Call Detail
City of Chicago - Public Art, Light and Infrastructure Prequalified List
Entry Deadline: 6/18/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 10
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 2
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 10, Maximum:Max. 12
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Illinois

Update: RFQ Conference will take place on June 3, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  To RSVP for the Conference, email, with the subject line: Public Art Lighting RFQ Conference. Please provide your full name in the body of the email.

Public Art, Light and Infrastructure Prequalified List
Request for Qualifications

The City of Chicago seeks qualified light-based artists and designers for ambitious new projects that will inspire bright ideas for future growth in our neighborhoods.


The Chicago Public Art Program, a division of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (“DCASE” or "Department") in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Development (“DPD”) and the Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) invite submissions to this Request for Qualifications (“RFQ”) to be included in a pre-qualified list (“List”) for the development of future lighting-based public art projects in the City of Chicago.

The intent of this RFQ is to identify qualified Artists/ Artist Teams that have demonstrated experience and expertise in facilitating community engagement, design, permitting, fabrication and installation of significant public art lighting, and lighting of infrastructure projects.

The List will be utilized to facilitate a range of public art lighting projects that will enliven city infrastructure including bridges, roadways, streetscapes and viaducts with creative and impactful lighting installations.  The lighting projects are expected to enhance the connection of business and/or cultural corridors to their adjacent residential communities and reflect their vibrant character while inspiring bright ideas for future growth and prosperity. 

DCASE, in collaboration with DPD and CDOT, will manage the selection of the Artists/ Artist Teams of this RFQ.  The prequalified list will be used as means to expedite and ensure the quality selection of Artists/ Artist Teams for the development of future lighting based public art projects in the city of Chicago.

Artists/ Artist Teams that are selected for the List will be eligible to receive direct commissions and/ or to compete with other prequalified Artists/ Artist Teams for these projects. Inclusion on the List may be required eligibility criteria for upcoming public art lighting projects. Eligibility will extend until December 31, 2024.


In 1978, Chicago’s City Council unanimously approved the Percent for Art Ordinance, which requires that 1.33 percent of municipal construction or renovation costs be allocated to the commissioning or purchase of on-site artworks accessible to the public. Through the Chicago Public Art Program, DCASE implements the Percent for Art Ordinance, administers the acclaimed Chicago Public Art Collection, and manages the Public Art Menu Program, Mural Registry, and other publicly funded, temporary and permanent special projects throughout the city.

The Chicago Public Art Collection provides the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment and enhances city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists. Since the passage of the ordinance in 1978, the Public Art Program has contributed significantly to the City’s collection, now numbering over 500 artworks in more than 150 public spaces and facilities, including Libraries, Police Stations, transportation facilities, and more. Through the Public Art Program’s many public art initiatives, DCASE continues to expand the collection and advocates for a diverse public art ecosystem that includes our city’s communities.

DCASE works closely with DPD which is the principal planning agency for the City of Chicago. DPD promotes the comprehensive growth and sustainability of the City and its neighborhoods. CDOT is also a close collaborator on this project as it is responsible for the public way infrastructure, including planning, design, construction maintenance and management.

Artists/ Artist Teams that are selected for the prequalified list will work with DCASE, DPD and CDOT to develop light-based public art projects in conjunction with major city and neighborhood revitalization and infrastructure projects arriving from initiatives and programs like Invest South West and the Five-Year Capital Plan.


INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners toward 10 communities on Chicago's South and West Sides.

Through this groundbreaking collaboration, the City will align more than $750 million in public funding over the next three years, while seeking to maximize those public investments in order to attract significant additional private and philanthropic capital, respond to changing commercial trends, and enrich local culture. With a focus on 12 key commercial corridors in the 10 communities – the “front doors” to the neighborhoods – INVEST South/West collectively supports infrastructure development, improved programming for residents and businesses, and policies that impact each of the community areas surrounding these corridors to create lasting impacting.


To optimize infrastructure investments and improve efficiencies the City of Chicago has developed a multiyear, needs-based Capital Plan that utilizes data to prioritize safety, equity, and cost effectiveness. Under the leadership of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Assets, Information and Services (AIS) led the development of this bold plan that will not only leverage capital improvements to spur local economic development and job creation but also mark a major advancement to the standard of public asset maintenance, and consequently the quality of life and livability of all Chicago communities.  Public Art will be integrated into the Capital Plan to turn the everyday into the extraordinary, physically, and symbolically communicating connections between neighborhoods, histories, people, and futures.  Public art projects will become major destinations and cultural landmarks, contributing to the City’s economic development. The city will invest $15 million in public art over the next 5 years through the capital plan.


All future lighting projects will be made available to the List via Requests for Proposals (“RFP”). The lighting projects will vary in size and scope with project budgets ranging from $500,000 to $5 million.

DCASE anticipates a total of five to ten lighting projects over the course of the next three years with the first RFP being issued by the fourth quarter of 2021.


This opportunity is open to Artists/ Artist Teams with significant experience in light-based design and public art that are based in the continental United States with experience in lighting-based projects including experience working as part of a team with government and municipal agencies to develop significant projects that intersect with public infrastructure, including bridges, roadways, streets, and viaducts.

Through a dynamic profile of past work, Artist/ Artist Team must demonstrate the following skills and competencies:

  1. Ability to develop and implement lighting design concepts in durable and/or permanent materials suitable for public and/or outdoor environments, and which require minimal to no maintenance.
  2. Administrative capacity to responsibly and effectively manage the resources involved in completing an art installation on time, within budget, and in compliance with all applicable codes, ordinances and contracts. This may include but is not limited to:
    • a. Proposing and adhering to practicable: project budgets, timelines, production materials and installation methods
    • b. Subcontracting to properly credentialed professionals such as architects, structural engineers, draftsmen, fabricators and installers
    • c. Carrying all insurance required by applicable laws, codes, ordinances and contracts
    • d. Securing all necessary permits and approvals
    • e. Coordinating with all applicable City and state-level departments and stakeholders

Each Artist, whether seeking prequalification individually, or as part of a Team, must be:

  • A professional artist
  • At least 18 years old
  • A United States citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States

For the purposes of this RFQ, a professional Artist is someone who:

  • Has at least a two-year history of professional light-based art practice
  • Has specialized training in the field (not limited to academic training) of light-based art
  • Has demonstrated success in the arts through the creation of high-quality work, especially that which is well-suited for public spaces
  • Is recognized as a professional by peers (artists working in the same discipline) and experts in the field
  • Is not enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course of study in the visual arts as of May 14, 2021.

For the purposes of this RFQ, an Artist Team:

  • Is two or more professional artists (as defined above) and/or technical professionals in a related field collaborating in the creation of joint work for which all team members hold copyright per the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 USC Section 101).
  • Must demonstrate a body of joint work spanning at least 12 months prior to applying to this call (beginning May 14, 2020 or earlier).


Artists/ Artist Teams are advised to adhere to the submittal requirements of the RFQ. Failure to comply with the instructions of this RFQ may be cause for rejection of the non-compliant submittal.  

Submit only images or videos of Artist’s/ Artist Team’s own original artwork or collaborative joint work for which Artist/ Artist Team shares copyright. Do not submit images or videos of works or projects by others for which applicant played a supportive role (assistant, fabricator, engineer, etc.). This call is a request for qualifications only. Do not submit information for specific public art projects or donations of artwork.

  1. Letter of Interest:
    • a. On a single page, in 500 words or less, please describe the Artist/ Artist Team’s specific interest in working with the City of Chicago.
    • b. Provide a brief summary of Artist/ Artist Team’s professional experience on lighting-based art projects to date, including how that experience qualifies for upcoming opportunities.
    • c. If applying as a team, include a description of your collaborative history and process
  2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    • a. Artists: Please submit your resume or CV detailing past, relevant educational, work and volunteer experiences.
    • b. Teams: Please submit your team/studio resume or CV or collate the individual resumes/CVs of each Team member into a single document.
  3. Work Samples
    • a. 10 visual images of existing, recent light-based work
      • i. File Types: JPEG or JPG only
      • ii. File Dimensions: 1200 pixels or greater on the longest side
      • iii. File size: Under 5 MB
      • iv. Do not submit more than 2 images of the same work.
      • v. Composite images of no more than 2 views of the same work are acceptable.
      • vi. Illegible images (e.g. poor resolution) will not be reviewed.
    • b. Optional: Up to 2 videos documenting existing, recent light-based work
      • i. Submit video only to demonstrate kinetic or time-based work.
      • ii. Do not submit video of static work, artist interviews, or promotional material.
      • iii. File Types: MOV, WMV, MP4, 3GP, AVI, ASF, MPG, M2T, MKV, M2TS
      • iv. File size: Under 100 MB
      • v. Currently, linked media – from YouTube, Vimeo, etc. – are not accepted by CaFÉ
  4. Annotated Image List
    • a. For each work sample provided, please list:
      • i. Title
      • ii. Medium/media
      • iii. Dimensions
      • iv. Year completed
      • v. Price, project budget, or commission budget
      • vi. Installation site (if available), including street address or coordinates
      • vii. Brief statement (2 sentences maximum) about the work
      • viii. Optional: Thumbnail images are advised but not required.
  5. Website Link
    • a. Provide a link to the Artist's / Artist Team's dedicated website, or the website of an art gallery or arts nonprofit that represents Artist’s / Artist Team’s work. Information found on the website should include, at minimum:
      • i. Images of at least 10 examples of recent work, including the work samples submitted as Portfolio of Previous Work for this application
      • ii. Statement(s) / Team mission statement
        • 1. Artists: This should be your artist statement.
        • 2. Teams: This should include your team statement.
      • iii. Bio / Team history
        • 1. Artists: This should be your artist bio.
        • 2. Teams: This should include the artist bio of each team member and may include a history of your work as a team.
      • iv. Resume / CV
        • 1. Artists: This should be your resume or CV.
        • 2. Teams: This should include the resume or CV of each team member and may include a CV of your work as a team.
      • v. Contact Information for at least one of the following:
        • 1. Applicant (Artists and Artist Teams)
        • 2. Representative gallery (Artists and Artist Teams


Artist/ Artist Team must communicate only with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.  All questions or requests for clarification must be in writing, sent by email to and directed to the attention of Anne Davis, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Questions or requests for clarifications must be received no later than June 7, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. No telephone calls will be accepted.

An RFQ Conference will take place on June 3, 2021 from 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. via the Zoom link, Meeting ID: 959 439 4800. Or call into the Conference by finding your local number at It will be an informational session on the RFQ requirements and the submission process along with a Q&A opportunity. No portfolios or other application materials will be reviewed. No forthcoming public art projects will be identified. While attendance is not mandatory, interested Artists/ Artist Teams are highly encouraged to attend.

To RSVP for the Conference, email, with the subject line: Public Art Lighting RFQ Conference. Please provide your full name in the body of the email.


To be assured of consideration, submissions must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on June 18, 2021.

The City may but is not required to accept submissions that are not received by the deadline. Only the DCASE Commissioner is empowered to determine whether to accept or return late submissions.  No additional or missing documents will be accepted after the due date and time, except as may be requested by the DCASE Commissioner.


Submissions will be accessible via CaFÉ ( from May 14, 2021 to June 18, 2021. Interested applicants must register with CaFÉ in order to view the application. Only submissions submitted via CaFÉ will be reviewed. Do not submit materials by email or by post. Only one submission per Artist/Artist Team will be accepted.


A panel comprised of representatives from DCASE, DPD and CDOT as well as critical stakeholders, constituencies and/ or advisor will review the Artists’/ Artist Teams’ submissions. The panel will assess all eligible applicants based on:

  1. Artistic excellence: Application demonstrates originality of concept and content; mastery of skills and techniques; professional quality of craftsmanship; professional approaches to process and presentation.
  2. Professional competence: Application demonstrates activities indicating a professional practice, which may include but are not limited to specialized training in the field (not limited to academic training); previous commissions for site-specific work; exhibitions in museums, art galleries, and/or other art venues; participation in artist residency programs; and other professional activities.
  3. Administrative capacity: Application demonstrates the organizational skills and resource management capabilities necessary to successfully develop and deliver a commissioned light-based artwork on time, within budget, and in compliance with all applicable codes, ordinances and contracts. This may be demonstrated by previous public art commissions, or by projects of comparable budget, scale and/or complexity.

DCASE reserves the right to reject any submissions that do not conform to the requirements set forth in this RFQ. 



RFQ OpenMay 14, 2021
RFQ ConferenceJune 3, 2021, 11:30 AM
Questions DueJune 7, 2021, 4:00 PM
RFQ Submission DeadlineJune 18, 2021, 11:59 PM
Artist/ Artist Team Notification                July 23, 2021


Please address questions to:


The following General Terms and Conditions are informational only.  Artists and Artist Teams selected for the Public Art, Light and Infrastructure Prequalified List will be required to abide by the General Terms and Conditions outlined below. 



Consistent with the City's practice of making available all information submitted in response to a public procurement, all submissions, any information, and documentation contained therein, any additional information or documentation submitted to the City as RFQ for Public Art Lights part of this submission, and any information or documentation presented to City as part of negotiation of a contract or other agreement may be made publicly available through the City's Internet website. However, applicants may designate those portions of the submission which contain trade secrets or other proprietary data ("Data") which applicant desires to remain confidential.

To designate portions of the submission as confidential, applicant must mark each sheet or image to be restricted with the following legend: "Confidential: Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this RFQ."

All submissions to the City are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The City will make the final determination as to whether information, even if marked "confidential," will be disclosed pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act or valid subpoena. Applicant agrees not to pursue any cause of action against the City to disclosure of information.

Artists/ Artists Teams acting as an individual, professional Artists Teams or other legal entity, is of professional status, licensed to perform in the State of Illinois and the CITY OF CHICAGO for all applicable professional discipline(s) requiring licensing and will be governed by the professional ethics in its relationship to the City.  It is also understood that all reports, information, or data prepared or assembled by the Artist pursuant to this RFQ may be made available to any individual organization, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Respondent shall be financially solvent and each of its members shall be competent to perform the services required under this RFQ document.

False Statements

Any person who knowingly makes a false statement of material fact to the city in violation of any statute, ordinance or regulation, or who knowingly falsifies any statement of material fact made in connection with an application, report, affidavit, oath, or attestation, including a statement of material fact made in connection with a submission, contract or economic disclosure statement or affidavit, is liable to the city for a civil penalty of not less than $500.00 and not more than $1,000.00, plus up to three times the amount of damages which the city sustains because of the person's violation of this section. A person who violates this section shall also be liable for the city's litigation and collection costs and attorney's fees.  The penalties imposed by this section shall be in addition to any other penalty provided for in the municipal code. (Added Coun. J. 12-15-04, p. 39915, § 1)

Aiding and Abetting

Any person who aids, abets, incites, compels or coerces the doing of any act prohibited by this chapter shall be liable to the city for the same penalties for the violation. (Added Coun. J. 12-15-04, p. 39915, §


In addition to any other means authorized by law, the corporation counsel may enforce this chapter by instituting an action with the department of administrative hearings. (Added Coun. J. 12-15-04, p. 39915, § 1) Any false statement(s) made by the Applicants(s) will void the response and eliminate the Respondent(s) from further consideration.

No Liability for Costs

The City is not responsible for costs or damages incurred by Respondents, member(s), partners, subcontractors or other interested parties in connection with the RFQ process, including but not limited to costs associated with preparing the submission and of participating in any conferences, site visits, oral presentations or negotiations.