Call Detail
InSITE Downtown STL Temporary Public Art Ideas Competition
Entry Deadline: 5/19/19
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 8, Maximum:Max. 15
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 8, Maximum:Max. 15
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Regional
State: Missouri

This Call for Artists is part of the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative. The Initiative was created in 2018 as a partnership between the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, Explore St. Louis, and Downtown STL, Inc., with the vision that public art will support building a dense, inclusive and culturally vibrant downtown that is a vital anchor to the entire region.

The Initiative aims to:

  • Encourage walking and exploration of Downtown’s streets and public spaces.
  • Highlight the culture of Downtown as a place for creativity and possibility.
  • Reinforce the identity of Downtown as the heart of a diverse and multifaceted region.
  • Welcome people Downtown and demonstrate that they have arrived at a unique, vibrant, and creative destination, rich with history, where people from all over the region, country, and world are encouraged to gather.

For more information about the Initiative and to see the full Downtown STL Public Art Master Plan, go to:

The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative invites artists to propose temporary public artworks based on their own ideas and art practices at sites of their own choosing in the core of Downtown St. Louis. Projects must be installed in the spring of 2020 and can be on view from one month to one year. 

Selection Process
Submittals will be evaluated by the Downtown Public Art Advisory Committee, a group of arts and design professionals, Downtown residents and Downtown business owners, who will short-list a group of finalists. Finalists will be provided with a stipend to develop their ideas into Concept Proposals. It is anticipated that a minimum of five final projects will be selected.

Projects with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 (inclusive of design, supplies, insurance, engineering, fabrications, delivery, installation, and de-installation) will be considered. The total budget available for all projects is $100,000.

This Call for Artists is open to established and emerging artists who have a connection to the St. Louis region. Partnerships between local and non-local artists are eligible. No previous public art experience is required.

Submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on May 19, 2019.

The densest part of Downtown St. Louis is its core, defined here as the area bounded by Convention Plaza, Tucker Boulevard, 4th Street, and Market Street. It is home to more than 4,000 residents and more than 700 businesses large and small with more than 30,000 employees. It is served by two MetroLink stations and is traversed by a dozen bus lines. Within the 64-block area you can visit museums and a sculpture garden, see architecture dating from the 1840s, including in excess of 60 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and be within a stone’s throw of many other Downtown destinations. On an annual basis, the America’s Center Convention Complex hosts an average of 109 events generating approximately 600,000 attendees and 350,000 hotel room nights.

Despite this, many of the streets, sidewalks, and public spaces in the core can feel desolate and lacking in vitality. The activity, energy, and stories being generated by what is taking place inside the walls of the buildings in the core does not spill out to the streets; activities for visitors are often isolated and do not encourage exploration and discovery.

InSITE invites artists to share and develop ideas for site-specific, temporary, public artworks in the Downtown core that impact how we see Downtown — from the actual physical character, to different views and sightlines, to our views or perceptions of what this area is and can be — encouraging exploration, curiosity, and a new way of seeing.

This Call for Artists encourages artists to explore the core of Downtown St. Louis, defined as the area bounded by Convention Plaza, 4th Street, Tucker Boulevard (including both sides of those streets), and north of Market Street. The focus on this highly walkable part of Downtown will allow for a critical mass of projects for visitors to encounter. See Map.

Parks, streetscapes, transit stops, and other City and government-owned sites are preferred. However, artists need not limit their proposals to these locations and may put forward additional ideas, provided that agreements for placement, liability, and maintenance can be secured during the proposal and project development process.

When considering sites and potential projects, artists must consider how their proposed project will accommodate site use, pedestrian flow, and safety. Finalists will be required to meet with appropriate City and site stakeholders during the proposal development process.

The total budget for all artist-initiated projects is $100,000. It is estimated that this will enable a maximum of five projects with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. Project budgets will be inclusive of design, supplies, insurance, engineering, fabrication, delivery, installation, de-installation, and travel (if applicable). Submitting artists or artist teams are asked to indicate the estimated budget range necessary to realize their proposed idea. Finalists will be asked to submit detailed project budgets in Phase 2.

The number of projects realized will depend on the scale and quality of the submissions, the total program budget available, and the capacity of the project management team. InSITE aims to fund projects ranging in budget, location and impact.

Saturday, April 13 Artist Information Session 9:00am – 10:00am (optional) RSVP here
Saturday, April 13 Tour Downtown 10:30am – 12:00pm (optional) RSVP here
Wednesday, April 24 Tour Downtown 5:00pm – 6:30pm (optional) RSVP here
Wednesday, April 24 Artist Information Session 7:00pm – 8:00pm (optional) RSVP here
May 9, 2019 Deadline for applicant questions
May 13, 2019 Answers to all questions posted online
May 19, 2019 Submission deadline
Late June 2019 Selection of finalists
Mid-September 2019 Finalists present proposals
October 2019 Award of commissions
November 2019 – Spring 2020 Detailed design and fabrication
Spring 2020 Installation complete

All works of art must be in place from May 1 to May 31, 2020, but may remain in place for up to one year.

All dates listed above are subject to modification.

Artists and artist teams are invited to submit their ideas and qualifications. Submittals will be reviewed by the Downtown Public Art Advisory Committee, which will select up to 10 finalists. Finalists will then be asked to develop a Concept Proposal, including a preferred location. Finalists will receive an honorarium ranging from $500 to $1,500, based on the estimated project budget, to develop their Concept Proposal. The Downtown STL Initiative will connect the finalists with technical advisors (i.e.: relevant City staff, property owners, permitting agencies) to provide information regarding the availability and technical constraints of a preferred site or sites. The Downtown STL Initiative and its consultants will also meet individually with each finalist to discuss jury feedback, the Concept Proposal process, and to provide the artist with contacts to technical resources, if requested.

Regional Arts Commission Diversity Policy
The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis advocates re­spect, inclusion, and appreciation of the diverse cultures and backgrounds of all individuals. The Commission is committed to working through the arts to eliminate bias and prejudices based on race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. The Commission encourages, supports, and strengthens arts organizations and programs that reflect these values. RAC also partners with other organizations to address issues of diversity.

In your online submission you will be asked to provide.

  • A brief Artist Statement (300 words max) to introduce the Selection Committee to your artistic practice and some of the themes and ideas that you explore in your artwork.
  • A statement (500 words max) that describes the idea that you are interested in exploring for this project and how this idea relates to the context and broad goals of InSITE and the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative.
  • A description of a specific site or attributes of a type of site where you would like to situate your project (the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative will assist Finalists with final site identification and permissions during Phase 3).
  • A description of the media that you would most likely explore or consider using to realize your project, or how you will approach selecting materials if invited to develop a Finalist Proposal.
  • The approximate duration that you would like the work to be on display. Works can range in length from one month to one year; and while timelines are flexible, all projects should be on display during the entire month of May 2020.
  • Approximate budget range you estimate will be necessary to realize your project.
  • A brief (25 word max) description of your or your team’s connection to St. Louis.

You will be asked to attach the following files in your online submission:

  • A résumé/CV no longer than 3-pages for each artist, including current contact information and email address (PDF).
  • Three professional references with current contact information (PDF).
  • Up to 10 samples of previous works. Submissions can include a mix of JPEG images, audio clips, and/or videos (60 second clips only). Teams of multiple artists may submit up to a maximum of 15 samples.
  • Information about each work sample, including: artist’s name, artwork title, a brief description of the artwork (100 words or less), media, completion date, dimensions, location, and total budget/cost. Applicants must state their role in the creation of the artwork if other artists or design professionals were involved in its creation. Applicants should state the commissioning agency if applicable.

The Downtown Public Art Advisory Committee will review submittals and select up to ten finalists based upon the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and innovation as evidenced by past work.
  • Artwork must be achievable for installation by May 1, 2020.
  • Ability of the proposed idea to work in a public environment and engage public space.
  • Clarity and creativity of the artist’s idea.
  • Relationship of the artist’s idea to the context and goals for InSITE and the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative.

Up to 10 Finalists will be awarded an honorarium ranging from $500 to $1,500 for the development of a Final Proposal.

The Final Proposal will include:

  • The concept in the form of detailed drawings, models, and/or other documents in order to present a meaningful representation of the proposed artwork.
  • A detailed narrative description of the project.
  • A description of the site where the work is to be located and documentation of communications that confirm the availability of the site.
  • A description of the method of fabrication and installation, and material samples.
  • A description of the site preparation necessary for installation and a plan for returning the site to its original condition at close of project (if applicable).
  • The duration and timeframe for installation and de-installation, and a schedule for the installation and de-installation of the work, which allows for the work to be on display during the entire month of May 2020.
  • Any anticipated maintenance needs for the duration of the exhibition of the work.
  • A detailed budget.

Finalists will submit a draft of their Final Proposals to the Downtown STL Public Art Initiative for technical review.

Finalists will then present their Final Proposals (in person or electronically) to the Downtown Public Art Advisory Committee. The Committee will recommend approximately five artists/artist teams to be awarded commissions based on the following criteria:

  • Proposal demonstrates high quality, innovation, and creativity.
  • Proposal demonstrates feasibility in terms of budget, timeline, safety, maintenance, and siting.
  • Proposal demonstrates clarity of vision and a positive impact on the project’s site.
  • Artist establishes a realistic plan for fabrication, installation, and maintenance.
  • Artist’s ability to manage schedules, requirements, communications, and budgets as evidenced by previous projects and/or supported by professional references.

In addition to the above criteria, the Advisory Committee will be seeking a group of final projects that reflect a diversity of artistic approaches, budget sizes, locations, and artist backgrounds. The final number of projects is dependent on budget. The Advisory Committee has the right to reject any and all proposals.

The Downtown STL Public Art Initiative has partnered with Midwest Artist Project Services (MAPS) to present two information sessions where we will walk you through the project goals, the application process, and provide tips on putting together a successful application. Information sessions are free, but space is limited; please RSVP.

Session 1 Saturday, April 13; 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
RSVP here
Location T-REX, 911 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63101

Session 2 Wednesday, April 24; 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
RSVP here
Location T-REX, 911 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63101

Interested artists are invited to attend one or more tours to learn more about the past, present and future of Downtown. Tours are free, but space is limited; please RSVP.

Tour 1 Saturday, April 13; 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. hosted by Renegade STL
RSVP here
Location Meet at T-REX 911 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63101

Tour 2 Wednesday, April 24; 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. hosted by Landmarks Association of St. Louis
RSVP here
Location Meet at Old Courthouse 11 N. 4th St., St. Louis, MO 63101

This opportunity is open to established and emerging artists and artist teams, defined as those who have a specialized training in the field and/or a history of exhibition as an artist, and are recognized as artists by peers and arts professionals. No public art experience is required.

Artists must be individuals with a connection to St. Louis (currently live here or have lived and practiced art here at some point in their life/career). If an artist team, the lead artist and at least 50% of the team must have a connection to St. Louis.

Interested artists may submit questions about this call by 4 p.m. CST on May 9, 2019, to Angie Villa at Responses to questions will be posted at by 4 p.m. CST on May 13, 2019.

Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria