Call Detail
Denver Zoo/City Park Project
Denver Public Art Program
1345 Champa Street
Denver, CO, 80204

Contact Email:
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Colorado
Entry Deadline: 1/23/17
Application Closed
Media Images:8

Denver Public Art
Denver Zoo/City Park Project
Budget: $285,000 USD
DEADLINE: Monday, January 23, 2017 - 11:59 MST

The Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or team of artists to create an original work of art for the exterior façade of a building on Denver Zoo’s property. The building is located on the southeastern side of the Zoo, adjacent to Denver’s City Park and facing City Park’s Duck Lake The Denver Zoo/City Park art selection panel has recommended a site-specific, unique artwork to be designed, fabricated and installed on the façade. The nearby fence line and service gate are secondary locations for art. This commission is open nationally to artists/artist teams working in most media. The commission amount is $285,000 USD.

The Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo brings education to life, providing a unique learning experience that sparks an interest in the natural world for visitors and program participants alike. Home to 4,100 animals representing more than 600 species, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care.

A leader in green action, Denver Zoo is the greenest zoo in the country and is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the environment in support of all species by attaining the highest environmental standards. Since 1996, Denver Zoo has participated in more than 600 animal conservation projects in 62 countries on all seven continents.

City Park
City Park is a historic urban park in DenverColorado. The park is 330 acres. The park contains the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ferril and Duck Lakes, and the Pavilion. City Park is the largest and most notable park in Denver. The park is located in east-central Denver, slightly more than a mile east of downtown. The park is one mile long and three-quarters of a mile wide. The park's boundaries are:

  • West-York Street
  • South-17th Avenue
  • East-Colorado Boulevard
  • North-23rd Avenue

The initial park layout was designed by Henry Meryweather in 1882 in the tradition of both English pastoral gardens and Central Park in New York City, with a flowing, casual design. Construction of the park began in 1886 with “a sinuous tangle of winding carriageways, walks and promenades” put into place. The 1893 World's Fair started the City Beautiful movement, which further influenced the design. The arrangement of roads and walks gave the park its pastoral feel, many of which are still in place today.
After the turn-of-the-century the park was linked, as originally envisioned, to a wider system of parks using parkways and grand boulevards. During this period, monumental sculpture was also introduced, consistent with City Beautiful philosophy, including the McLellan Gateway, the Sopris Gateway, the Monti Gateway, the Sullivan Gateway, and the Thatcher Memorial Fountain, which mark park entrances.
Duck Lake was the main focal point when the park was first built, and has always had a more “wild” feel than Ferril Lake, which is more formal, and is home to the Pavilion. Duck Lake was once home to the most diverse site for water fowl in the United States until the 1970s. Fish and migratory birds still inhabit Duck Lake, and it is a popular resting spot for visitors to the park.

The Site for the Artwork
The Denver Zoo/City Park art selection panel has recommended a site-specific artwork to be designed, fabricated and installed on the façade of the Waste Management building that faces Duck Lake. The building is 28 feet tall. There is also the possibility of extending the artwork or other elements along the nearby fence line and onto an adjacent service gate, or integrating the artwork(s) into the natural area between the building, fence and the lake itself. The panel is particularly interested in artworks that explore the interplay between the built and natural environment, that celebrate the Denver Zoo and City Park and highlight the transition between the two, that are sensitive to nearby wildlife and are calming yet innovative, and provide visitors with another reason to pause at the site. The artwork should have a daytime and nighttime presence. It should be noted that the public will have minimal direct contact with the art. The primary view shed is from across Duck Lake and into City Park and across the south shore of Ferril Lake looking north to Duck Lake and the service gate area. The artwork might reflect off the water of Duck Lake and Ferril Lake and be seen from 17th Ave., depending on the scope of the artwork. Artists or artist teams selected to create proposals will be required to consult with Denver Zoo staff, Denver Parks and Recreation staff and Denver Public Art staff prior to the submission of a final proposal to discuss site parameters and areas of opportunity. Images are attached at the end of this RFQ.

Materials & Media
The selection panel members have set forth specific goals and parameters for this public art project with the hope of creating a unique and inspiring work of art for the diverse communities that visit and enjoy City Park, Duck Lake, and the Denver Zoo. The selection panel is open to artworks made from a variety of materials.

Maintenance & Durability
All applicants are expected to consider the issues of the maintenance of the public artwork, along with time and budget. The project should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials, and the panel is open to the use of natural materials that tie in with the landscaping in and around the project site. 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. All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved time frame.

This project is open nationally to all artists, 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 with experience integrating artwork(s) onto existing building façades are encouraged to apply. Emerging artists are also encouraged to apply for this commission.

Applying for this Opportunity
In response to this RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit eight 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 between three and five semifinalists who will be required to present their proposal to the Art Selection Panel. Colorado artists will be provided an honorarium of $1,000, and out-of-state artists will be provided $1,500 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 Denver Zoo staff when finalizing their designs for installation.

Please visit: for examples of recent commissions.

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 1-2 pages per team member.

Diversity and Inclusiveness
Denver Executive Order No. 101 establishes strategies between the City and private industry to use diversity and inclusiveness to 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.

The budget for this commission is $285,000 USD which will be allocated to the artist/team selected. These funds come from the City of Denver’s One Percent for Art Ordinance resulting from several Bond-funded projects at the Denver Zoo. 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, January 23, 11:59 MST                Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)
February                                                         Semifinalist Selection
April                                                                 Finalist Selection
May                                                                  Finalist Notification

Project Selection Panel
According to Denver’s Public Art Policy, the Art Selection Panel plays an active role in the acquisition of public art for Denver. The Denver Zoo/City Park selection panel is comprised of 10 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
Between three and five artists/artist teams will be selected as semifinalists, depending on the number of qualified responses to the RFQ. Semifinalists will be required to consult with Denver Zoo staff, Denver Parks and Recreation staff and Denver Public Art staff prior to the submission of a final proposal. The selection panel will interview and review proposals from the semifinalists and recommend finalists 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 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.

Digital ImagesIn order to be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit eight digital images, 6 of which must be previously completed artworks, through the CaFÉ™ system.
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 720-865-5563 to make arrangements to use a computer at Denver Arts & Venues offices.

Statement of InterestPlease submit a statement briefly outlining your interest in the Denver Zoo/City Park project and experience working on projects of this kind (2,000 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 Brendan Picker at or by calling 720-865-5563.

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