Call Detail

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS: Durham SmART Initiative - Parking Garage Art Wrap

Entry Deadline: 12/31/16
Application Closed


Images - Minimum: 10, Maximum: 10
Total Media - Minimum: 10, Maximum: 10

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Request for Qualifications from Artists or Artist-Led Teams

Project 1 - Parking Garage Art Wrap

Summary:  The Durham Arts Council, partnering with the North Carolina Arts Council, is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant that will launch the Durham SmART Vision Plan. This RFQ announces Project 1, focused on activating or transforming the visual experience between the American Tobacco and City Center Districts. The artist’s expertise and scope will involve the design and fabrication of monumental art banners that will wrap the exterior south and southeast façades of a large City parking garage (custom hardware funded separately as well as mesh fabric and the printing/installation of banners). Contemporary lighting enlivening the nighttime experience should be considered by artists and would be funded as a second phase.

Vision Plan Context:  Durham is part of the North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Initiative, which demonstrates how arts-driven economic development transforms communities. In 2015, Mikyoung Kim Design was selected to create an art and urban design plan as a framework for a reimagined Arts and Entertainment District for Downtown Durham, with the goals of enhancing cultural connectivity, economic vitality, and walkability along the north south corridor, while reflecting the unique characteristics and identity of Durham. To reinforce the visual linkage between the historic American Tobacco District and City Center, the plan creates a “Back Porch” multi-use area, opening the rear of Main Street businesses to the south to activate valuable spaces that in a decade will front a new light rail line.

Project 1 seeks to reimagine the City parking garage façade as Durham’s vibrancy grows, encouraging pedestrians toward other arts venues and establishments in the City Center, and intended to contribute to economic growth in the center and further north. “Using integrated art and increasing pedestrian amenities can create a safe and welcoming link to reinforce the corridor as a cohesive city element. The parking garage façade that faces the City Center at the American Tobacco Campus is poised as an art site that can create a strong visual link to the City Center Main Street Back Porch. This façade can broadcast the energy of the American Tobacco Campus and the City Center and connect the districts.” (Vision Plan, Mikyoung Kim Design)

Durham’s History:  A booming city in North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle, Durham began in 1864 as a small rail depot village at the intersection of present-day Corcoran and Ramseur Streets, adjacent to the location of Project 1. Tobacco drove the early economic development of Durham; the distinctive voice of the Piedmont Blues music grew to entertain workers; and the largest black-owned insurance company in the country opened its headquarters on Parrish Street in 1906.

Drawing on its rich and diverse history, Durham has reimagined and repurposed its earlier tobacco and textile warehouses and prominent landmarks to create a vibrant downtown. Since 2000, the city has experienced exponential growth with a total of $1.3 billion in investments. As part of the SmART Initiative, the Durham Arts Council convened numerous community stakeholders and completed the vision plan for the Blackwell-Corcoran-Foster Street Corridor as the focus of Downtown Durham’s arts-driven economic development. Today the Corridor is rising with trendsetting hotels, restaurants, and housing. For a full history of Durham, see pages 10-21 in the vision plan.

Submittals:  Local, regional, and national professional artists are invited to apply online using (CaFE system). Submission materials must include:
a) a statement of interest;
b) professional resume of the artist or artist-led team;
c) 10 visual images of related art and design projects named and numbered to match an annotated image list; and
d) three (3) current references with current contact information.  

Artist Selection Committee:  Representatives of the Durham SmART Resource Team, the Public Art Committee, City of Durham, and Durham Area Designers will participate on the committee. Members have expertise in the visual arts, public art, urban design, city planning, and economic development and are engaged in the cultural life and growth of Downtown Durham. They will review the RFQ applicants based upon the criteria provided and will invite three (3) finalists to visit Durham for interviews.

Selection Criteria:  Prior experience with similar project concepts and/or materials is recommended. Criteria for this project include:
a) artistic excellence and originality of existing work;
b) timeless concepts related to context and community;
c) relevance of artworks over time; and
d) imaginative art solutions that expand the creativity of place making.

Eligibility:  Applicants must be age 18 or older, and are eligible regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identification, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical ability.

Submission Due Date:  December 31, 2016 by 11:59 PM, Mountain Time Zone

Community Engagement:  Once a contract is signed, the selected artist or artist team will return to Durham for a site visit, prior to developing a final concept design. The artist will meet various project stakeholders and interact with the public in a workshop hosted by the Durham Area Designers.                                      

Project Timeline:  February 2017 – April 2018                        

Budget:  $40,000 – $50,000 – Contract for Design and Oversight of Fabrication

For Additional Information on this Project:  Contact Jean Greer – 704-877-7198 or