Call Detail
San Pablo Avenue Roundabout | Call for Entries | Palm Desert, California
Entry Deadline: 3/15/21
Application Closed
Number of Applications Allowed: 5
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 15
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 15
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: International
State: California

Artist Eligability
The City of Palm Desert, California, and the Palm Desert Art in Public Places Commission announce a major public art competition open to experienced artists residing in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

About Palm Desert
Located just over 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Desert is a premier resort destination and year-round community located in the heart of California’s Coachella Valley, comprised of 9 cities, each with a distinct character. At the west end of the valley is Palm Springs, known for midcentury modern architecture and historic connections to Hollywood. To the east is Indio with abundant farms and striking murals depicting contemporary Latinx imagery.

Situated in the center, Palm Desert blends elements of both, along with its own upscale touch. Against a backdrop of soaring mountains and expansive desert, the city offers a balance of nature and culture. It is home to the valley’s three sites of higher education; the region’s largest indoor performing arts venue, the McCallum Theatre; and El Paseo, a high-end retail district of art galleries, boutiques, and dining. The centerpiece of El Paseo is a rotating exhibition of public art, running continuously since 1993, and featuring 18 sculptures by international artists. 

New Vision for San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo Avenue represents the next step in the city’s evolution. Located perpendicular to and north of Highway 111 and El Paseo, the mile-long corridor connects these vibrant commercial areas with residential neighborhoods as well as College of the Desert, Palm Desert City Hall, and the Civic Center Park. Recent improvements to San Pablo Avenue include landscaping, bicycle lanes, options for outdoor dining, pocket parks with interactive amenities, community gardens, and a space for a farmer’s market and other special events. Designed along a more intimate scale than El Paseo and with more opportunities for mixed-use development, this family-friendly area is intended to become Palm Desert’s city center.

A video description of the project can be found here. An aerial video of project, to include roundabout, can be found here.

About the Project
The sculpture(s) in this roundabout will be the focal point for San Pablo Avenue. The roundabout will serve as the transition from the commercial area into the residential area. Illuminated artworks and multiple sculptures are acceptable as outlined in the specifications below. Sculptures with water features will not be accepted.

Project Budget
The budget for this project is $125,000. The selected artist or artist team will be responsible for the design, fabrication, shipment to the site, and must work with City staff on installation. The available budget must cover all artists’ expenses including, artist fees, taxes, insurance, materials, tools, travel, expense contingency, and other associated costs. Installation, uplighting costs, and permit fees will be covered by the City.

Artwork Design, Safety, and Durability Requirements

  • Height requirements for singular sculptures may not exceed 25’ centered in the roundabout.
  • Site can handle multiple sculptures; however, height requirements for multiple sculptures may not exceed 15’ due to breakaway zone.
  • The unpaved portion of the roundabout is 45’ diameter with a 32.8’ diameter workable space as outlined in Exhibit “A”.
  • Site of roundabout is on a 1.5% upward slope running north to south.
  • Foundations cannot be installed in some areas of the roundabout due to underground utilities. Areas not accessible are outlined in Exhibit “B”.
  • The pad foundation standard detail for single object sculptures is outlined in Exhibit “C”.  Note that detail has maximum weight requirements and other design-related criteria that the artist will have to work with a California registered Professional Engineer (PE) on.
  • Illumination of light-based sculptures must not intrude on neighboring homes. Illuminance maximum is 20 watt.
  • The artwork must not create a disorienting situation or cause a distraction for drivers.  (i.e. highly reflective material discouraged).
  • The artwork must improve and not detract from the safety of the site.
  • The artwork must allow for visibility to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. 
  • The artwork should be designed “in the round” and be equally intriguing from all angles.
  • The artwork should be scaled to the attention of approaching drivers, but should not be so detailed that it requires up-close or extended inspection for appreciation.
  • Interactive artwork is discouraged and sculptures must not create a desire for pedestrian activity (i.e. selfies). The roundabout is not intended to be a gathering spot, which would cause pedestrians to cross traffic.
  • The artwork must be fabricated in durable, permanent, outdoor media that is safe, easily maintained, and proven its viability in public installations.
  • The artwork must be able to withstand harsh weather conditions of the desert, which include intense sun, summer temperatures above 110* Fahrenheit, and high winds. The City of Palm Desert performs regular maintenance on public art, but prospective applicants are advised to research colors and materials for durability.
  • The artwork must be constructed to reasonably discourage or deter theft and vandalism.
  • The artwork must be suitable for public viewing by all ages.
  • The connections (e.g. bolts) between the sculpture and foundation must be breakaway in case of errant vehicles. 
  • Photos of the roundabout are outlined in Exhibit “D”. Construction plans are available upon request.

Selection Process
The Art in Public Places Commission will select up to three finalists for the project. All finalists will be required to develop additional presentation materials and a maquette no higher than two feet. Oral presentations will be scheduled in person or via Zoom video call. The City will reimburse artists for the costs associated with creation of the maquette, up to $500. Receipts must be provided for reimbursement.

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • Proposed artwork exhibits artistic merit, quality, and innovative design.
  • Proposed artwork is appropriate to the site in size and materials.
  • Proposed artwork meets all requirements of this Call for Entries.
  • Safety of proposed artwork is approved by the City’s Public Works Department.

The Art in Public Places Commission will make a recommendation to the Palm Desert City Council. The City Council will make the final selection of the artwork. The selected artist(s) must execute the City’s Agreement (draft copy available upon request).