Call Detail
Native American Heritage & Water Preservation
Entry Deadline: 4/8/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 3, Maximum:Max. 15
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 5
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 3, Maximum:Max. 20
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: International
State: Colorado


The city of Thornton, in collaboration with the Thornton Arts, Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO) and Adams County, is seeking to commission original public art.  This project will commission 3D, large-scale, site-specific work that will have a strong visual impact and push Thornton into a contemporary setting. The final design will include indigenous intervention into the practice of public art by honoring the location’s indigenous history in addition to the current cultural contributions made by Indigenous peoples in an effort to inspire an ethos for living in harmony with nature and preserving natural resources (given the locations close proximity to the South Platte River). 

Artists are strongly encouraged to explore contemporary materials, themes, and utilize interdisciplinary practices to meet the scope of the project in addition to unique and exciting use of technology. This project encourages artists to go beyond the use of static imagery to weave a dynamic, intersectional story of Indigenous cultures and influence that may inspire the preservation of water resources.  

 Land Acknowledgment  

Thornton sits on Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), and hinono’eino’ biito’owu’ (Arapaho) homeland. Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement recognizing the Indigenous peoples of a place. It is a public gesture of appreciation for the past and present Indigenous stewardship of the lands that we now occupy. Land Acknowledgment opens a space with gratefulness and respect for the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspective of Indigenous peoples. It is an actionable statement that marks our collective movement towards decolonization and equity.


This work will help build a diverse and engaging collection of public art that is personal to Thornton and informed by the community. The artwork will establish Thornton as an innovative and exciting destination-city; engaged in contemporary conversations on art and culture.

Site Location and Footprint

This project is part of the council-approved, 5-year public art plan and has been assigned to Ward 2.
This project will be installed at Pelican Ponds Open Space. Pelican Ponds is a 200-achre open space property with trails, walking paths, fishing, and natural play-scapes.

The space is also one of two parks with access to the South Platte River. The South Platte is one of two principle tributaries of the Platte River and is a major river of the American Mountain West.  Semifinalists will be given details of several available locations where the proposed piece can be installed. 
Linked below are photos of the site. Site details will be provided to semifinalists. 

Objective and Key Themes

Prior to 2018, Thornton Public Art Collection pieces utilized similar materials (masonry and bronze). In 2020, emphasis was put on future-forward design, viewer activation, and a piece’s relation to physical space. Successful artists will challenge themselves to think creatively and "outside the box" in order to engage viewers and expand art in Thornton through the use of contemporary design, materials, and technology. 

This is an opportunity to create large-scale public art work that will not only spark conversations, but have a positive impact on all who visit this space. Finalists are encouraged to think critically and provide well-researched proposals/designs that meet the scope of the project in addition to the following:

  • Cohesive and forward-thinking design that applies to the designated area(s).     
  • Dynamic use of color, composition and style elements that create a strong visual impact.   
  • Interdisciplinary practice with an emphasis on creativity, innovative materials, and technology.    
  • Experience in large scale fabrication and installation of impactful, landmark works.
  • Holistic and nontraditional approach to place-making and (re)activation of a physical space with consideration to viewing in all seasons, weather conditions, and lighting conditions. 
  • Strong understanding of the role artists plays in a growing city and the positive effect art has on public space and community identity.
  • Strong understanding of audience/viewer engagement and activation.
  • Understanding of the specialized needs and materials for durable, outdoor public art work. 
  • Ability to present well-researched and prepared proposals to a committee of stakeholders which include residents, elected officials, and city staff.
  • Ability to meet the needs of a community and site within the allotted budget and timeframe. 
  • Understanding and commitment to the diversity and unique character that make the city of Thornton a special place to live, work, and play.


The public art process is guided by transparency, inclusivity, and diversity. The Public Art Subcommittee is committed to creating space for underrepresented and diverse voices in creative industries. Artists and creative teams committed to work around equity, diversity, and inclusion are strongly encouraged to apply for consideration. 

 The city of Thornton is an equal opportunity employer. The city reaffirms its commitment to comply with all appropriate federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination.

 This is an international call; open to all artists, design teams, architectural firms, etc., age 18 and over, regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender identity, age, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability.


Applicants will ensure to meet the scope of this project in addition to the following:

  1. The movement, safety and security of visitors is priority.
  2. Materials used must be durable, and require little and/or easy maintenance.
  3. Details and calculations for art will be needed if there are any connections to infrastructure (electricity).
  4. Designs need to take into account additional external factors which may affect the condition of the artwork in addition to other precautionary measures (e.g. direct sunlight, extremes of annual rain or snowfall, temperature, air moisture or dryness, acidity of rainfall, flooding, wind, vibrations, air pollutants, vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic; animal interaction with artwork – potential for nesting, droppings, etc.; human interaction with artwork – touching, sitting, climbing, vandalism).
  5. Award winner will be required to coordinate installation activities with city of Thornton staff.
  6. Award winner will be required to provide detailed records, guidelines, procedures to assist staff with future maintenance and repair. 
  7. Design cannot contain business promotions or advertisements.
  8. Design cannot include any breach of intellectual property, brands, trademarks, or depictions of illegal activities.
  9. Artists do not need to include the city of Thornton logo in their design(s).
  10. The design must be family-friendly.


The project budget is $75,000, which is inclusive of artist's fee, materials, fabrication and execution of work; equipment rentals; licenses, permits, insurance etc.

This project is made possible through funding provided by the Adams County Open Space Sale Tax.  The Open Space Sales Tax was approved by Adams County voters in 1999 as a 1/5 of one percent sales tax authorized through 2006. In 2004, voters approved an increase to ¼ of one percent, or 25 cents on a $100 purchase, and extended the sales tax through 2026.  Proceeds from the sales tax benefit parks, recreation, trails, and open space projects countywide.

Review Process and Approval

This public art process will be split into several rounds:

Round 1: Portfolio Review (Four Hours)

The panel (consisting of project and community stakeholders) will review a portfolio of artists' recent work. Applicants are encouraged to submit 3 – 10 pieces of work that highlight their diverse skills and experience. Artists are not required to submit concept designs, but can choose to include them in this first review. Artist who do not submit concepts for the site will not be penalized. 

Round 2: Semi Finalist Deliberation (Two Hours)

The panel will meet to discuss top scores and advocate for their favorite applicants. Up to three semifinalists may be identified for a project. Panel members will make a motion and approve the semifinalists. Semifinalists will be issued a modest honorarium to create a site-specific proposal.

Round 3: Design Presentations (Four Hours) 

Semifinalists will be invited to present their proposal to the panel via Zoom. This gives the artist an opportunity to address any questions or concerns. Semifinalists will produce a well-researched and thorough, site-specific proposal that meets the needs of the project in addition to the following:

  • Final design
  • 3D rendering and/or images of final piece within the physical space 
  • Itemized budget, including insurance, travel, install, foundational, and contractor costs
  • Estimated production/fabrication schedule
  • Estimated installation schedule
  • Artist statement and project narrative
  • Materials list, including supplier information
  • Warranty information
  • Maintenance information, including procedures, timelines and future estimated city costs

Proposals will be due to Jesse Jimenez, Arts & Culture Coordinator one week before the scheduled presentations. Incomplete proposals will not be accepted.

Round 4: Final Deliberation (Two Hours) 

Each panel member will complete a score card after each presentation. Presenters will be scored on the following criteria:

  • Artistic quality
  • Project feasibility
  • Community activation/engagement
  • Project goals
  • Overall proposal

Panel members will review each presentation, design, and scorecard to identify the best candidate.

Round 5: Council Recommendation and Final Approval 

Once a finalist has been identified, the recommendation process will begin. Please note that no project is officially awarded without final approval from Thornton City Council. A recommendation will be presented to the TASHCO board for approval. If approved, TASHCO will then present the recommendation to Thornton City Council. Council may request additional information to support the public art recommendation at that time or approve the award.

Upon final approval from Thornton City Council, the award-winner will then begin to enter into contracts and purchasing agreements with the city of Thornton.


Below are important 2021 project dates. Staff will communicate any changes to applicants via email as needed.

  • Open Call: March 8 – April 8
  • Round 1: April 9 – 12  
  • Round 2: April 29  
  • Round 3 & 4: June 10
  • TASHCO Approval: July
  • Council Approval: October

The commissioned piece will have a final project deadline of December 31, 2022.

Submission Requirements

By submitting your materials in response to this project RFQ/RFP, you are agreeing to abide by all terms and conditions imposed by Westcafe for use of CAFÉ ( []). You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the City of Thornton or any claim, cause of action, lawsuit and/or damages related to your use of CAFÉ for this RFQ/RFP.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Application Requirements

Eligibility Criteria