Call Detail
RI State Council on the Arts University of Rhode Island Harrington School

Contact Email:
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Regional
State: Rhode Island
Entry Deadline: 1/17/17
Application Closed
Media Images:6

Budget: $20,000
Deadline: January 17, 2017


The University of Rhode Island began in 1888 as the Rhode Island State Agricultural School. It became the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1892, and graduated the first class of 17 members two years later. In 1909, the name of the college was changed to Rhode Island State College, and the program of study was revised and expanded.  In 1951 the college became the University of Rhode Island by an act of the General Assembly.  The Board of Governors for Higher Education became the governing body of the University in 1981.

 Today, the University has three satellite campuses but Kingston remains the largest and busiest. The main campus is 1,200-acres showcasing a mix of handsome ivy-covered buildings and contemporary architecture, and serving over 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  Over 60% of URI students are Rhode Islanders.  The average degree-seeking undergraduate is 22 years old, but 12% of students are 25 or older.

 URI’s website defines the school as "the State’s public learner-centered research university and a community joined in a common quest for knowledge. 


 Conceived by Dr. Winnie Brownell in 2008, the Harrington School of Communication and Media was created through a generous gift by URI alumnus Richard J. Harrington, Chairman of Cue Ball, a venture firm, and former CEO of the Thomson Reuters corporation. The School comprises six programs, each engaging and involving communication and media. The Harrington School prepares outstanding graduates for careers, life, and citizenship in rapidly changing global professions.

 Programs within the school include Communication Studies; Film/Media; Journalism; Public Relations: Writing & Rhetoric; Library and Information Studies.


The RI State Council On the Arts and the University of Rhode Island will commission 2D or 3D work for the outer walls to the left and right of the center column in the Living/Learning Room and/or the wall to the right as one faces the classroom screen situated at one end of the room.  

Panelists determined to let artists dictate the aesthetic, the only mandate being that the work should in some way reference communications.

The budget is all-inclusive, including installation, lighting, wiring and/or screens if digital work is submitted. There are many screens in the building already, so ‘media’ artwork is not necessarily the best fit. In addition, because the room is used for classes and lectures, electronics are not necessarily practical as they would need to be turned on and off.

There is no limit on other types of media.

Panelists felt that it made the most sense to commission one artist, rather than multiple artists, so that there is a continuity of aesthetic.

Two more tables will be placed near where artwork will be located, but no more window treatments or other furniture are expected to be incorporated into the design of the room.  

The RFQ will be limited to artists from New England and New York. 



Please note: This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is the first step in the RISCA/URI public art selection process. It is not considered best practice for an agency to ask an artist to craft a proposal without compensation. Therefore, RISCA will conduct the URI Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ (see below) and there is no charge to the artist for applying or for submitting digital images. 

At this preliminary selection stage, we request submissions from artists or art teams consisting of six (6) images representing work completed within the past ten years, resumes, and very brief descriptions of potential site-specific proposals, (as in, “If commissioned, I would create a 2D painting or “a 3D wooden wall relief”, etc.”).  

If an artist wants to apply as an individual as well as part of a team, two separate CaFÉ profiles and two separate CaFÉ applications must be completed (i.e., one application submission for you and one application submission for your team). Applications consisting of six images and resumes will be reviewed by the URI Public Art Selection Panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist's work, and their ability to carry out a substantial public art commission.

Three finalists will be selected from the pool of RFQ applicants and those finalists will craft detailed proposals including an itemized budget, scale models and renderings, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid an honorarium of $500. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both the site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for any travel costs.

No slides or hard copy materials will be accepted for this call. First time CaFÉ applicants must allow enough time to prepare their CaFÉ formatted digital images and electronic submission prior to the deadline.

Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ (tm) web site ( and must include:

  1. A current resume for each artist. If you are applying as a team, include all team member resumes within one document.  
  2. Six digital images of relevant artwork. In the Description of Image, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion and a brief description of the artwork if necessary.  Please do not present more than one view of artwork per image.  If you wish to show a "detail", include it within the six (6) artwork images.


January 17, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

Late-February 2017: panel meeting for review and selection of semifinalists

Late-February 2017: Artist notification

March 2017 (TBA): Finalist site visits

April 2017 (TBA): Finalist presentations to selection panel

May 2017: Final approval by RISCA Council

Tbd with artist: Contract signed

Tbd with artist: Work installed and completed

According to law, recommendations of the selection panel will be presented to the governing council of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts who will have final approval of the public art selection.

Finalist’s site-specific proposals should convey artist’s ideas and plans through designs, renderings and/or scale models with a statement that describes the project's intent, proposed materials, fabrication and installation methods, and an itemized budget. Artists chosen as finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  The finalists will be supplied with plans, photographs, and specific information about the Harrington School and the URI campus. A site visit as well as a meeting with the architect and the URI administration will be scheduled for the finalists.  An honorarium of $500 will be awarded to the finalists following presentation of their proposals. The proposals will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain proposals for up to one year for display purposes and the right to reproduce final proposals for documentation and public information purposes.

The Public Art Selection Panel reserves the right to determine which proposal will be funded and the extent of funding. The panel also reserves the right not to accept any proposal submitted. If the recommendations of the Public Art Selection Panel are approved by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for the selected commission. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.


The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:

  1. Artistic Quality: Quality and suitability of the final proposal in relation to the project description, program goals and site descriptions.
  2. Ability of the Artist’s Team: The artist's ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule.
  3. Value: The quality and scope of the proposed completed work in relation to the commission and fees paid to the artist’s team.
  4. Durability of the Work: Permanence and durability of materials for this heavily used public facility. It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that all artwork meets safety standards, adheres to building codes, ADA requirements and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance.
  5. Collaborative Spirit: Willingness of the artist to consult with the architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, general contractor, building staff (or designated representatives), and RISCA staff to assure smooth integration of the artwork into the site and to make necessary adjustments in relation to building codes and other construction issues.

If you have questions about the RFQ, email Elizabeth Keithline:    If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email


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