Call Detail
Kiku Crossing - Parking Garage Art

Contact Email:
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Local
State: California
Entry Deadline: 2/8/21
Application Closed
Images - Minimum: 3, Maximum: 10
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Total Media - Minimum: 3, Maximum: 11


MidPen Housing is seeking 1-2 artists to create images to be printed on four façade panels of a 5-story parking garage as part of an affordable housing development in San Mateo, CA.  The development, called Kiku Crossing (explanation of name below), will consist of workforce housing and public parking at two adjacent downtown parcels. The transit-oriented sites are located half a mile from the San Mateo Caltrain Station at 480 East 4th Avenue and 400 East 5th Avenue. MidPen Housing Corporation is working in partnership with the City of San Mateo to develop the sites.

The residential building will consist of up to 225 rental units for families in a 7-story structure, including one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as studios. Construction is estimated to start in November 2021.   



MidPen Housing is one of the nation’s leading non-profit developers, owners and managers of high-quality affordable housing. In the fifty years since MidPen was founded, it has developed over 100 communities and over 7,500 homes for low-income families, seniors and special needs individuals throughout Northern California.



MidPen Housing will commission 1-2 artists to create art that will be printed on four flexible facades suspended along the exterior of the parking garage, which will be owned by the City of San Mateo. The artist/artists will work with MidPen Housing and the Civic Arts Committee of San Mateo through a design review process upon reaching a set of final images. The artist/artists are solely responsible for the creation of high quality digital images of their work, and will not be involved in the production or installation of the facades themselves. The facades are made out of a permeable material ranging in size between 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. The project team is considering a material by Flex Facades (click here for examples). Image files will need to be 100-300 dpi high resolution electronic files. A color version as well as a greyscale version may be requested depending on manufacturing constraints. For the color version, all colors are acceptable, though the manufacturer recommends staying away from red pigmented colors.


About the name Kiku Crossing: “Kiku” is the Japanese word for chrysanthemum, a flower that was cultivated in the late 19th century/early 20th century by the Japanese immigrant community in San Mateo County. Chrysanthemums formed the bedrock of a booming floral industry and were a source of livelihood for many who faced discriminatory land use and property laws. The San Mateo Japanese American Community Center directly neighbors the site, and continues to serve as an arts, education, and services space for the contemporary Japanese-American community in the region. The word “Crossing” reflects the coming together, convergence, and movement associated with the adjacent Caltrain railroad tracks in downtown San Mateo.


Two interrelated themes important to this project are transportation/mobility and social justice. These themes are identified given the project’s prominent location next to the Caltrain tracks and the 100% affordable unit mix. Importantly, this project will open up access to opportunities for hundreds of families in a resource-rich city that, like cities across the United States, faces a legacy of housing discrimination and segregation.

The following themes have been considered as relevant to the project and may serve as a starting point for artistic inspiration:

·        Transportation (Caltrain) infrastructure and mobility

·        Dismantling segregation / moving to opportunity

·        Dense, walkable, urban communities

·        Local ecology

·        Indigenous histories (the Ramaytush Ohlone)

·        Immigration histories

·        Racial and social justice movements



Up to four finalists will be selected to develop proposals. Each finalist will receive $1,000.


Selected artists will be commissioned $10,000 per panel design. Artist payment will be determined by how many panels they are selected to design. There is a possibility for one artist to be selected to design all four panels, or for two artists selected to design two panels each.


Artist/Artists will be responsible for all equipment and software necessary to produce vector based graphic art. Commission fee will include design review and the purchase of the digital art files.



The application is comprised of:

  1. Artist Bio - Please provide a statement speaking directly  to your history and experience as an artist or two-person artist team. Please note any connections (such as residency) you have to the project, the City of San Mateo, the County of San Mateo, or the Bay Area.
  2. Portfolio – Please provide up to ten (10) images of past artworks.
  3. Statement of Interest – Please describe your interest in this project, the themes that you are interested in representing through your artwork, and explaining how you are uniquely qualified for this project. (can be combined with the artist bio as one document)


Written Statement Guidelines: If written, not to exceed 2,000 words

Video/Audio Statement Guidelines: If you choose the video/audio format, please provide a short (2 minutes max) video/audio statement speaking directly to why you are interested in this project. Please note that this should not be a highly produced/edited video, a short recording that speaks directly to your interest in this project will suffice. The intent of this option is to provide an opportunity for individuals who feel they can represent themselves better verbally versus in writing through the letter of interest (for example for applicants for whom English is a second language and/or other considerations).




All applications must submit through Call for Entry: (link here). This portfolio support and arts related job application service is free for artists to join. We will accept applications until 9:00 AM on Monday, February 8, 2021.




  • Experience creating high-resolution digital images of your work
  • Ability to work with a client to create a design given parameters
  • Flexibility and collaborative attitude
  • Experience working collaboratively with design teams, community groups, and stakeholders
  • Expressed interest in the themes related to the project
  • Local artists will be given preference (City of San Mateo, San Mateo County, Bay Area)


MidPen Housing is committed to reflecting the diversity and cultural richness of the city of San Mateo in the selection of artists and artworks.



Please note that this project is a public-private partnership between MidPen and the City of San Mateo. The final pieces of art will need to be approved by the City’s Civic Arts Committee (CAC) according to published guidelines. Per City conditions, artwork must be unique and artist must agree not to reproduce elsewhere. Selected artists will need to sign a waiver stating that images will become the property of MidPen and the City of San Mateo.


The selection and design development process will be as follows:

  1. A panel at MidPen Housing will review the applicants’ images, qualifications and other materials.
  2. The MidPen Housing panelists will identify up to four finalists to be interviewed via Zoom
  3. The finalists (up to 4) will be notified and will receive a $1,000 honorarium each to develop proposals in the form of concepts and renderings specific to the housing project and provided theme. Finalists may develop proposals for 2 panels or all 4 panels.
  4. The City of San Mateo’s Civic Arts Committee will hold a study session to review preliminary design concepts on March 8, 2021. [Estimated date]
  5. With the feedback from the Civic Arts Committee, the MidPen panel will select 1-2 of the finalists to receive the commission ($10,000 per panel)
  6. MidPen meets with selected artist/artists individually to discuss feedback on initial designs
  7. Artist(s) provide updated artwork based on feedback from MidPen team and CAC
  8. CAC approves the 4 panel designs on May 10, 2021 [Estimated date]


The schedule of the selection and design development process is subject to change.




Please feel free to reach out to Alex Rogala ( and Josie de Mira ( with any questions.

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