Call Detail
RISCA- Garrahy Judicial Complex Parking Garage public art RFQ

Entry Deadline: 2/15/21
Application Closed
Number of Applications Allowed: 10
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 6
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: National
State: Rhode Island

Rhode Island State Council On the Arts
Request For Qualifications, Mural Commission
Garrahy Judicial Complex
1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI, 02903
Budget: $98,000
Application deadline: February 15, 2021
Free to apply

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is requesting qualifications for a temporary mural commission at the new Garrahy Judicial Complex parking garage, located at 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI. Individuals and teams are encouraged to apply. Artwork will address the north-facing facade (roughly 120' wide x 70' high) in whole or part, and will be on display for a period of 5 years. 

Artwork for the Garrahy Judicial Complex, located at 1 Dorrance Street, Providence, Rhode Island, will be commissioned by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, (RISCA), through Rhode Island’s Public Art Law, which mandates that 1% of all state capital construction and renovation funds be allocated to the purchase and maintenance of public art.  Through this program the State recognizes that “public art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment, and pride for all citizens.” 

RISCA is committed to helping fine artists gain a foothold in the field of public art. Some excellent national resources on best practices include: the Public Art Network:; the Public Art Archive:;; and Forecast Public Art:


Garrahy Judicial Complex, the busiest courthouse in Rhode Island, opened a new parking facility in November 2019. One percent of the construction budget has been set aside for the acquisition of public art, to be divided equally amongst two temporary installations.

The Courthouse is used by approximately 3,500 people a day. Family Court deals with matters of divorce, custody and adoption. It was strongly stated that “adoption is the best thing that happens in the building.” The District Court focuses on arraignments and legal disputes, while the Superior Court hears appeals from the lower courts. Much more information is located here:

 Users of the building “can be really good people on a bad day or really bad people on their worst day”. They might have committed a double homicide. They might have a custody hearing or an issue with child support. No matter who they are, they hope to receive justice. Some people pass through the building just once and some, such as children in the care of the court, visit the building for 18 years. Equally as important, the courthouse employs 400-500 people and they are users, too.

Additionally, the Garrahy parking garage sits within Providence's Downtown Historic District and is adjacent to the Providence Innovation and Design District. The Providence Innovation and Design District encompasses land made available during the relocation of I-195; this district is an area of rapid growth and transformation. During the course of the 5-year commission, the area may change significantly. The parking garage artwork commission will be highly visible to residents, visitors, hotel guests, and those employed by businesses the area. The parking garage facade is visible from multiple vantage points throughout the city.


Panelists attended 2 site visits in summer 2018 and one in October 2020 and determined that, without belying the dignity of the court, artwork that is colorful, bright, cheerful, calming and/or soothing would be appropriate. Panelists indicated that artwork should thoughtfully address how the artwork is viewed from both inside and outside the courthouse.

This RFQ seeks a temporary mural for the exterior of the garage, to be on display for a period of 5 years. At the end of the 5-year period, the artwork will be removed, replaced, or destroyed, and a new work installed.

Durability of the work for the stated period is vital, thus designs and materials should be selected accordingly.

The budget should be used in its entirety to address the large precast concrete wall of the parking garage located between Friendship and Clifford streets, facing northeast towards Dorrance St. The wall has a usable area of approximately 70’ high x 120’ wide. This facade is visible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic through the immediate neighborhood and from various vantage points in the larger downtown area, as well as visible from the interior of the courthouse itself.


The selected artist(s) should be prepared to engage with the community in the building and at large.

The scope of the project will include all labor related to the artist’s installation, drawings, materials, permitting and permit fees, equipment, supervision, testing services, procurement of a Rhode Island engineer’s stamp, insurance, and all other costs incurred in the delivery of the finished installation. It is required that the artist apply a protective clear coating to the finished artwork at their expense. The wall area to be addressed will be primed first at the project’s expense at the beginning and end of the commission.

The final commissioned work must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act: The final commissioned work will be reviewed by the Downtown Design Review Commission and the Providence Art in City Life Commission prior to installation.


Please note: This Request for Qualifications is the first step in the Garrahy Judicial Complex public art selection process.  YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC PROPOSAL. This is a Request for Qualifications, (RFQ), not a Request for Proposals, (RFP).

RISCA will conduct the Garrahy Judicial Complex Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ (see below). There is no charge to the artist for applying or for submitting digital images. At this preliminary selection stage, we are requesting submissions from artists or artist teams consisting of six (6) images representing current work (completed within the past ten years), an artist’s statement, and resumes.

If an artist wants to apply as an individual as well as part of a team, two separate CaFÉ profiles and two separate CaFÉ applications must be completed (i.e., one application submission for you and one for your team).

Applications will be reviewed by the Garrahy Judicial Complex Public Art Selection Panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist's work and the artist’s ability to carry out a substantial public art commission. The RFQ process is mainly about the panel’s initial response to the artist’s images.

If selected as a finalist, artists will craft detailed proposals including an itemized budget, scale renderings, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid an honorarium of $1,000. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both a site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for travel costs. Due to the unusual circumstances of COVID-19, site visits and presentations may be held through video conferencing as an option to in-person meetings.

No slides or hard copy materials will be accepted for this call. First time CaFÉ applicants must allow enough time to prepare their CaFÉ formatted digital images and electronic submission prior to the deadline.

Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ (tm) web site ( and must include:

  1. A current resume and statement for each artist. If you are applying as a team, include all team member resumes within one document.  
  2. Six digital images of relevant artwork. In the Description of Image, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion and a brief description of the artwork if necessary.  Please do not present more than one view of artwork per image.  If you wish to show a "detail", include it within the six (6) artwork images.


FEBRUARY 15, 2021 11:59 PM (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

MARCH 8, 2021 panel meeting for selection of finalists; artist notification

Site visit, TBD 2021

APRIL 2021: Finalist presentations to selection panel

JULY 2021: Final approval by RISCA Council

JULY 2021: Contract signed

SUMMER/FALL 2021: Work installed

According to law, the final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, who will have the final vote on the commission.

Finalist’s site-specific proposals should convey artist’s ideas and plans through designs, renderings and/or scale models with a statement that describes the project's intent, proposed materials, fabrication and installation methods, and an itemized budget. Finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  Artist may employ subcontractors for any aspect of the execution of the artwork.  Artists will be supplied with plans, images, and specific information about the Garrahy Judicial Complex building and its campus.

A site visit will be scheduled for the finalists.  The honorarium of $1,000 will be awarded to the finalists following presentation of their proposals. The proposals will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain proposals for up to one year for display purposes and the right to reproduce final proposals for documentation and public information purposes.

The Public Art Selection Panel reserves the right to determine which proposal will be funded and the extent of funding. The panel also reserves the right to not accept any final proposal. If the Public Art Selection Panel’s recommendations are approved by the State Council on the Arts, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for the commission. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.


The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:

  1. High artistic quality and suitability of the final proposal in relation to the project description, program goals and site descriptions.
  2. Ability of the Artist’s Team: The artist's ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule.
  3. Value: The quality and scope of the proposed completed work in relation to the commission and fees paid to the artist’s team.
  4. Permanence and durability of materials for this heavily used public facility: It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that all artwork meets safety standards, adheres to building codes and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance for the exhibition period of 5 years.
  5. Collaborative Spirit: Willingness of the artist to consult with the building’s employees, architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, general contractors and building staff (or designated representatives) to assure smooth integration of the artwork into the site and to make necessary adjustments in relation to building codes and other construction issues.


This is a national call open to all non-student artists. Applications may be submitted individually or in collaboration with others. The panel will not discriminate against any applicant artist on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or physical challenges. Excluded from participation are RISCA Council members, staff and their family members as well as Public Art Selection Panel members and their families. The State of Rhode Island is committed to increasing opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises, as well as disability business enterprises, to participate in our state’s procurement activities. As an optional question, applicants may self-identify in these categories.

If you have questions about this RFQ, please email Molly Dickinson,, or 401-573-9838.  If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email 

Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria