Call Detail

RI State Council On the Arts- Garrahy Judicial Complex
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Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Rhode Island
Event Dates: 9/17/18 - 11/15/18
Entry Deadline: 10/9/18
Application Closed
Media Images:6

Artwork for the Garrahy Judicial Complex, located at 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, Rhode Island, will be commissioned by the Rhode Island State Council On the Arts, (RISCA), through Rhode Island’s Public Art Law, which mandates that 1% of all state capital construction and renovation funds be allocated to the purchase and maintenance of public art.  Through this program the State recognizes that “public art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment, and pride for all citizens.” 

RISCA is committed to helping fine artists gain a foothold in the field of public art. Some excellent national resources on best practices include: the Public Art Network:; the Public Art Archive:;; and Forecast Public Art:

About The Building & The Work Of the Agency
Garrahy Judicial Complex, the busiest courthouse in Rhode Island, will have a new parking facility by November 2019. One percent of the construction budget, $220,000, has been set aside for the acquisition of public art.

The Courthouse is used by approximately 3,500 people a day. Family Court deals with matters of divorce, custody and adoption. It was strongly stated that “adoption is the best thing that happens in the building”. District Court focuses on arraignments and legal disputes, and Superior Court hears appeals from the lower courts. Much more information is located here:

Users of the building “can be really good people on a bad day or really bad people on their worst day”. They might have committed a double homicide. They might have a custody hearing or an issue with child support. No matter who they are, they hope to receive justice. Some people pass through the building just once and some, such as children in the care of the court, visit the building for 18 years.

Equally as important, the courthouse employs 400-500 people and they are users too.

Panel Feedback On A Direction For the Commission

Panelists attended 2 site visits in summer 2018 and determined that, without belying the dignity of the court, artwork that is colorful, bright, cheerful and/or soothing would be appropriate.

Durability and sustainability of the work is vital, thus designs with elaborate maintenance requirements should be avoided.

This RFQ seeks permanent artwork for the exterior of the garage.

The budget may be used in its entirety in one location or it can be split. This decision is solely at the discretion of the panel and the Rhode Island State Council On the Arts.

Other Considerations

The selected artist(s) should be prepared to engage with the community in the building and at large.

The scope of the project will include all labor related to the artist’s installation, drawings, permitting and permit fees, equipment, supervision, testing services, procurement of a Rhode Island engineer’s stamp, and all other costs incurred in the delivery of the finished installation.

The final commissioned work must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act:

Submission Requirements

Please note: This Request for Qualifications is the first step in the Garrahy Judicial Complex public art selection process.  YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC PROPOSAL. This is a Request For Qualifications, (RFQ), not a Request For Proposals, (RFP).

RISCA will conduct the Garrahy Judicial Complex Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ (see below). There is no charge to the artist for applying or for submitting digital images. At this preliminary selection stage, we are requesting submissions from artists or artist teams consisting of six (6) images representing current work (completed within the past ten years) and resumes.

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 for your team).

Applications will be reviewed by the Garrahy Judicial Complex Public Art Selection Panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist's work and the artist’s ability to carry out a substantial public art commission. The RFQ process is mainly about the panel’s initial response to the artist’s images.

If selected as a finalist, artists 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 $2,500. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both a site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for 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.

Estimated Timeline

October 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions
Late-October 2018: panel meeting for selection of finalists; artist notification
Early-to-mid-November 2018: Finalist site visits
December 2018: Finalist presentations to selection panel
January 2019: Final approval by RISCA Council
Tbd: Contract signed
Tbd: Work installed

According to law, the final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts who will have the final vote on the commission.

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. Finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  They will be supplied with plans, images, and specific information about the Garrahy Judicial Complex building and its campus.

A site visit will be scheduled for the finalists.  The honorarium of $2,500 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 to not accept any final proposal. If the Public Art Selection Panel’s recommendations are approved, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for the commission. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.

Selection Criteria

The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:
  1. High artistic 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. 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 and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance.
  5. Collaborative Spirit: Willingness of the artist to consult with the building’s employees, architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, general contractors and building staff (or designated representatives) 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 this RFQ, please email Elizabeth Keithline:    If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email
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