Call Detail
University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, public art RFQ
Entry Deadline: 9/1/22
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 6
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 1
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 2
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 6, Maximum:Max. 9
Call Type: Public Art
Eligibility: International
State: Rhode Island
Budget: 360,000

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts- Request for Qualifications For Public Art


Kingston, Rhode Island, 02809

Budget: $360,000.

Application Deadline: September 1, 2022

Artwork for the University of Rhode Island College of Arts and Sciences Fine Arts Center, Kingston Campus, 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.” 

About the University

Founded in 1888, the University of Rhode Island is the state’s land-grant university and largest academic institution, with total enrollment of approximately 18,000 students. The university offers bachelor, masters, and doctoral degrees in 80 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study through nine academic schools and colleges. These schools and colleges include Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Professional Studies, Engineering, Health Sciences, Environment and Life Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Oceanography, and Academic Success.

About the College

The College of Arts and Sciences encourages excellence in teaching through academic programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, Harrington School of Communication and Media, mathematics, and physical sciences; engages in internationally renowned programs of research, scholarship, and creative activities; and supports application of knowledge through outreach to serve the changing needs of the state, the country, and the world.

The College of Arts and Sciences, which includes the departments of Art, Music, and Theatre, delivers a liberal arts education for the 21st century and performs a central role in fulfilling the mission of the University in undergraduate and graduate education, research, and outreach. With 3,600 students and 350 faculty, offering 43 undergraduate and 15 graduate programs of study, the college prepares students to be well-informed global citizens with the knowledge and skills to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

About the Building

Opened in 1968, the Fine Arts Center is an example of the Brutalist style of architecture. The building houses the Fine Arts, Music, and Theatre departments. The building serves more than 5,000 students per year and welcomes over 50,000 attendees annually in attendance at concerts, plays, gallery exhibitions and openings.

In 2022, work will begin in earnest on its long-anticipated renovation. The design intentionally mingles the three academic departments together to increase collaboration in the new central wing, while simultaneously creating interior spaces to showcase the arts to the public and casual passers-by. Portions of the existing building will be demolished, a new 3-story wing adding 82,000 square feet of academic space will be constructed through the center axis, and the preserved areas of the original building will receive renovations and upgrades. The exterior will receive a new brick finish. A landscaping plan is in development, which includes a pedestrian walkway from the back parking lot towards campus, new signage, addition of bio-retention areas, and preservation of trees and plantings.

Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2022 to enable the new building construction that will begin in spring 2023. The project is scheduled to be complete by spring 2025.

Selection panelists attended a site visit in March 2022 and determined the following as among the potential sites for artwork:

·      Exterior lawn where “F” pod sits currently. This portion of the building will be demolished, and a level lawn area created.

·      In the corner of the property that faces the intersection of Upper College and Bills Roads.  

Feedback from the Fine Arts Center community:

In February and March of 2022, a series of community listening sessions were held to garner input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From these sessions, it emerged that an effective public art commission might:

●      Create a welcoming atmosphere for students, faculty, community, and guests.

       ○      Be colorful or vibrant

       ○      Be inviting in both daytime and nighttime

       ○      Consider the building from all sides

●      Reflect the University’s pride in the students and academic programs within.

●      Broadcast, highlight or showcase the exciting work that is happening at the FAC.

       ○      Complement, not compete with, the academic departments.

●      Bring the three academic departments of Visual Arts, Music, Theatre together.

●      Think of placemaking opportunities: 

       ○      Create a space where students can gather and engage together

       ○      Be a space-maker, not space-taker.

       ○      Offer opportunities to engage with light and       nature.

Estimated Timeline

September 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

Late September 2022:  panel meeting for selection of finalists; notification of applicants.

October: Finalist site visits

January 2023: Finalist presentations to selection panel

February 2023: Final approval by RISCA Council

Spring 2023: Contract signed; Fabrication of artwork

Tbd: Work installed and completed. The building is projected for completion Spring 2025.

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

Selected Finalists

Finalists will be invited to a site visit and to propose an artwork specifically for the Fine Arts Center. The finalists will craft a detailed proposal for an artwork including an itemized budget, scale models and renderings, timeline, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid an honorarium of $3,000. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both the site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for travel costs.

Site-specific proposals should convey the artist’s ideas and plans through digital materials, 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.  They will be supplied with plans, photographs, and specific information about the University and its campus.

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.

Selection Criteria

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

  1. Artistic Vibrancy and Relevance
  2. Responsiveness to the Request for Qualifications
  3. Permanence and Durability
  4. Value
  5. Collaborative spirit
  6. Capacity to Succeed

Submission Requirements:

Please note: This Request for Qualifications is the first step in the public art selection process.  YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC PROPOSAL AT THIS TIME. You will submit your qualifications (examples of previous work and resume); After review of qualifications, the selection committee will invite several finalists to create a site-specific proposal for the Fine Arts Center. A $3,000 honorarium will be paid to finalists for this work.

RISCA will conduct the URI Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ, (see below). There is no charge to the artist to apply.   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) 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).

Materials will be reviewed by the URI 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.

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 on TBD.

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

  1. A current resume 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” fields, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion, commission cost or price.  A brief description of the artwork may be included for clarification 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.

Artist Eligibility

This call is open to all professional artists.  Students are excluded. Applications may be submitted individually or in collaboration with others. The panel will not discriminate against any applicant based on 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.