Call Detail
Tarpon Springs Black Heritage Project
Visit Organization Website
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:
Entry Deadline: 10/29/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 6
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 1, Maximum:Max. 6
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: Regional
State: Florida
Budget: 135,000

The City of Tarpon Springs is unique in many ways. The origins and settlement of the city were
made by three symbiotic groups: the sponge hookers who came north to Tarpon Springs from the
Bahamas and the Florida Keys; the Greeks who came from the Dodecanese Islands with their
innovative diving suits and helmets that revolutionized the sponging industry and the “crackers,”
the “cowboys” of Florida who brought cattle, orchards and farming to the area.

The black sponge hookers and the immigrant Greeks supported each other’s efforts. Many of the
black sponge hookers learned Greek to facilitate their working alongside the helmeted Greek
spongers. Descendants of these groups still inhabit Tarpon Springs to this day. This unique
fellowship has not been recognized in public art.

The purpose of this project is to represent this unique relationship in art. The project is
envisioned at being located at two places: the Sponge Docks and the Union Academy
neighborhood. The medium will be at the creativity of the artist and we are encouraging free
expression addressing the theme. A search of the history of early Tarpon Springs will be of
inestimable value to the project and information can be obtained from the Public Art Committee
(PAC) or the Tarpon Area Historical Society upon request. An Appendix with additional
historical comments is available upon request.

The Selection Panel for the project will be chaired by TSPAC chair Joan Jennings and consists of
Tina Bucuvalas (President, Greektown Preservation and Heritage Association); Annie Dabbs
(President of the Historic Rose Cemetery, an African-American burial ground); Rodrigo Davis
(Provost, St. Petersburg College); Nikolette Henderson (History Teacher and Author); Rev.
Milton Smith (chaplain, first responders; founder and President of First Responders Matter);
Lynn Whitelaw (former Director of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art [LRMA] and local
historian) and Teresa Wilkins (director, LRMA).

Art Project Overview

This design competition will include the review of application materials with the intent of
identifying two artists and their designs most favored by the Selection Panel, the Chair of which
will be a member of the PAC. Two finalists will each be given a $750 artist fee upon completion
of their project. One finalist must then be approved by the TSPAC for presentation to the Tarpon
Springs City Manager and the Board of Commissioners.

This project is located in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Recognized internationally as “Little Greece
in America,” “the Venice of the South,” and the “Sponge Capital of the World,” Tarpon Springs
remains a working port with two distinct “Main Streets” – the historic Sponge Docks and
Greektown (Dodecanese Boulevard on the Anclote River) and Tarpon Avenue, an Americana
Main Street consisting of small shops and restaurants. The Union Academy area is home to many
descendants of the original sponge “hookers” who used a long pole with strong steel hooks to
extract sponges from the floor of the Gulf.

Project Location

The project is to be located on two prominent pieces of city-owned property, one on the Sponge
Docks and the other in the Union Academy neighborhood.

Total Art Budget

The total art project budget is $135,000 ($67,500 per location), but may be negotiated depending on the scope of the project. This artwork budget will reflect all costs associated with the artist portion of the project, including but not limited to such items as: design, application and installation. Additional grants and other funding will be actively sought.


• Deadline for submission: by 5:00 pm Friday, October 29, 2021
• Selection Committee to review eligible applicants and select two 2 Finalists by Monday,
December 13, 2021. The decision of the Selection Committee will be forwarded to the Tarpon
Springs City Manager and the Board of Commissioners for final approval.
• Anticipated project completion: TBD

Application Requirements:
One email submission per artist will be accepted.
Please title the Subject Line of your email “Black Heritage Project Application”
In the body of the email please include a brief paragraph stating your specific interest in the

The email must include one PDF with up to two concept proposals describing and illustrating the
artist’s design idea(s) for this project.

One (1) PDF with a maximum of five (5) pages shall be submitted with the following

A.) Artist Contact Information — Artist’s name, address, phone number, email address and
website (if you have one.)

B) Resume information emphasizing applicant’s art experience, inclusion in any exhibitions,
collections and commissions demonstrating the qualifications or background to perform this
scope of work.

Sections A & B shall total no more than one page.

C) Image Sheet of Past Work - Color Images no smaller than 3” x 5” Required Section C shall
total no more than two pages.

Include up to and no more than 6 images with image identification to be placed beside each
image that includes:

1) thumbnail image of the work (no smaller than 4” x 6”)
2) title of work
3) medium
4) dimensions
5) date of work
6) price of work or commission award
7) location of work

A brief description of a commissioned artwork’s history and/or location may also be included but
is not required.

D) Proposal Image(s) Section D shall total up to and no more than two pages per proposal.

Briefly describe and illustrating your design idea for this project.

Include up to four images per proposal, as needed. Up to two design proposals are permitted for
a total of 8 images. One illustration shall be of the front of the piece. One illustration shall be of
the back of the piece.

General Notes for Preparing Your Submission

1. Send 1 PDF with a maximum of five pages of material containing and collated as

a) Artist Contact Information
b) Resume
c) Images and IDs of Past work. Color copies only.
d) Up to two concept proposals describing and illustrating your design idea for this project

2. Do not attach any additional application materials (such as artist catalogs) that have not
been requested.


Responses to this RFP shall be submitted by email ONLY. The following shall be marked in the
Subject Line of the email:

Black Heritage Project

Responses shall be submitted BY EMAIL ONLY to:

Diane Wood, Director, Cultural and Civic Services Department

The Selection Panel will review requested material and select two artist finalists.

Artists are to submit no more than two concept ideas per artist. The two selected artists will each
be offered a $750.00 (seven hundred and fifty dollars) honorarium for the design. The two
finalists are responsible for transportation, lodging, and food costs throughout the process of this
project. The final piece will be prepared for the painting of the design. Transportation of the
finished piece to/from the finalist’s studio will be provided if this is feasible.

All applicants will be notified about the outcome of their submissions. Please do not call or email
for an update on the status of the submission.

For more information, contact: Diane Wood, Director, Cultural and Civic Services Department

The Selection Panel reserves the right to reject any or all applications, proposals or finalists, and
terminate or re-advertise this project without prior notice.

Additional contact:
Joan Jennings, PAC / Selection Panel chair

Artist Eligibility

•This design competition is open to all visual artists; consideration will be given to those
who reside in Tarpon Springs or the surrounding area.
•It is preferred that applying artists have successfully completed other art projects of a
similar scale/budget.
•Proven ability to meet requirements and deadline.
•Cost within proposed scope

Project Design Criteria

Overall design criteria that will help guide the selection of two artists:

•Artwork that will complement the project theme.
• A one-of-a-kind original design (not reproduced).
• Imaginative concept as presented in design sketch
• Compatibility among the proposed designs finalists are:
There is no stated stylistic preference anticipated to be of interest to the Selection Panel.
Interested artists are encouraged to submit a brief paragraph of interest, qualifications, past
artwork images, up to two concept proposals describing and illustrating their design idea for this
project. (See Application Requirements section below.)