Call Detail
Alameda County Arts Commission Artist Registry 2021
Entry Deadline: 9/15/21
Application Closed
Number of Applications Allowed: 2
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 10
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 10
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: California

Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (10:59pm Pacific Time)

The Alameda County Arts Commission invites visual artists to submit an application to the new Alameda County Artist Registry, a prequalified list of artists that will be used for upcoming public art opportunities managed by the Alameda County Arts Commission. Public art opportunities will include outdoor and indoor projects with a range of budgets and will be appropriate for artists working in a variety of materials and styles. The Artist Registry will be primarily used to commission visual artists to create new artwork, however, there may be opportunities to purchase or license existing artwork. Artists interested in being considered for public art opportunities with the Alameda County Arts Commission during the next 3 - 4 years should apply. Artists who were accepted into a previous Artist Registry with the County must reapply in order to be considered for public art projects with Alameda County. The new Alameda County Artist Registry will include over 200 artists creating a wide range of artwork.

Opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established artists who:
  • Create small to mid-sized artwork including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, quilts, textiles, and mixed-media artwork
  • Have little or no public art experience as well as artists who have completed major public art commissions
  • Work individually or as part of a team
The public art opportunities include:
  • Creating new, site-specific artwork
  • Selling existing small-scale, two-dimensional artwork
  • Licensing artwork for reproduction on utility boxes and street banners
  • Implementing design concepts in durable materials
  • Collaborating with diverse communities and youth
NEW TO PUBLIC ART? We’re here to help!
Bring your questions to an informal meeting with the Arts Commission Staff!
  • Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at 5:30pm
  • Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 10:00am
Join by phone: +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 965 7559 4911. Passcode: 883353

The video contains information about the County’s Public Art Program and how to submit an online application to the Artist Registry through CaFÉ™.

The Artist Registry is open to professional artists who live, are permanently employed, or rent/own an artist’s studio in one of the following 14 counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo. For artists who are applying as a team, all team members must be artists from the counties listed above.

Additional Requirements: Artists who have active or pending contracts with Alameda County are eligible to apply. However, in an effort to provide opportunities to a wide range of artists and to diversify the County’s Art Collection, artists who received public art contracts with Alameda County during the past 2 years may be excluded from project pools during the first year the Artist Registry is active. Based on County policy, Alameda County employees, Arts Commissioners, Public Art Advisory Committee members, and members of other standing ACAC committees are not eligible to apply for this opportunity. Family members of Arts Commission staff are also not eligible. Applicants must be 18 years or older to apply. Eligibility requirements will be adjusted for future RFQs. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the Arts Commission office.

Individual artist contracts will generally range from approximately $2,500 to $100,000. Contracts may be for a single site-specific artwork or may be for a series of smaller artworks (approximately 3-5 artworks). Some projects will be design-only contracts. Other projects may be for the licensing or purchasing of existing artwork. Budget requirements will be outlined when artists are contacted about being placed in a Project Pool (see Selection Process below).

Applications for the Artist Registry must be submitted online through the CaFÉ™ website ( There is no application fee to apply or use the CaFÉ™ online application system. Applicants must submit information through CaFÉ™ to be considered; no slides or hard copy materials will be accepted. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. For complete entry requirements and instructions go to, register a username and password, navigate to “Find Calls”, and search the list for: Alameda County Arts Commission Artist Registry. Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available during regular business hours (Mountain Time) via e-mail at

Applications must be completed online by Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (10:59pm Pacific Time). Please be sure to allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties can occur.

Applications must include the following:
  • Artist Statement: Briefly describe your artwork (themes, process, materials, etc.) and summarize your experience and/or interest in public art and any other relevant professional experience as an artist. Do not submit specific artwork proposals. 3,000 character limit.
  • Images of Past Work: Submit ten (10) images of past work. Recent artwork completed during the last five years is preferred. However, for artists who have completed large-scale public artwork, artwork made within the last 10 years may be submitted. Do not submit images of work by other artists for which you played only a supportive role. Do not include more than two images of the same artwork. Do not include more than one artwork per image. The imagery and style of the artwork must be appropriate for public spaces. The County art collection is placed in County facilities that are high-traffic, public spaces that provide services to people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures from areas throughout the County and the Bay Area region. Examples of imagery that is not acceptable include artwork with religious content, nudity, or depicting violence, drugs, or illegal activities. If you are applying as a member of an artist team, please refer to the Artist Team Requirements section for more information.  Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found on the CaFÉ™ website under the Help tab, Uploading Media to CaFÉ™.
  • Résumé: Submit a current résumé that outlines your professional accomplishments as an artist. The résumé must not exceed three pages. (If applying as part of an artist team, résumés must be submitted for each applicant.) 3 pages maximum per artist.Artist Category: The Arts Commission has a goal of commissioning and purchasing artwork from artists at all levels of professional development. Applicants must select the Artist Category that best describes their professional development. Artists will be reviewed based on their level of professional development. The Arts Commission Staff may alter the artist's selected category to ensure a fair and balanced evaluation of the applicant pool. Please select one of the 3 categories. Definitions listed below are used for the purposes of this program:
  • Emerging Artist: An emerging artist may have participated in group shows but has not yet had a solo exhibition. The artist may have little or no experience showing their work in public venues.
  • Mid-Career Artist: A mid-career artist has been a professional practicing visual artist for several years and has participated in several group exhibitions. Artist may have had a solo exhibition and/or completed one or two public art projects with modest budgets.
  • Established Artist: An established artist may have representation by an art gallery/dealer; has had at least one solo exhibition in a gallery, art museum and/or nonprofit venue; and has extensive press coverage and/or catalogs on his/her body of work. Public art artists in the category have completed several public art projects of varying budgets for multiple commissioning agencies.
  • Applicants can apply as an individual artist and apply as part of one artist team only. Artists may not apply to be part of more than one artist team.
  • Applicants who are part of an artist collective or other type of established group can apply as a team. However, all team members must be identified in the application and one artist must be identified as the lead artist.
  • In your Artist Statement, please state how your artist team has worked collaboratively together in the past and what role each team member played.
  • If you are applying as an artist team and do not have previous experience working together, describe how you would approach working collaboratively on a public art project in your Artist Statement.
  • The Arts Commission strongly encourages artist teams to submit images of completed artwork that demonstrates a collaborative effort by all members of the team.
  • Artist representatives for individual artists or an artist team, must contact the Arts Commission office prior to submitting an application to receive additional information and instructions. Please contact the Office of the Alameda County Arts Commission at (510) 208-9646 or
The following selection criteria will be used during all phases of review:
  • Artistic excellence and originality as evidenced by digital representation of past work.
  • Appropriateness of artist's medium, style, and experience as they relate to the location and project goals as well as artwork that is appropriate for public viewing and/or adequate professional experience to meet the requirements of a project.
  • Artist's ability to respond creatively and uniquely to site-specific design challenges, including the physical, environmental, and community-related conditions inherent to each project.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively and collaboratively with design collaborators and public agencies, including ability to meet the overall design and other project requirements.
  • Alameda County artists will be awarded preference points during the first stage of review. (For this project, ACAC considers an Alameda County artist an individual who lives, is permanently employed, or rents/owns a studio in Alameda County. For artist teams, all members of the team must be Alameda County artists to qualify for preference points.)
The Arts Commission uses the following standard steps for the selection process for the Artist Registry and for public art projects.
Step 1:     After the application deadline, a selection committee of arts professionals will review the applicants and recommend artists to be included in the Artist Registry. There is no specific limit to the number of artists who will be accepted for the Artist Registry. The artists selected for the Artist Registry must be approved by the Alameda County Public Art Advisory Committee and the Members of the Alameda County Arts Commission. All applicants will be notified whether or not they have been selected for the Artist Registry.
Step 2:     For each new project, the Arts Commission Staff will use the Artist Registry to develop a Project Pool of artists to be reviewed by an ad hoc Selection Committee. When compiling the Project Pool, the following factors will be considered: goals, budget, site and artistic material requirements, artist’s past experience, expected scope of work, artist’s artistic approach in relationship to the project’s goals and opportunities, and other relevant information. Prior to selecting a Project Pool from the Artist Registry, individual communities are consulted to define broad goals to be achieved with the artwork. The Arts Commission Staff will contact artists before they are placed in the Project Pool to confirm that each artist is interested and available for the opportunity, if selected. Due to the number of artists in the Artist Registry and the volume of upcoming projects, the Arts Commission will only contact artists if they are placed in a Project Pool. Artists who are not being considered will not be contacted. The Public Art Advisory Committee and the Members of the Arts Commission must review and approve each Project Pool. Once placed in the Project Pool, artists may have the opportunity to update some of their images to better suit the specific project.
Step 3:     The Arts Commission staff will present the Project Pool from the Artist Registry to the ad hoc Selection Committee for the project. The Selection Committee will be appointed by the Members of the Arts Commission and may be comprised of community members, artists and arts professionals, and County staff.  
Step 4:     The Selection Committee will review the artists’ application materials and may select semi-finalists, who will be paid an honorarium to develop a project proposal. Semi-finalists are usually given the opportunity to meet with community members and/or project representatives prior to creating a specific design approach and/or proposal. Upon completion of all interviews, the Selection Committee is expected to recommend one or more artists to be awarded the commission for each project.
Step 5:     The Selection Committee’s recommendations must be approved by the Public Art Advisory Committee, the Members of the Alameda County Arts Commission, and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors before the artist’s contract can be issued.

The Arts Commission reserves the right to alter the selection process for the Artist Registry and public art projects such as adding an additional review stage depending on the applicants in the Artist Registry and any other conditions that may develop.

For technical assistance using the online CaFÉ™ system, visit Help on the CaFÉ™ website or email during regular business hours (Mountain Time).

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact the Office of the Alameda County Arts Commission at
(510) 208-9646 or

The Alameda County Arts Commission is a division of the County of Alameda with four full-time employees.  The Alameda County Arts Commission is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Alameda County by nurturing a thriving environment for the arts and for cultural activities; promoting economic opportunities for Alameda County's artists and arts organizations through programs such as arts grants, public art, and art in education; encouraging public participation in the arts and actively advocating for the arts. The Members of the Alameda County Arts Commission are appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to provide oversight to the programs and services provided to the public. With guidance from the Alameda County Public Art Advisory Committee, the Alameda County Arts Commission Office administers the County’s Public Art Program on behalf of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors who established this program through the "2% for Art" ordinance in 1994. The Public Art Advisory Committee is a body of nine community members appointed by the Members of the Arts Commission who are responsible for the oversight of the Public Art Program including the planning of new project sites and related conditions, budgets, processes for artwork selection and artist eligibility requirements, review of artwork selection committee recommendations, artwork proposals and design revisions. All recommendations made by the Public Art Advisory Committee are reviewed by the Members of the Arts Commission. The goals of the Public Art Program are to generate positive, uplifting art experiences; create engaging public spaces and broaden appreciation of those spaces; promote economic vitality through the enhancement of public spaces; encourage creative expression throughout the community; and recognize the special identity and character of Alameda County.

One of 58 counties in California, Alameda County is home to 1.6 million people living in 14 cities, from Albany in the north to Fremont in the south and Livermore in the east, as well as in 6 unincorporated communities and rural areas throughout the 813 square miles of the County. The Alameda County government provides health care, social services, public protection, and general government programs for a population that is culturally and ethnically diverse. The cities and communities of Alameda County include Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City, and other unincorporated areas.

County of Alameda, through the Alameda County Arts Commission, reserves the right to extend or shorten the period of time the Artist Registry is active and to alter any aspect of the selection process or overall project in any way for its own convenience at any time. This Request for Qualifications/Call for Artists does not constitute an agreement to commission artists for the work described herein. Inclusion in the Artist Registry does not guarantee selection for any projects. The County of Alameda reserves the right to launch separate calls for artists for individual projects and special initiatives. Applicants to this Call for Artists must be practicing, professional artists, must be 18 years or older, and must meet all of the other stated eligibility requirements. The County of Alameda reserves the right to not advance and/or withdraw an artist's application if the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements and/or if the application materials do not follow guidelines for appropriate imagery or style for public spaces.