Call Detail
City of Chicago - Public Art Planning Consultant
Entry Deadline: 12/12/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 10
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 11
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Illinois



The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Department of Transportation (CDOT), seeks professional artists, arts consultants, urban designers and planners with public art and infrastructure experience to serve as consultants who will lead a community engagement process to scope and identify priorities for new public art and infrastructure investments, prioritizing INVEST South/West (ISW) neighborhood corridors.


On November 18, 2020, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced a Five-Year Capital Plan to improve the quality of life for all Chicago residents by investing in infrastructure and City facilities in all 77 communities. The Five-Year Capital Plan will put thousands of Chicagoans back to work by addressing the decades-long backlog of infrastructure needs. The multi-billion-dollar plan will allocate dedicated funding for the repair and replacement of bridges, shoreline revetment, accessible sidewalks, street resurfacing, streetlights and traffic signals, among others.

In conjunction with the Five-Year Capital Plan, the City of Chicago announced Public Art and Infrastructure Program that will provide significant jobs and workforce opportunities for artists by integrating public art into capital and infrastructure projects. This program aims to employ artists and cultural workers and contribute to the economic vitality of neighborhoods. The initial investment for this program is $6M over the next 2 years, with additional funding anticipated in the three remaining years of the capital plan.

The Public Art and Infrastructure Program will prioritize communities with histories of disinvestment and engage a diverse network of artists to support creativity in neighborhoods. With a focus on equity and access, the programs will be managed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) in close partnership with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). 

Projects will specifically focus on INVEST South/West, 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. 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 touch each of the community areas surrounding these corridors to create a lasting impact.


Consultants will lead a community engagement process to develop plans which will scope and identify priorities for the City’s Five-Year Capital Plan public art investments, including new and innovative uses of the public way (streets, sidewalks, plazas) and prioritizing INVEST South/West neighborhood corridors.  Each consultant may be assigned one or more INVEST South/West (ISW) corridors for which to develop plans.  

For more information about ISW priority community areas and corridors, please visit

For each of their assigned ISW neighborhoods, consultants will:

  1. Create a planning and engagement framework to outline timelines and deliverables
  2. Engage local communities to envision new public art investments on the ISW commercial corridor and other strategic investment areas
  3. Develop recommendations to inform calls for artists to design and implement public art projects
  4. Based on the planning and engagement process, recommend community partners to help steward implementation and long-term care of the public art projects


The Consultant will manage the community engagement process in four phases over approximately six months, dates to be announced:

PhaseWeeksActive during:
1: Research6Months 1 and 2
2: Visioning6Months 2 and 3
3: Public Art Priorities8Months 4 and 5
4: Public Art Corridor Vision / Summary Documents8Months 5 and 6

Phase 1: Research

  • Review and create a summary of existing cultural and public art planning efforts, projects, and events within the neighborhood(s) of focus
  • Research best practices and inspiration/example projects
  • Document existing conditions
  • Assemble an advisory group of stakeholders
  • Conduct corridor and neighborhood “walks” to discuss initial ideas, assets and project opportunities
  • Create an existing conditions summary documenting existing conditions with accompanying visuals that can be used as the foundation of community engagement and workshop materials

Phase 2: Visioning

  • Facilitate an advisory group meeting to review existing conditions summary and solicit strategies and priorities, potential partners, and collaborations
  • Use the existing conditions summary to inform the design and execution of community workshops to envision possibilities and determine goals and priorities for future development
  • Organize a public presentation of ideas, soliciting community feedback on initial opportunity sites and priorities

Phase 3: Public Art Priorities

  • Create a summary of public art project opportunities based on advisory group and community input, with visuals that may include site plans, elevations, and concept renderings
  • Identify locations for potential near- and short-term opportunities for public art activation
  • Identify potential types of public art projects that could be developed including murals, sculpture, and other physical cultural amenities
  • Facilitate a 2nd advisory group meeting to review public art projects and refine strategies and priorities, potential partners, and collaborations

Phase 4: Public Art Corridor Vision / Summary Documents

  • Draft a public art plan, documenting existing conditions with visuals that can be used to inform future requests for qualifications
  • Organize a public share-out that communicates the public art corridor vision with displays summarizing the community vision for public art, project strategies and inspiration
  • Submit a final report documenting the public art plan, guiding principles, framework, engagement process, and priorities for near- and short-term public art projects


This project is open to professional artists, arts consultants, urban designers and planners with experience in public art and infrastructure and community engagement, who live and work in the United States of America. The selected consultant must demonstrate experience in public art planning and community outreach, and a commitment to working with and for the benefit of the public. The guidelines below are required for the lead artist, designer or planner, who will be the principal. Individual artist applicants must meet all criteria below.

  • Is not enrolled full time in undergraduate college/university studies of any kind
  • Is a practicing artist, arts consultant, urban designer or planner. This is defined as someone who:
    • is actively creating new work
    • has demonstrated success in the art and infrastructure field through the creation of high-quality work and/or contributions to the field
    • has at least a two-year history of public presentation or publication


Applicants will be required to participate in a competitive selection process and will be reviewed and evaluated by a committee of stakeholders comprising DCASE, DPD and CDOT staff, community representatives and arts professionals. Applicants may meet the criteria outlined below through the combined skills and experiences of team members.

Finalists will be invited to interview based on a competitive review of the following:

  • Professional merit and qualifications demonstrated in a portfolio of past work that includes community-based projects, public art, planning and design
  • A broad range of creative and administrative skills applicable to the development and execution of the scope of work, including budget and timeline management
  • A commitment to equity demonstrated through past work, leadership and team composition
  • Knowledge and access to diverse artists and creatives across Chicago who can be engaged to support the program
  • A demonstrated ability to translate complex concepts in ways that are compelling and meaningful
  • An advanced knowledge of graphic design, digital and web-based platforms, and social media
  • A range of ideas and approaches for how to creatively interpret data


* All dates are approximate.

RFQ released via CAFÉ11/1/2112/12/216
Information Session (online webinar)Week of 11/15/21 1
Review of qualifications12/13/211/2/223
Committee selects 3-4 finalists1/3/221/7/221
Finalist interviews/presentations1/10/221/14/221
Notification of final selectionJanuary 2022  


The budget per each INVEST South/West neighborhood will be $50,000, which includes all costs associated with delivery of the community engagement process and public art plan including, but not limited to artist and design fees, translation and other accessibility services, insurances and implementation costs.


Application is available via CaFÉ ( at:


Each team must submit an entirely digital application.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications should include:

  1. A one- (1) page Letter of Interest: Please answer the following questions in your LOI.
    • What interests you and/or your team about this project?
    • How are you/your team particularly qualified for this project? Please indicate if you have the interest and capacity to work with more than one neighborhood.
    • Please describe your (team’s) experience leading large-scale community engagement and public art programs. Include the types of engagement strategies that were employed, the goals and deliverables of the programs.
    • Please describe your (team’s) approach to developing a community engagement strategy for this project. Include your experience with and strategy for engaging an array of communities and including hard-to-reach segments of the population.
  2. Team Bios: Provide one bio each for all team members.
    • Teams must identify a principal.
    • Please include a master list of all key team members and their roles/affiliations.
  3. Work Samples:
    • Provide one to ten (1-10) images of completed projects by the team or the team’s principal, with an emphasis on public art and infrastructure, urban design and planning, and community-based projects.
    • One (1) video, edited to no more than two (2) minutes in length, may also be submitted but is not required.
    • Additional support materials in the form of web site links or other documentation may be submitted as a single PDF file but are not required.
  4. Annotated Image List:
    • Include the title, year completed, location (if site-specific), timeline, and client or commissioning entity for each corresponding image.  Describe the context of each image and the community engagement approach used.
    • Where applicable, include media, dimensions, project budget, and stakeholders or partners.
    • If a video is submitted, please include two to three (2-3) sentences to describe its context.
    • If additional support materials are submitted, please include two to three (2-3) sentences to describe each one.
  5. References:
    • Please provide two (2) professional references from organizations or companies for which you have led community engagement and public art and infrastructure programs.
    • Provide the reference’s name, company or organizational affiliation, title and contact information.
    • Provide a description of the project and the consulting services you provided.


Deadline to Apply: Sunday, December 12, 2021, 11:59 pm CST


Monday, November 15, 2021, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm CST 

Video recording available:


QUESTIONS may be emailed to

Application Requirements


Eligibility Criteria