Call Detail
Boathouse Sculpture Project
Traverse City Arts Commission
400 Boardman Avenue
Traverse City MI 49684

Contact Email:
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Michigan
Entry Deadline: 4/29/19
Application Closed
Images - Minimum: 10, Maximum: 16
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Total Media - Minimum: 10, Maximum: 20

Project Intent

The Traverse City Arts Commission is seeking to commission a new work of art to be placed on the Gordon and Jean Cornwell Sailing Center Boathouse located in Hull Park on Boardman Lake in Traverse City, Michigan.  The art will be completed by a commissioned artist.  The proposed art will be located on the south facing facade of the Boathouse.  The project will be one of the first exhibits that are planned for the Boardman Lake Art Trail; a total of three exhibits are currently in the planning stages for a 2019 implementation.

The project will be a permanent work of art and become part of the Arts Commission’s collection.  The type of artwork will be a sculptural mural and be attached to the outside south-facing wall of the Hull Park Boathouse.  A sculptural mural being defined as an assemblage of sculptural elements that are attached directly to the existing Boathouse wall.  The building wall space available is approximately 8’x 60’ by a 6” maximum depth.  


Project Vision

To commission a sculptural mural that will be unveiled in a public ceremony in Summer 2019. The sculpture will commemorate a family member of a Traverse City resident, inspire youth, be a destination and a landmark in Traverse City, be one of the first pieces of public art planned for the Boardman Lake Art Trail, and ultimately become part of the Arts Commission’s permanent collection.

Below are a set of descriptive and inspirational words that were provided to the Arts Commission by the donor:

  • Kinetic       
  • Educational         
  • Sails         
  • Sailing       
  • Wind         
  • Whimsical
  • Nautical     
  • Nature             
  • Abstract         
  • Design         
  • Youth         
  • Teaching
  • Dynamic   
  • Creative         
  • Engineering         
  • Objects         
  • North

Project Background & History

The Boathouse Sculpture Project is a new project that was introduced to the Arts Commission in early spring of this year.  The project was included in the 2018-19 Public Art Program and budget that was approved in April.  The project is being made possible by support from a local donor.

The generous financial contribution will come from a family trust and commemorate a family member that is now deceased.  The Arts Commission Director met early on with the donor to discuss a possible public art project; discussions focused on different types of public art and how the location of the art will be important to the family.  The location of the art will also play a role in establishing a design precedent and providing inspiration to the artist selected to complete the work.  Ultimately, the Boathouse at Hull Park was chosen, but other locations that were considered included parks along West Grand Traverse Bay, the Sara Hardy Farm Market along the Boardman River, as well as other locations along the future Boardman Lake Art Trail.  The Boathouse at Hull Park was chosen because of its direct location on Boardman Lake and its connection to water, and current educational programming focused on youth sailing.

Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) currently operates their youth sailing program from the Boathouse; TACS has been “mixing kids with water” since 1994.  TACS raised the money to build the Boathouse and in 2008 the Gordon and Jean Cornwell Sailing Center was completed and generously donated to the City.  The TACS organization maintains the building through an agreement with the City of Traverse City.  The TACS organization has been contacted regarding the art project and has offered to provide a letter of support.

Kendall College of Art and Design has also been contacted in regards to the proposed project.  The family member that will be commemorated through the design of the sculpture attended Kendall and later professionally practiced as an industrial designer and artist.  The school has offered to collaborate with the Arts Commission and support the call for entry by connecting with alumni.

Project Details

The project will include a sculptural mural; a sculptural mural being defined as an assemblage of sculptural elements that are attached directly to the existing Boathouse building facade.  The building wall space available is approximately 8’x 60’ by a 6” maximum depth.

Specific details including building wall construction and as-built drawings will be provided to the artists that are selected to prepare a concept art and maquette.

Contract Requirements

The finalist shall enter into a contract with the City of Traverse City upon acceptance of proposal. Michigan law shall apply to the contract and agreement between artist and the City of Traverse City.

Title to and ownership of the artwork passes to the City of Traverse City upon written acceptance of and payment for the work.

Copyright belongs to and remains with the artist. The artist retains all rights under the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USC Section 101) as the sole author of the work for the duration of the copyright. The duration of copyright in the United States is currently the life of the author plus seventy (70) years.

The City of Traverse City retains the right to reproduce the artwork in any and all forms, and will include credit to the artist and notice of copyright on all reproductions.

The Arts Commission recognizes some changes may occur during the process of creating the finished artwork.  If, in the reasonable judgment and opinion of the Commission, the final artwork is materially different than the concept presented and accepted during the selection process, the Commission reserves the right to request revisions to, or recreation of the art. It is the responsibility of the artist to discuss with the Traverse City Arts Commission any changes during the creative process that could be considered materially different.

The sculptural mural must be installed in a workmanlike manner with sufficient anchoring to prevent the sculpture from being removed, tipped, broken, or overturned. The sculpture and installation will be completed so that the artwork does not create any known risk to the public. The commission will review the artist’s proposed installation plans and may make recommendations to modify them to address safety concerns of the City of Traverse City.

The City of Traverse City and the Arts Commission reserve the right to relocate the artwork to a comparable downtown site at the direction of the City Commission, should future City projects necessitate a change.

The City of Traverse City requires that the selected artist carry Liability Insurance in the amount of $2,000,000 (two million dollars) per incident during the production of the artwork, with an endorsement naming the City of Traverse City as additional insured.

The artist and the City of Traverse City shall and hereby agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless each other against any liability that arises out of the other Party’s negligent or willful behavior.

Artists will be disqualified if they owe taxes to the City of Traverse City.


The project is open to all qualified artists age 18 and over.  Michigan-based artists and Kendall College of Art and Design alumni are encouraged to apply.  Teams of artists are welcome to apply.

Selection Process

The project will follow the process and guide described in the Public Art Program Master Plan for Traverse City, available at  The artist and final art will be selected by the Art Selection Panel and a recommendation will be made to the Arts Commission for final consideration.

The Arts Commission reserves the right to reopen our search if the right finalist/project is not found.

The call for entry process will include the following:

  • The Art Selection Panel reviews artists submittals and qualifications and develops a short-list with a maximum of (3) artists.
  • The selected artist(s) are invited to develop and submit a concept for the sculptural mural and will be compensated to develop a drawing or maquette.
  • The Art Selection Panel selects the final artist and makes a recommendation to the Arts Commission.
  • The Director reviews the recommendation, completes an artist phone interview, background check, and speaks with the references provided by the artist.


The artist fee is $16,500.00 (Sixteen Thousand Five Hundred Dollars) and includes all artist expenses for project completion including artist fees, materials, fabrication costs to develop the original art, documentation, transportation and shipping, and travel.

The total budget is $20,000 (Twenty Thousand Dollars) which includes $5,000 (Five Thousand Dollars) from the Public Arts Trust Fund.  The total budget includes all expenses for the project including artist materials and fee, travel expenses and artist reimburseables, structural investigation or engineering if needed, permits, installation, sign plaque, and any events or artist forums.


January 2019           
Develop call for entry.
January 16, 2019      Call for entry approved by Arts Commission.
February 1, 2019      Call opens.
February 22, 2019    Call closes and artists qualifications due.*
February 27, 2019    Art Selection Panel review artists qualifications and select up to (3) finalists.
March 8, 2019           Finalist submit concept art and maquette.
March 13, 2019         Art Selection Panel selects artist.
March 20, 2019         Artist and artwork considered by Arts Commission.
April-June 2019        Art fabrication.
June 5, 2019             Art Selection Panel reviews final art and makes recommendation to the                                        Arts Commission.
June 19, 2019           Final artwork considered by Arts Commission.
June 2019                 Preparation and installation of panel system.
July 2019                  Exhibit opening.



The Arts Commission will work with the selected artist to identify specific maintenance requirements for the sculptural mural.  The maintenance plan will need to consider seasonal cleaning of the mural, Boathouse walls and longer-term requirements including re-painting the Boathouse.   All maintenance will be paid for with funds from the Public Arts Trust Fund.


How to Apply

Artists who wish to be considered for this project must prepare and submit the following materials online  or in hard copy form.  Information on where to apply and submit can be found on the first page of this RFQ packet.

Required materials include:

1. Letter of interest – one page only explaining interest in the project
2. Current resume – detailing past or current commissions and public installations of work (if a team application, include resumes of all members), and including artist name, gallery representation (if any), address, phone, and email.
3. Images – examples of representative work history in the past five years, not exceeding 16 high resolution images, 3 videos, and 1 audio, with emphasis on recent work.
4. Image annotation – artwork title, date, medium, size, location as appropriate, and the commission budget for the work, if applicable.
5. References – list of three professional references with knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods. This list must include complete addresses and phone numbers for the reference.
6. Optional – artists may submit up to three items of support materials (i.e. reviews, articles about their work etc.)

Contact Person

Nathan Elkins, Director

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