Call Detail
RFP: Immersive Installations for Kids and their Adults
Creativity Initiative
Providence Children's Museum
100 South Street
Providence, RI 02903

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Contact Email: Exhibits@childrenmuseum.org
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Regional
State: Rhode Island
Entry Deadline: 1/10/20
Days remaining to deadline: 35
Number of Applications Allowed: 3

REQUIREMENTS:
Media
Images - Minimum: 3, Maximum: 20
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Total Media - Minimum: 3, Maximum: 20

Providence Children’s Museum
Call for Creatives, Artists, Designers, Engineers and Makers of All Kinds

Request for Proposals: Immersive Installation for Kids & their Adults 

Providence Children’s Museum (PCM) invites artists and creatives to submit a proposal for the design and fabrication of an immersive installation for kids and their adults as part of the Museum’s new project: the Creativity Initiative. Selected artists and creatives will work in collaboration with Museum staff to bring an active, kid-centered, creative space to life.

The Creativity Initiative is a three-year project that invites exploration of the capacities that underlie imagination and creativity. This project is designed to build creative confidence in our visitors by actively engaging with makers, processes and environments. We also hope to foster deeper reciprocal relationships between our visitors and local creatives through new and unexpected experiences, while actively supporting the creative economy.

The Museum is inviting creatives to respond to selected themes and propose/design/build immersive, playful environments. Each installation will celebrate and showcase creativity in its fullest form, from the everyday to the fantastic, give a window into the creative process, and support activities to engage our visitors in the hands-on interactive exploration of creativity.  

Submission Deadline for preliminary proposals: 

11:59PM MST on January 10, 2020 

Select applicants will be asked to submit a refined proposal with additional details by:

11:59PM MST on February 7, 2020.

Award for Selected Proposals: $10,000 Creative’s Stipend, $8,000 Materials Budget

Installation Date: December 2020 

Installation Duration: Minimum of five months

Eligibility: Applicants must be residents of Rhode Island, Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Information Session/Tour:        
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 2pm

or Saturday January 4, 2020 at 2pm

Please RSVP in advance to: Exhibits@childrenmuseum.org

Creativity Initiative 
Providence Children’s Museum
100 South St.
Providence, RI 02903 

Contact: Email Exhibits@childrenmuseum.org for more information or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.


Background: PCM History, Audience & Play Philosophy

Providence Children’s Museum (PCM) is Rhode Island’s only hands-on museum designed specifically for families. Located in Providence’s Jewelry District, the Museum develops interactive exhibits and active programs for children ages 1 to 11 and their adult caregivers to inspire and celebrate learning through play and exploration. We are the most visited museum in Providence with 178,000 visits a year, and we are often the first cultural institution that most kids in Rhode Island visit. The Museum has a strong commitment to equitable access with over 40% of our operating budget going towards supporting free or reduced admission rates for a third of our visitors.

Museum experiences provide opportunities for free play—play that is child-motivated, child- directed, freely chosen, involves active exploration, and is fun. These experiences encourage children to express their ideas and reflect on their own thinking and provide opportunities for caregivers to notice and value play and exploration as essential aspects of children’s learning and development.

Museum experiences provide a welcoming, safe and respectful environment that is inclusive of different backgrounds, interests and abilities. They are attentive and responsive to the needs of visitors both individually and collectively. They are particularly relevant to children living in Rhode Island and southern New England and are culturally responsible, created in partnership with members of relevant communities.

Creativity Initiative Overview

The Creativity Initiative is a three-year project that invites exploration of the capacities that underlie imagination and creativity. This project is designed to build creative confidence in our visitors by actively engaging with makers, processes and environments. We also hope to foster deeper reciprocal relationships between our visitors and local creatives through new and unexpected experiences, while actively supporting the creative economy.

Throughout the initiative, PCM will work in collaboration with the art and design communities of Rhode Island to develop three different types of experiences for visitors that will take place across the Museum.

1) PCM will present a series of temporary, immersive, and interactive exhibits designed in collaboration with local creatives to inspire imaginative play. The exhibits will be installed in the changing exhibit space at Providence Children’s Museum, located on the upper floor of the Museum. PCM’s exhibits team will design and fabricate exhibit components that bring active exploration and hands-on activities to the environment.

2) PCM will present regular programming in our new Maker Studio and Innovation Lab.  These programs may include activities developed and run by artists and makers.

3) PCM will work with guest curators and local arts organizations to help fill the Museum with art and design on a rotating basis to provide a stimulating environment while also offering local artists and creatives a new venue with access to a unique audience.

*Creatives who may not wish to propose an immersive installation may become involved with the Creativity Initiativeby working with the Museum in one of these other capacities (Items 2, 3 above).   Information about these opportunities can be found in the FAQ’s section, however, this RFP refers solely to proposals for immersive installations in 2020.

Details of RFP: Providence Children’s Museum; Immersive Installation for Kids & Their Adults 

Eligibility:

PCM invites creatives, artists, designers, and makers of all kinds to submit a proposal to collaborate with PCM staff to create an immersive exhibit for installation in the changing exhibit space at Providence Children’s Museum.  

PCM encourages proposals from everyone.  We deeply value, and do not discriminate against, diversity of citizenship, ancestry, ethnicity, cultural expression, class, disability, place of origin, skin color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, age, marital status, and family status. 

Individuals or groups, regardless of level of experience or background can apply.  

 Applicants must be residents of Rhode Island, Connecticut or Massachusetts.

Timeline of RFP & Creativity Initiative

There will be one opportunity in 2020: December 2020.
(Applicants must install within that time frame.)

Applicants will submit a preliminary proposal by: 

January 10th, 2020.
Requirements for submitting a preliminary proposal are detailed in this RFP.

Select applicants will be asked to submit a refined proposal with additional details by:

February 7, 2020.

The installation will last a minimum of five months.

There will be additional opportunities in 2021. 

This RFP refers to opportunities in 2020 only.

Creatives may receive one commission during the 3-year Creativity Initiative.  

Creatives can submit multiple proposals within the 3-year Creativity Initiative, but only one will be funded. 

 

Immersive Installation: 
The Museum is seeking proposals for creatives/creative teams to collaborate with the PCM exhibits team to create a temporary immersive installation for our visitors.  

In the context of this project, Immersive Installations are built environments that create  multisensory, all-encompassing experiences unified by a theme or storyline, in which visitors can interact and actively explore their surroundings. Immersive installations are designed to create engagement between visitors and creatives.

Installation Themes:
Each year of the project will be guided by a theme(s) that artists must respond to.  

Creatives must choose one theme to respond to.

Proposals should demonstrate how the installation will relate to the theme.

The Themes for 2020 are: 

Biomimicry: the design and production of materials and structures that are modeled on biological entities and processes.  Biomimicry includes examining, emulating, and drawing inspiration from natural systems, processes, and elements in order to solve human problems.

In this exhibit, the idea of biomimicry should be starting point for using some aspect of the natural world as inspiration to create a place for kids to explore—a place which showcases the structures and forms, as well as the textures and colors of the natural world around us.  The natural world should inspire the design of everything from play structures, spaces, and costumes, to activities and experiences.

Designed/Imagined Worlds: Imagine and design a unique world that contrasts with our own, starting with the recognizable or familiar, and leading to a place where the rules shift into the unfamiliar. Think about what a kid might find in a liminal space – a space between here and there. What’s on the edges of the known? Explore relationships of scale and perspective, the interplay of color and form, or perhaps the balance between light and shadow to create a space between the known and unknown. Where is this place? Why would a kid want to play here? What will they do in this space, and what stories might they share about their experiences?


Site Description:

Proposed immersive exhibits will be installed in the changing exhibit space at Providence Children’s Museum. This space is located on the upper level of the Museum, in the middle of this busy, noisy and active children’s museum.  

The space will be prepared for installations in a manner that best supports the specific requirements of the work to be installed. These requirements will be discussed and agreed upon by PCM and the Creative.  Creatives may add lighting and built environments that attach to walls, ceiling, and floor.

This space is 14’8”w x 29 ’l x 12’h

Drawings and plans for general reference are located within CaFE call for this proposal.

Budget:  

Selected Creatives will be awarded a stipend of $10,000 and a materials budget of $8,000 for their work. Fabrication, installation, travel, and incidental costs will be covered in the materials budget. 

 Logistics: What You Will Do & What We Will Do

 Selected Creatives will:

  • Bring their unique vision, perspective and expertise in making to create an immersive environment for PCM visitors to experience and play in.
  • Design a space for kids first, as well as their adults, that meets the design criteria. 
  • Work with PCM to ensure that the work is durable enough to withstand active, engaged kids.
  • Work with PCM to finalize design specs and agree to meet safety and environmental standards as well as standards for accessibility and universal design. 
  • Provide personal workspace and equipment to realize the project. 
  • Conduct in-process meetings with PCM exhibits staff throughout the project for staff to observe and consult on work in progress.
  • Transport work from personal work space to and from PCM for installation and de-installation
  • Follow the timeline!
  • This will be a short-term commission which must be installed and de-installed per schedule. 

PCM Staff will:

  • Provide expertise in child development with 40 years of experience in designing for play.
  • Provide design and engineering support to ensure installations meet Museum building standards for safety, fire code compliance, as well as requirements for physical accessibility and universal design.
  • Design and fabricate interactive components in cooperation with Creatives in order to ensure visual and thematic consistency within the installation. 
  • Provide logistics and labor support for installation and de-installation.
  • Host a public opening for each installation in coordination with Creatives.
  • Provide additional opportunities for contracted work such as lectures, workshops with visitors, or facilitation in the exhibit environment.

Defining Features of Installations:

  • The Museum is inviting Creatives to respond to our selected theme and propose/design/build immersive, interactive, and playful environments. Each installation will celebrate and showcase creativity in its fullest form, from the everyday to the fantastic, give a window into the creative process, and support activities to engage our visitors in the exploration of creativity.  
  • Staff and Creatives will collaborate to design and build these environments. Proposals must demonstrate how the project will address the following features.  The characteristics of these environments are:
  • Immersive; an experiential, multi-sensory environment designed to maximize deep engagement in a self-directed manner and support active exploration.
  • Designed for children first—to inspire playful exploration, creativity, and imagination. Creatives must be interested in designing specifically for children to play.
  • Multisensory; an opportunity to explore with sense and experience something through multiple senses
  • Familiar/unfamiliar; should build on children’s past experiences and make connections between the familiar and something new, different, unusual and unfamiliar.
  • Full of opportunities for choice; multiple ways to interact/engage with the installation (there should be no one “right” way to do anything), open-ended, non-linear, no predetermined outcome 
  • Active; designed for participation, communication, creation, and decision-making
  • Support Agency, giving people opportunities to direct and feel ownership of their experience
  • Interactive – physically and mentally, visitors can act on, and receive feedback, from experiences.
  • Supports collaboration between kids and adults, and between kids and other kids.
  • Aesthetically rich; an original creation that is beautiful, detailed, engaging, thoughtful 
  • The installation must be designed to withstand heavy hands-on use.
  • Proposed exhibits should be designed to welcome a culturally, neurologically, and physically diverse audience

PCM Rules: 

  1. These rules and restrictions are provided in accordance with the best practices for working in the Museum environment and may be supplemented or modified as PCM deems necessary or appropriate.
  2. All exhibits/installations must meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PCM standards for accessibility.  
  3. All exhibits/installations must be designed with children’s scale in mind. Anything requiring reach or access by children must be scaled appropriately. 
  4. All exhibits must conform to playground safety standards and be approved by PCM, including ladders, platforms, or elevations of any kind.  Any moving parts must be enclosed to prevent pinching or entrapment. Always use best practices for safety concerns, such as choke hazards, as well as sharp corners, trip and head bump hazards and unprotected elevations. PCM will supply playground safety standards and help ensure compliance.
  5. PCM is a hands-on museum. All components must be designed and built to withstand rigorous and unpredictable physical interaction. If it can be torn, removed, relocated or stolen it will be. PCM will consult with Creatives to ensure safety and durability.
  6. You must not use materials with strong odors, toxic vapors, dust, or airborne substances (e.g., solvents, glue, etc.); animals (live or taxidermy); living organic matter (e.g., plants, live flowers, dirt, etc.), or bio-hazardous materials as part of your construction.
  7. Flammable materials such as paper, fabric, foam and wood must be treated with an approved fire- retardant chemicals. PCM will define materials to be treated, recommend treatment products, and will work with Creatives to treat components.
  8. Bodily fluids must not be a part of your presentation.
  9. Food items are not allowed to be used as part of your installation. 
  10. Installations may not contain sealed volumes of liquid of any kind.
  11. No strobe lights or flashing lights. If lighting is to be used, it must be approved by PCM.
  12. Sound levels (including bass, low end frequencies) must be below 80 dB (decibels) to reduce vibration.
  13. No adult content, such as sexually explicit or suggestive material, will be accepted. Nude representation of the human form will be considered at PCM discretion.
  14. You must disclose the contents of your installation known at the time of submission of application, including but not limited to: hardware, technology, construction materials and decorative elements.  If selected, applicants will need to disclose any additional or new contents to PCM exhibits staff.
  15. Any ladders, platforms, or elevations of any kind must adhere to playground safety standards and be approved by PCM. PCM will supply playground safety standards and help ensure compliance.
  16. All artistic products within this program must be original and in fact your own work. Any copyright clearance which may be required for use of materials is the responsibility of the participant and not PCM. 
  17. All installations will be built off-site, and transported to the Museum for installation. We suggest designing and building in a modular fashion, as well as planning to reassemble on site. PCM will provide guidelines for Museum access for doors, ramps and logistics.

If selected, creative will undergo the same background check that all staff and volunteers at PCM must submit to.  This is a legal requirement for working with children and other vulnerable populations.  All contents of background checks will be kept confidential.

By submitting a proposal, you agree to these terms and conditions. Upon acceptance and a signed contract all creatives must adhere to these guidelines.
 

Submission Guidelines

RFP: Providence Children’s Museum Immersive Installation for Kids & Their Adults

Submission Deadline: Preliminary proposal due 11:59PM MST on January 10th, 2020.

Requirements for submitting a preliminary proposal are detailed in this RFP.

Select applicants will be asked to submit a refined proposal with additional details by:

February 7, 2020.  Those applicants will be notified and additional application materials specified by the end of January.

Award for Selected Proposals: $10,000 Creative’s Stipend, $8,000 Materials Budget

Installation Date: December 2020 

Contact: Email Exhibits@childrenmuseum.org for more information or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

Proposals can be submitted through the on-line portal, CaFE, or by creating a cover page with your name, contact information including mailing address, phone number, and email, and all materials listed in the Submission Materials section below.  Mail a copy to:

Creativity Initiative 
Providence Children’s Museum
100 South St.
Providence, RI 02903 

Proposals can be written or audio/video.  Applicants can choose to submit a video application if a written application is not feasible. 

Videos should be saved to YouTube or Vimeo. Creatives submitting a video application should fill out the application form on CaFE or create a cover sheet as detailed above, provide a link to the videos in place of written responses, and all materials listed in the Submission Materials section below then mail this to the address listed above.

Final Notification of awards will be in March 2020. Successful projects will be posted on PCM’s website. All applicants will be notified of the results of the jury selection process.

Contact: Email Exhibits@childrenmuseum.org for more information or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

 

Submission Materials:

Proposals:
narrative statement describing the proposed installation, with selected theme clearly noted, with descriptions of materials (images optional). All proposals, written or video, should also address the defining features of installations from the section titled Submission Requirements & Defining Features of Installations

Applicants must choose either written or video format. Writing submissions should be 750 words or less, video submissions must be under 5 minutes. Submissions exceeding the maximum lengths cannot be reviewed.

Minimum of 3, not to exceed, 10 concept images or models (video alternative accepted). All images must be PDFs. Video clips can be no longer than 3 minutes. 

Proposed budget. All proposals must include a proposed budget for the project.  In the FAQ section we have provided an example of a budget format for applicants to follow.  Applicants should copy this format to submit your budget.

Up to 5 images of previous work or projects completed by the Creative (PDFs only). 

 Creative/Team Materials:

Brief Bio(s) – along with a description of prior experiences that you feel will contribute to your success with designing, fabricating and installing this work. Applicants must choose either written or video format. Written submissions should be 300 words or fewer, Video submissions must be under 3 minutes.

Finalists may be asked for references. 

Selection Process

PCM will facilitate the review process. The jury will be composed of a diverse group of creatives, arts administrators, PCM leadership and staff, and other museum professionals. Jury members will read all applications and rank each according to how well they meet the criteria for selection.

The top-ranking application will be chosen to install their work at PCM.

Criteria for Selection Include:

Artistic Merit: High quality, meaningful, innovative, engaging, thoughtful, unusual use of materials, aesthetically rich.

Design meets the needs of kids and their adults in our playful space: We will select works that will engage kids and their adults in an unusual, beautiful, immersive environment, that bring visitors into close contact with a unique creative perspective. The proposal states clearly why this installation is a good fit for PCM.

Clarity of proposal and project: The proposal states clearly what will be built, what kinds of materials will be utilized, general construction techniques, as well as how kids and adults are intended to interact with the installation.   

Achievability: The proposal demonstrates that the Creative or Creative Team has a plan, knowledge of materials and methods, and that they have resources for learning and finding appropriate support to complete the project as needed.  

Please note that the proposed work must be original and solely the work of the Creative(s).  If the proposed work contains portions of another Creative’s work all necessary permissions must be obtained before submitting the proposal.

 

FAQ page

Can I get support or help in preparing my application?

Yes, PCM can provide support with preparing application materials such as budget, narrative, or concept representation. This support does not guarantee the applicant will be awarded funds.

Please email exhibits@childrenmuseum.org or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

 Is there a format for me to follow when writing my budget?

Yes, we have a template for budgets that we would like applicants to use to submit their budget.  Please copy and fill out the budget template locates at the end of document.

 Will there be an open house for potential applicants? 

There will be two open house events with a guided tour of the Museum from PCM staff members on:

Saturday, December 7 at 2:00 pm

Saturday, January 4 at 2:00 pm

Can I make a site visit and take photographs?

If you wish to make a site visit and meet with a staff member, you must make an appointment. If you do not wish to meet with staff, you may visit the Museum by appointment free of charge. Please contact the listed email address to schedule a site visit:

Please email exhibits@childrenmuseum.org or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

 Photography is permitted of the architecture and environmental features. We ask that you not photograph visitors, particularly children.

I want to propose an idea but I’ve never built an installation before…is there someone I can work with at PCM to help bring my idea to life?

While we want to support all applicants and their development, we will be limited in the scope of mentoring we can provide in developing skillsets needed to design and complete an installation.

Please contact PCM to discuss your situation and we will determine if we can accommodate your request with available resources. Please email exhibits@childrenmuseum.org or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

 If a group of artists propose an installation does each artist receive a $10,000 stipend and $8,000 in materials?

No.  A total stipend of $10,000 and a materials budget of $8,000 will be awarded to the group for their work. Fabrication, installation, travel, and incidental costs will be covered in the materials budget. 

 I’m not an installation artist.  What other opportunities are available to me in this project?

Creatives who do not wish to propose an immersive installation may become involved with the Creativity Initiativeby working with the Museum in one of the capacities listed below:  

 PCM will also develop a new Maker Studio and Innovation Lab along with new educational programs, both in the Museum and in settings across the state. These programs may include activities run by artists and makers. If you have a teaching aspect to your practice, prior experience working with children and young adults, or have an interactive demonstration, program, performance or lecture you would like to propose, contact the address below.

 PCM will also work with guest curators and local arts organizations to help fill the Museum with creative artifacts on a rotating basis to provide a stimulating museum environment while also offering local artists and creatives a new venue with access to unique audience. We are interested in sharing evidence of creative processes with our visitors. If you have experience as a curator, organizing exhibitions of art and design, or would like to propose the exhibition of completed works please email the contact below.

 Please email exhibits@childrenmuseum.org or call (401) 273-5437 ext. 134.

 How will these installations be promoted, and who has the rights to share the work publicly?

PCM will actively market these events through our publications, social media and public announcements.

PCM and Creatives share and retain rights to use images of the collaborative work and names, dates and details associated with the project.

Creatives own the work and hold copyright to commissioned work 

PCM owns and holds copyright to component concepts and finished work that museum staff has developed.

Whenever work is represented publicly, including social media, all work must be mutually attributed to Creatives and PCM.

What will happen to the work at the end of the designated installation period?

Should the Creative choose to sell the installation or work contained within, PCM retains the right of first refusal to purchase the copyright and the work.

 Installations must be removed at the end of the designated period.  Creatives will be responsible for their portion of the installation, while PCM’s exhibits team will be responsible for the exhibit components fabricated by PCM.  

 Creatives may not display their work at another children’s museum within 100 miles of Providence for two years following the installation, however, they are free to find any other type of alternate venue to display their work after it has been de-installed.

 Who Was Selected to Install their work in the First Year of the Creativity Initiative?

Three Creatives were selected to install their work at Providence Children’s Museum during 2019.  

Nick Carter; https://www.instagram.com/nickcarter1000000/

Design collective Pneuhaus; http://pneu.haus

Brooke Erin Goldstein and Steven Lubecki; https://brookeeringoldstein.com/home.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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