Call Detail
Denver River Vision Public Art Project

Contact Email:
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: Colorado
Entry Deadline: 10/31/16
Application Closed
Media Images:6

 River Vision Public Art Project

  Budget: approximately $100,000 USD

  (Colorado artists only)

  DEADLINE: Monday, October 31, 11:59 PM MST


The City of Denver’s Art & Venues Public Art Program and The River Vision Art Selection Panel have released a Request for Qualifications for artists who wish to work on a public art project for the River Vison Project. The goal of the River Vision Project is to make the South Platte River corridor the premier outdoor recreation destination and an environmental educational resource for the city and the state. River Vision includes four related projects: Grant Frontier Park, Pasquinel’s Landing Park, Florida to Asbury Reach, and Johnson Habitat Park. The parks are located from W. Wesley Avenue to West Virginia Avenue in south Denver along the South Platte River.


Johnson Habitat Park is Denver’s premier environmental education park. It is also the only park that allows Denver’s youth and their families to camp overnight within city limits. The park offers young people and their families the opportunity to pitch a tent, cook over an open fire and attempt to catch a trout from the river, right in the very heart of Denver.  Like many sites along the river, JHP was originally mined for sand and gravel. Later, the empty gravel pits were filled with municipal trash and construction debris, then covered with dirt and seeded with grasses.


Grant Frontier Park weaves together riparian restoration, regional trail enhancements, environmental education and nature play and then adds an additional layer of cultural history to the mix. A series of terraces step up the slope, each marking a flood level of the South Platte River so that the structure of the park itself expresses and reveals the seasonal hydrology of the River. The top terrace is the most refined and includes an overlook and community gathering space anchored by an existing 100-year-old cottonwood. The second terrace includes an extensive natural play area. Paying homage to the first  settlement along the Front Range, the Montana City interpretive area honors the pioneers who first settled the banks of the River in 1858, and will include a wagon, scale cabin structure and a variety of educational elements.


 The River Vision Plan transforms the 35-year-old Pasquinel’s Landing into a new type of park - a hybrid of natural systems, modern recreation and neighborhood gathering spaces. The design of Pasquinel’s Landing literally brings the South Platte River into the park. The regional trail is pushed away from the river in a graceful arc, and the space between is scooped out like a bowl. A secondary channel carves into the bowl, creating a gravel bar island at the river’s edge. A simple swath of turf rolls down toward the island, providing flexible space to recreate or just relax. ADA accessible trails frame the lawn and cross the secondary channel, making the island a destination that is inviting to everyone. An adult fitness zone and future natural play area round out the design on the neighborhood side of the park.


 The nomadic Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes roamed and camped along the river until the 1850s. In 1858 Montana City becomes the first chartered city in the area. Inhabitants settled along the river in search of gold. No gold was found and they moved downstream to the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Because of the limited resources of trees in the area at that time, the people of Montana City took their cabins apart and floated the logs nine miles downstream to the confluence. There they joined the towns of Auraria and St. Charles which would soon become Denver.

 On June 16, 1965 a storm gathered over Denver and an intense rain began to fall. The water levels of the long-polluted South Platte River began to swell and break from its banks. The River swept out into the city creating the largest natural disaster in Denver’s history. The flood inundated 250,000 acres of land and caused $540 million in damages, equating to over $14 billion in today’s dollars.

 Today, Denver’s urban waterways are a destination spots. On any given day, you will find people cooling their feet in the water, bicycling along the trail, or fishing in the revitalized River. From the 1965 flood blossomed an ongoing mission to allow Denver’s greatest natural resource, the South Platte River watershed to once again be recognized as our city’s greatest, and most valued amenity.

 Public Art: Parameters & Goals

The selection panel members have set forth goals and parameters for this public art project with the hope of creating a unique and inspiring destination to those who visit the parks and river. The artwork should identify with the river’s environment and history. 

Location: The artwork or artworks can be located in multiple sites along the River Vison Parks, above the floodplain of the river.

 Materials & Media: The selection panel is open to artwork in all media and materials, including light and sound, with the exception of 2-D artworks and murals.

 Appropriate & Unique: The selection panel seeks a unique, one-of-a-kind artwork or works in keeping with the River Vision’s goal for the river as a recreation destination and an environmental educational resource for the city.  The selection panel is looking for Colorado artists who can demonstrate experience with integrating artwork into the built environment, and into the surrounding landscape.

Durability & Maintenance: All public art projects in Colorado are exposed to weather and physical stresses, and are subject to vandalism. The artwork should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials.

Applying for these opportunities

In response to this RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit six digital images, a résumé, and a statement of interest no longer than 2,000 characters via (CaFÉ™). From these applications, the selection panel will choose up to five semifinalists who will be brought in for an interview with the panel. Semi-finalists will receive more specific information regarding the site and have the opportunity to meet with project representatives, the design team and public art staff.  If a formal proposal is requested, the artist will be provided an honorarium to prepare and present the proposal in person. Artists/teams selected as semi-finalists will be required to submit a Diversity & Inclusiveness Form in order 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. Semifinalists will be expected to pay for travel expenses from the honorarium. From the interview or proposal, an artist or artist team will be selected for this commission. The selected artist or artist team for the commission will collaborate with the Public Art Program staff and the River Vision design team when finalizing their designs for installation.

Please visit: for examples of recent commissions.

Can a team apply?

Appliquant may apply as a single artist or multi-person collaborative group. In the case of teams, please submit a single résumé for the whole team with 1-2 pages per team member.


The budget for this commission is up to $100,000 USD. These funds come from the City of Denver’s One Percent for Art Ordinance which allocates 1% of Capital Improvement Project budgets be set aside for the commission of public artworks. 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 consultation, 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 done on city property, prevailing wage requirements will be applied.

Tentative Timeline

(Except for online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments)

Monday, October 31, 11:59 MST                 Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)

January                                                Semifinalist Selection

February                                              Finalist Selection

March                                                 Finalist Notification


This project is open to artists residing in Colorado, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, gender variance, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, marital status, political opinion or affiliation, or mental or physical disability. Artists working in any media are eligible to apply. Artists are not required to have previous experience in public art. Emerging artists are encouraged to apply for this commission.

Maintenance & Durability

All applicants are expected to consider the issues of long-term conservation and maintenance of public art, along with time and budget. These projects are located in the public realm and may therefore be exposed to weather and physical stresses, as well as be subject to vandalism. Public art projects should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Semifinalists 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 and the Department of Construction and Engineering 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.

Diversity and Inclusiveness

Denver Executive Order No. 101 establishes strategies between the City and private industry to use diversity and inclusiveness promote economic development in the City and County of Denver and to encourage more businesses to compete for City contracts and procurements. The Executive Order requires, among other things, the collection of certain information regarding the practices of the City’s contractors and consultants toward diversity and inclusiveness and encourages/requires City agencies to include diversity and inclusiveness policies in selection criteria where legally permitted in solicitations for City services or goods.

Diversity and Inclusiveness means inviting values, perspectives and contributions of people from diverse backgrounds, and integrates diversity into its hiring and retention policies, training opportunities, and business development methods to provide an equal opportunity for each person to participate, contribute, and succeed within the organization’s workplace. “Diversity” encompasses a wide variety of human differences, including differences such as race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical disabilities, appearance, historically underutilized and disadvantaged persons, as well as social identities such as religion, marital status, socio-economic status, lifestyle, education, parental status, geographic background, language ability, and veteran status.

Project Selection Panel

According to Denver’s Public Art policies, the project selection panel plays an active role in the acquisition of public art for Denver. The River Vison Parks Art Selection Panel is comprised of voting members and additional non-voting advisors. The selection panel is responsible for reviewing the site, establishing criteria, writing a call for entry, reviewing applications, and selecting and interviewing semi-finalists and finalists.

Selection Process

Up to five artists/artist teams will be selected as semifinalists, depending on the number of responses to the RFQ. Those selected will receive more specific information regarding the site and have the opportunity to meet with project representatives, the design team and public art staff. The selection panel will interview and/or review proposals from the semifinalists and recommend finalists for the commission. The semifinalists will receive an honorarium of up to $500 to prepare and present the proposal in person. The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Public Art Committee, the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, and Mayor Michael B. Hancock 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 ( There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.

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 ImagesIn order to be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit six digital images of previously completed artworks through the CaFÉ™ system. Artists who wish to submit kinetic, sound or media works must submit a complete CaFÉ™ application and include links to the work uploaded online, such as through YouTube or Vimeo.

 Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found at Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available during regular business hours by calling 303-629-1166 or 888-562-7232, or via email at If an artist does not have access to a computer, s/he may call 720-865-4307 to make arrangements to use a computer at Denver Arts & Venues.

 Statement of InterestPlease submit a statement briefly outlining your interest in The River Vison Project and experience working on projects of this kind (2000-character maximum) via CaFÉ™.

RésuméSubmit 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 1-2 pages per team member.

Please direct all questions about the project to Rudi Cerri at 720-865-4307 or

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