures;
3) A written proposal, including a brief description of the fabrication process, means of transportation, and long-term maintenance; 
4) Estimated budget, including proposed travel and transportation fees, and fabrication and installation costs; 
5) Estimated timeline for design, fabrication, transportation, and installation.
Phase 2 Selection Criteria
All proposals will be evaluated on the following:
1) Artistic merit and innovative thinking;
2) Appropriateness of work for an urban public setting
3) References regarding ability to perform according to schedule and budget;
4) Expressed interest in and understanding of the project;
5) The proposal’s compliance with the goals and conditions of the project.
The finalists selected to proceed to PHASE 2 will each receive a $5,000 honorarium upon receipt/presentation of their proposals.
GDMPAF is not obligated to pay any costs incurred by the finalist artists in the preparation of a proposal over and above the honorarium provided.
Artist Selected & Commission Announcement
December 2014
Selection Process
The Art Selection panel will recommend the winning proposal.
The selected finalist will be awarded the commission to further design, fabricate and install their proposal. 
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