Call Detail
AlexRenew Public Art Residency

Entry Deadline: 2/12/19
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 10
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 16
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Virginia

AlexRenew Public Art Residency

Request for Artists’ Qualifications

Submission Deadline: February 10, 2019 by 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time

The City of Alexandria’s Public Art Program in collaboration with Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) is launching the AlexRenew Public Art Residency. We are currently seeking an artist for the first residency, which will run from approximately May 2019 to October 2020. This residency is an opportunity for artists to engage deeply with the work of AlexRenew (a special purpose authority that treats wastewater for the City of Alexandria) and its RiverRenew project – a major initiative to improve the health of Alexandria’s waterways. The selected artist will have an all-inclusive budget of $30,000 and will be engaged for 18 months, which will include an initial immersion period, followed by proposing a project and time to implement the project. Artists will work collaboratively with Public Art Program and AlexRenew staff throughout the process and should have an interest in exploring water-related environmental issues and working with communities.

Background & Context

About the City of Alexandria

Alexandria, Virginia is a small historic seaport city of about 150,000 residents located on the Potomac River, minutes from Washington, D.C. It is best known for its historic Old Town but is also home to federal agencies such as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the Defense Department and the headquarters of the National Science Foundation.

About AlexRenew and RiverRenew

AlexRenew is a special-purpose authority that treats wastewater for the City of Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County. Its water resource recovery facility treats an average 35 million gallons of wastewater per day and is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world. Currently, AlexRenew is embarking on a major program called RiverRenew to invest in a tunnel system that will improve the health of Alexandria’s waterways.  

RiverRenew is a seven-year program owned and implemented by AlexRenew, with support from the City of Alexandria to remediate four sewer system outfalls that currently carry rainwater and sewage into Alexandria’s waterways during rainstorms. These outfalls are part of a combined sewer system constructed in the late 1800s that serves older parts of Alexandria. This combined sewer system collects both rainwater and sewage in the same pipe and transports to it AlexRenew’s water resource recovery facility for treatment. During rainstorms, too much rainwater can overwhelm the system, causing excess combined rainwater and sewage to flow into Alexandria’s waterways at these four outfalls, carrying pollutants into local rivers and streams without being treated. RiverRenew will remediate these four outfalls by capturing and treating the combined rainwater and sewage before it overflows into Alexandria’s waterways. The program is in response to a 2017 Virginia law to achieve healthier, cleaner waterways in Alexandria by 2025.

This major focus on the health of Alexandria’s waterways provides a unique opportunity for the City of Alexandria’s Public Art Program to collaborate with AlexRenew and launch the AlexRenew Artist Residency, bringing artists into this important community conversation for the duration of the seven-year RiverRenew project.

About Alexandria’s Public Art Program

Alexandria’s Public Art Program is an emerging program housed in the City’s Office of the Arts that is building a reputation for working with artists in innovative ways to realize new projects. The Program’s vision is for public art to enrich the experience of Alexandria’s past, celebrate the spirit of Alexandria’s present and shape the identity of Alexandria’s future.

The City of Alexandria’s Public Art Implementation Plan, adopted in 2014, outlined a vision and goals for the public art program and established three Creative Directions for its work: Time and Place, Neighborhood Identity, and Natural and Urban Systems. This residency falls under the Natural and Urban Systems creative direction, which calls for public art that adds to the civic discussion about building a sustainable, healthy and diverse city and creates a sense of connection throughout various areas of the city.

AlexRenew Public Art Residency Goals and Outputs

Over the course of the eighteen-month residency, the selected artists will have access to AlexRenew staff, support from the Office of the Arts, and, if needed, space to work at AlexRenew’s offices, as they develop and implement a public art project. There is not a pre-determined amount of time the artist must spend at AlexRenew or in Alexandria, but it is expected that the project will be developed through a close collaboration with staff and based on the artist’s research and interaction with staff and community members, in order to achieve the residency goals.

2019 – 2020 Residency: Artist’s Project Goals

The artist selected for the initial residency will be asked to consider and respond to the following goals as they develop their work:

·        Enable local residents to explore, understand and internalize their own relationship to water and the health of waterways.

·        Increase local residents’ personal commitments to water stewardship and understanding of the ways they can contribute to improving and maintaining the health of Alexandria’s waterways.

·        Increase residents’ understanding of the natural and infrastructural water systems that support the functioning and health of the city.

2019 – 2020 Residency: Outputs

The first residency must result in a temporary or permanent public art project. The project must have a strong community engagement component, including a clear plan for how the community will participate and be in engaged in the development or creation of the artwork and/or with the project once itself once it is installed. The project must have a physical presence in a publicly owned location(s) in Alexandria and must be available to the public to interact with and experience.

Over the course of the residency, the artist will be expected to participate in regular check-ins with AlexRenew and Office of the Arts staff as they develop and implement their project and to work with staff to develop a plan for documenting the work. Office of the Arts and AlexRenew staff and their consultants will provide overall project management and will work together to support the artist through all stages of the project including proposal development, community engagement, and project implementation.

Artist Selection Process

Submittals to this open call to artists will be reviewed by a Task Force comprised of representatives from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, AlexRenew staff, and members of the community-at-large. The Task Force will select 3 finalists who will be invited to Alexandria to participate in a site visit and interview. Following the site visit, each finalist will make a presentation via video conference to the Task Force sharing their reactions to the site visit and responses to a provided list of questions. Finalists will be paid $750 for their participation in the site visit, plus a travel stipend of up to $400 for finalists coming from out of town.

The Task Force will make their final selection based on the presentations and interviews and may select more than one artist and then stagger their work.  The selected artist(s) will be approved by the Commission for the Arts and placed under contract with the City of Alexandria to develop a project proposal, and subsequently to implement their project.

Anticipated Timeline

February 10, 2019                           Submittals due 

March 2019                                      Finalists selected

March/April 2019                           Site Visit and Presentations/Interviews

April 2019                                         Artist Selected

Late May 2019                                 Artist Immersion Week in Alexandria

Summer 2019                                  Artist Research, Community Engagement, Idea Generation

September 2019                             Approval of Artist Project Proposal

Fall 2019 – October 2020             Artist Carries out Project



The overall budget for the first residency is $30,000, which includes the artist’s time and costs for the immersion, community engagement and idea generation period and all costs of creating and implementing the artwork. In addition, artists will be expected to participate in related programming and events. Alexandria’s Office of the Arts and AlexRenew will provide additional support to the project through project management, marketing, publicity and assistance with site permits.


Artists and artist teams age 18 and over living in the United States are eligible to apply to this open call to artists. Artists may work in various media, but their practice should involve a strong community engagement/social practice component and their work should demonstrate an interest in engaging with water or other environmental issues. Artists must be available to come to Alexandria multiple times during the period from May 2019 to October 2020. We anticipate the artist will spend the most time in Alexandria in the beginning of the residency, establishing their relationship with staff and community partners and developing their project idea. From there, time spent in Alexandria will depend on the nature of the artist’s project.

To Submit

To apply, go online to the CaFÉ homepage at and create a free artist account. CaFÉ is free to use and there is no entry fee for this call.  Under “Find Calls” search for “AlexRenew Public Art Residency.” Follow the instructions for submission, upload the required images and files, and submit. For technical questions about CaFÉ, please click on “Help” on the CaFÉ website.  

You will be required to submit the following:

·        a letter of no more than 2 pages stating your interest in the residency and describing your basic approach to the residency,

·        a resume of no more than 3 pages,

·        10 images of past work, and

·        the names and contact information of three professional references.


Interested artists may submit questions about this call by February 4, 2019 to Aliza Schiff at Responses to questions will be posted at by February 6, 2019.


Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria