Call Detail
See Change (Call for Socially Engaged Artists)

Entry Deadline: 7/9/19
Application Closed

Entry Fee (See Change (Call for Socially Engaged Artists)): $20.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 16
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 3
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 19
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: California

“What the warming world needs now is art, sweet art.” 
Bill McKibben, Founder of, 2005

Sanchez Art Center Announces:




Too often fear has taken a leading role in community discussions regarding sea level rise.  Science-driven narratives, heavy with projections, complex maps, and challenging adaptation strategies understandably create anxiety.  The impact of the unknown causes the community to put up defenses frequently without a fact-based understanding of why plans are being developed and what they mean for individuals, the community and the environment. 

The arts have the unique ability to affect us in ways that—though hard to quantify -- can support the need for adaptation in a changing world, a shifting environment, and an uncertain future.  Engaging artists as agents of change, to create visual art projects that provide the opportunity for community members to be active participants, will raise awareness, understanding and build hope and trust that the impacts of sea level rise can be positively addressed in ways that support the human population, natural (beach) habitats and all beings that enjoy and live in and on the coast.  

Project Overview

Sanchez Art Center seeks to commission an artist or artist team to create visual/interdisciplinary art installations and interactive experiences that invites the community to reflect on sea level rise and adaptation strategies, prompt discussion of public sentiment and values, and foster community connection enabling positive forward motion on strategies and plans that meet shared needs and requirements.

Three project sites spanning different risk areas across the City of Pacifica will be planned, at locations including 1) north with eroding cliffs threatening housing and city infrastructure; 2) central where rock revetments have historically been used to protect infrastructure and private property from wave inundation and overtopping; and, 3) south prone to flooding.  

Project proposals should include the following concepts that will be incorporated into the project scoring criteria:

·  Encourage authentic and civil conversation that will raise awareness, understanding, and build trust and hope that impacts of sea level rise can be positively addressed in ways that support the human population, natural habitat (including creeks, watershed, wetlands, dunes, and beaches), and wildlife diversity.

·  Incorporate youth voices to shift focus from the near-term to the future.

·  Engage a broad and diverse spectrum of the community members, including socially vulnerable populations such as, but not limited to, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, youth, elderly, individuals with limited mobility and disabilities.   

·  Promote waste reduction as an integral component of plans to reduce emissions that result in climate change.   

Proposals should consider the following:

Sea Level Rise Science and Policies

·  The best available science regarding sea level rise should be referenced.  The State of California, Sea Level Rise Guidance, 2018 Update Ocean Protection Council (OPC) provides this data.   

·  In 2018, the City of Pacifica undertook a “Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning” process, as required by the California Coastal Commission, in preparation for an update to the General Plan and Local Coastal Program (legal documents required by the State of California that sets forth the goals, policies and directions the city will take in managing the future.  A General Plan must contain at least seven elements:  Land Use, Transportation, Housing, Conservation, Noise, Open Space and Safety).  

The year-long study and resulting report sought to identify how sea level rise and erosion will impact social, economic, and physical coastal resources including homes, businesses, and critical city facilities and infrastructure; and defined draft adaptation policies to prepare the City to deal with these impacts.

·  Expand knowledge about sea level rise and how we can talk about it to empower a shared interest in resilience.  How do you perceive things will change going forward?  How are we vulnerable?  How can we be more resilient? 

Community and Culture

·  The history of Pacifica as a lively and engaged community situated on the dynamic California coast that has been dealing with coastal erosion and flooding for decades in reaction to emergency situations that have created public safety and access issues.   

·  Change is happening:  Draw linkages between individuals in the community – their interests, concerns, feelings and fears – and the changing world around them.  View the past and current built environments.  How have these changed over a period of time?  How have these changes impacted Pacifica? 

·  Decisions need to be made:  At its most basic level, decision-making is about two things: solving problems and addressing opportunities. To do a good job of either means taking the time to understand what the real problem or opportunity is. 

·  Effects of Fear:  This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately. 

Sensitive and Dynamic Coastline and Geology

·  The varying geographies of the City ranging from (sandstone bluffs elevated 140-180 feet above sea level prone to erosion) to areas subject to overtopping and wave runup during storms and times of high tides, and locations at sea level subject to flooding. 

Project Requirements

There are no limitations as form and may include:  all forms of visual art conceived in any medium, material or combination thereof; visual; auditory; sensory; and/or multi-disciplinary interventions; participatory projects; interactive installations. 

Materials used must convey a message of waste reduction as a means to alleviate climate change and sea level rise:

·  3D art must reflect a minimum of 75% of the art piece to be made or constructed from recyclable or trash materials, litter or other thrown away items.

Projects need to consider exposure to the elements (wind, fog, etc.) as well as the possibility for installations to remain on view for a (limited) period of time and/or for elements of the project to be able to be relocated to Sanchez Art Center or other approved locations in the City or San Mateo County for a (limited) period of time. 


The artist or artist team selected for this commission will receive a $7,500 stipend (paid 50% at the initiation of the agreement, 30% midway, and 20% after the project is completed). 

In addition, monetary reimbursement for art/community engagement activity materials will also be available in an amount up to $2,500 towards materials directly purchased by the artist/artist team. Additional in-kind funding for materials up to $2,500 will also be available; Sanchez Art Center staff will assist in coordinating requests for these in-kind donations. 

The $10,000 monetary budget will be inclusive of all artist(s) fees, artist/artist team stipend, time, fabrication, installation, transportation, de-installation, and all other project-related expenses. 

Sanchez Art Center staff will coordinate with the City of Pacifica regarding event and beach permits and insurance.  Sanchez Art Center staff will also support event logistics, volunteers, and requests to local businesses for additional in-kind material needs.  A separate budget includes marketing, event outreach, and promotion.    


A panel of jurors will be convened that can include:

California College of the Arts Faculty; Skyline College Earth Science Faculty;    Sanchez Art Center Advisory Board Member(s) / Staff; Womens Eco Art Dialog (WEAD) Board Member(s); California Coastal Commission Representative;       San Mateo County, Office of Sustainability; City of Pacifica Staff; A student with the Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science program.

Project Timeline

·  Sunday, May 12, 2019:  Call for Entry Opens  
·  Sunday, June 9 or Monday, June 10, 2019: Orientation Day-Sites Tour
(pre-registration required; check website for information)
· ​Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 10:30am pdt:  Informational Webinar or Teleconference (pre-registration required; check website for information)
· Tuesday, July 9, 11pm pdt:  Deadline for Submission
· Friday, July 26: Selected artist or artist team announced
· Week of August 5 - 9: Artist/Artist team meeting with project coordinator
· August 12, 2019 – February 21, 2020:  Project Creation - Civic Engagement/Community Art Projects Held (timing for projects to be formalized and approved with project coordinator)

All entries will be submitted via the online Call for Entry system (Café). Artists / Artist Teams are required to submit:

·   A short narrative proposal (not to exceed 2 pages, in 12 point font) 
·  3 – 9 images illustrating the proposal (artistic rendering, sketches, photoshop images, etc.)
·  3 – 6 images/videos best illustrating previous work, and public engagement
·  CV or bio, not to exceed more than 2 pages (in 12 point font)

·   Artists 18 years or older residing in the United States of America.
·   Students in a MFA program can be included in an artist team.


The City of Pacifica is located in San Mateo County, a short distance south of San Francisco.  Founded over 60 years ago, the city united a number of previously unincorporated communities that were once stops for the Ocean Shore Railroad.  The City motto, “Scenic Pacifica” reflects its physical location nestled between the Pacifica Ocean and coastal hills. 

Widely known for its beaches, surfing is a popular recreational activity in Pacifica.  Walking and biking trails with panoramic views offer recreational activities for all age groups. Fishing from the municipal Pacifica Pier, along with surf fishing and crabbing are also popular.

Pacifica’s Coastal Zone (the land area west of Highway 1) includes 12% of the population; the majority of older and more affordable housing stock; five of six hotels; half the commercial businesses; public facilities; and significant historical and public recreational assets. 

Though the majority of the approximately 39,000 population lives outside the Coastal Zone, in addition to providing coastal access for residents and visitors, significant infrastructure is also situated in the area.      


Pacifica has already experienced a turbulent history with the ocean due to the location on the dynamic California coast.  A number of studies and reports from 1982 on document a history of coastal erosion, flooding, and severe wave impact.  These incidents include, but are not limited to the following: 

The El Nino of 1983, resulted in the need to relocate a number of mobile homes due to their proximity to eroding bluffs; armoring of those bluffs has continued since.  Another structure was also relocated and a rock revetment was also put in place to protect homes along Esplanade Avenue, north of the mobile home park. 

In 1997-1998, seven homes were declared uninhabitable due to heavy erosion and landslides that caused the bluffs under them to crumble into the sea.  A protective rock revetment built at the base of the bluffs after the 1983 El Nino, was undermined by the strong storm surges and collapsed. 

In 2009-10 winter, a moderate El Niño forced officials to red-tag two apartment buildings at the edge of a 70-foot cliff.  Emergency permits in 2003 to drop boulders at the base of the cliff to keep the waves from eating it away, didn’t provide ongoing protection. 

Early in 2016, 26 residents of a third apartment complex had to relocate when it was also red-tagged.  Two remaining homes that hadn’t been removed in 1997 – 1998 could also no longer be occupied.  Backyards of additional properties tumbled to the beach. 

Also in 2016, the brute force of waves and regular overtopping of a retaining wall created a large sinkhole that closed a street for approximately six months while under repair. 


The City of Pacific has approved a sea level rise Adaptation Plan that identifies potential vulnerabilities to sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, and severe storms and the options available to assist the city and the community for future climate change impacts.  The Adaptation Plan will be incorporated into the currently in progress update to the Local Coastal Plan and General Plan. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the plan and process are available via the City’s Sea Level Rise pages on the website. 


The City of Pacifica is working with a number of partners in the process, including the County of San Mateo.  The Office of Sustainability administers Sea Change SMC, the County’s sea level rise initiative, and in March 2018 completed the San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment.  The Assessment is a comprehensive assessment, completed of flooding, erosion and sea level rise impacts on people, infrastructure and community functions in San Mateo County.   

Several of the profiles in the study focus on Pacifica and are also the proposed locations of this public art engagement project, including:

{C}·       Pacifica Nursing and Rehabilitation, Manor (north)

{C}·       Beach Boulevard, Seawall, Sharp Park (central)

{C}·       Pacifica State Beach, Linda Mar – a heavily used recreational asset, that are also the site of two pump stations (wastewater and stormwater) and habitat for the federally threatened western snowy plover.  (south)

The County of San Mateo has also developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions about Sea Level Rise Science and Sea Level Rise Impacts.  

To explore impacts and learn about solutions and projects underway to protect our people and manage resources responsibly in San Mateo County, visit the Sea Change SMC website

Supporting Documents, Images

Visit the website: for document links, articles and links to YouTube Videos and Images of Pacifica coastline.


The mission of Sanchez Art Center is to create community through art. Sanchez Art Center was established in 1996 when artists and community members converted an old school into a multi-use arts complex that now includes 3 galleries, 19 art studios, an arts classroom, and the Mildred Owen Concert Hall. Sanchez Art Center offers exhibitions by established and emerging artists. We make art accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds by offering a variety of free exhibitions and lectures, affordable studio rentals, workshops and classes for teens and adults, and after-school art classes, summer camps, and in-school art classes for kids, as well as community art projects and opportunities.

San Mateo County Office of Sustainability, Sea Change
City of Pacifica


Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria