Call Detail

Literary Opportunity for the Maryland Purple Line Light-rail Project

Entry Deadline: 12/30/16
Application Closed


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Literary Opportunity for the Maryland Purple Line Light-rail Project

Issue Date: October 27, 2016    Deadline: December 1, 2016 - 8 p.m. EDT Deadline extended to December 30,2016
Qualifications only (Not proposals)

1.1. Overview of the Opportunity

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Project Management Consultant (PMC) is seeking literary artists to create a story to be integrated into the design and infrastructure of the future Purple Line transit corridor in suburban Washington, D.C. This is a call to all types of writers who wish to be considered for this opportunity to create a story that captures the essence of the corridor and text that will be incorporated into the stations along the line to be discovered by the ridership.  This call will be used to generate a pool of candidates who could be selected to compete for this commission in the future.

The Purple Line is a new, 16-mile-long light-rail line extending from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. Opportunities anticipated relate to stations (underground, surface and elevated) as well as infrastructure elements between the stations. Construction of the Purple Line is expected to begin by 2017 and end in 2022. The Purple Line will include an Art‑in‑Transit component that is expected to include a wide range of artist enhancements of the station infrastructure, of which this project is a part. For more information about the Purple Line light‑rail line, visit:

This Call to Literary Artists / Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is being issued by the Project Management Consultant (PMC), who is contracted to provide planning, engineering and design services for the Purple Line on behalf of the MTA. Final design, construction and operation services has been contracted to a public-private partnership, Purple Line Transit Partners, that will be the Management and Implementation entity for the Art‑in‑Transit Program and will use the literary artist pool developed by this process to issue solicitations for artists to compete for specific project opportunities.

1.2. Description of the Project
nnThe Purple Line will offer a reliable system of east–west transit in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., providing direct connections between major economic centers such as Bethesda, Silver Spring, the University of Maryland College Park and New Carrollton. It will also link the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange Lines, as well as MARC commuter rail, Amtrak and local bus services. Most of the route will involve a dedicated right of way, on surface, aerial bridge and tunnel, and some segments will share right-of-way with traffic. Twenty-one stations will be located along the light-rail line.

The Purple Line follows a circumferential route that intersects with numerous arterial roadways and rail lines that have anchored urban growth leading outward from the core of Washington. As a result, the Purple Line uniquely connects the first-ring suburbs that have developed along these transportation corridors over the last century, and the diverse communities and socio-economic groups that have settled along them. In this way, the Purple Line experience is one of a journey that offers a unique, cross-sectional view of the diversity of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.nn

1.3. Art-in-Transit Mission

The mission of the Purple Line Art-in-Transit Program is:

•To incorporate artwork that makes the light-rail system distinct in its design and artistic impact, encourages civic pride, and serves as a positive symbol for the communities it passes through and connects.

•To enrich the aesthetics of the light-rail system, not to serve as a replacement for good station design and urban design.

•To make connections to communities and support neighborhood identities.

•To be accomplished through a fair and equitable process.

1.4. Literary Artist Opportunities

Specific projects and budgets for the Art-in-Transit Program have not yet been announced.

However, it is anticipated that the Art-in-Transit Program will include the following opportunity:

• Story Creation

The journey along the Purple Line, and the connections that it makes, will be interpreted in a story that riders can experience as they ride along the line. The story will be a reflection of the communities the line passes through, as well as an exploration of the different kinds of journeys we take everyday and over the course of our lives:

The story will be a reflection of the culture and histories of the communities, and the whims of imagination that tie the stations and the communities together; informing one area about another on the path, and adding subtle, imaginative discoveries along the line.

The story will not be experienced all at once, or all in one trip, but over the course of many trips along many segments of the Purple Line. It will evolve in people’s awareness, just as people’s awareness of the new geographic connections the Purple Line provides will evolve as they become familiar with using the line.

The story will reward people’s attention and introspection, creating a “personal space” in the experience of travelling through a busy public environment.

It is envisioned that Purple Line design team will select which station(s) will incorporate the story and determine appropriate strategies for incorporating the text of the story into those stations.


2.1.  Overview of the Process

Literary artist selection for Purple Line Art‑in‑Transit opportunities will be a two-phase process: “Call to Literary Artists / Request for Qualifications (RFQ)” and “Procurement”.
Call to Literary Artists / RFQ Phase

This Call to Literary Artists / Request for Qualifications represents the first phase. Its purpose is to generate a list of qualified writers who may be invited at a later date to create a story for Purple Line stations. A Selection Panel will meet to review the submissions and generate the list of literary artists who may be invited to take part in the Procurement phase.

Procurement Phase

Subsequent to this phase, the Implementation Organization, PLTC will further define the specific project opportunity for literary artists available under the Purple Line Art‑in‑Transit Program, as well as the payment terms and timeline for that project. The Implementation  Organization will conduct a competitive selection process, using the literary artist pool generated in this phase to identify literary artists who may be invited to produce the narrative or story for the project. The final selection will be made through a competitive process based on interviews and/or proposals.

This is the only open call for literary artists that will be issued for the Maryland Purple Line.

2.3.  Artist Eligibility

This Literary Call to Artists / RFQ is open to all professional literary artists or literary artist teams. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have legal working status in the U.S. Local writers are encouraged to apply.

The definition of “literary artist” is meant to be broadly inclusive of artists whose work involves written material and is of recognized excellence in style and expression. For the purposes of this call, “literary artist” can include a writer whose work includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, scripts, lyrics, journalism and others whose work meets the criteria below. “Literary artist” can also include artists whose work combines performance and literature (for example, monologue, storytelling, spoken word) to the extent that their material is original and can be documented in writing.

Qualified literary artists will be considered regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, marital status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information or age.

2.4.  Special Considerations

Before responding to this Call to Literary Artists / RFQ, artists should carefully consider the following requirements that will be incorporated into the Procurement phase of the selection process. Literary artists who are invited by the Implementation Organization to take part in the Procurement phase will be bound by these requirements. Therefore, literary artists who can demonstrate an ability to meet these criteria in the Call to Artists / RFQ phase of the selection process can improve their likelihood of being included in the Procurement phase of the selection process.

1. Literary artists should be aware that the Purple Line uses the following criteria when creating work that is integrated into transit systems:

•Quality. Quality of the art or design.

•Effect. Impact on the public.

•Relationship. Connection to the site or the adjacent community, or both; art that relates, in form or substance, to the cultures, people, natural or built surroundings, or history of the area in which the project is located.

• Suitability. Appropriateness for the site.


The second phase of the literary artist selection, the Procurement phase, is expected to follow the process outlined below. Specific details for the Procurement phase are still being developed, but will be included in the literary artist solicitations.

3.1.  Procurement Process

This RFQ outlines the anticipated opportunity for literary artists on the Purple Line.

Once the qualifications process is completed, the Implementation Organization may issue competitive solicitations to those selected from the literary artist pool created as an outcome of the Call to Literary Artists / RFQ phase of this process.

The solicitations will describe submission requirements and evaluation criteria.

A Selection Panel will be assembled to identify finalists for the Literary Artists’ Opportunity. Finalists will be paid a stipend and be asked to develop approximately 600 to 1000 word story, poem, composition, literary work that will be installed at the stations along the Purple Line. PLTC will be paying for the Story via the payment of the stipend. No further contract is anticipated for the implementation phase.

Only artists who have responded to this Call to Literary Artists / RFQ will be eligible for consideration in the Procurement phase of the process.

3.2.  Stipends

When the solicitation invites literary artists to submit proposals, those artists will be paid a stipend of up to $3500 for producing the proposals. Travel to the Maryland area is encouraged to acquire community input as part of preparing a proposal. The stipends will be intended to cover literary artist costs associated with writing approximately 600 to 1000 word story/ composition/ poem/literary work to be installed at stations along the Purple Line and travel.


4.1.  General

Qualifications must be submitted through the CaFÉ call for entry website: and search for Literary Opportunity for the Maryland Purple Line Light-Rail Project

The MTA will reserve the right to reject any or all submission(s), if, in its sole discretion, the submission is in whole or in part incomplete or unresponsive, or because the submission fails to meet the requirements for eligibility set forth in this Call to Literary Artists, or is otherwise determined not to be in the best interest of the MTA.

This is a Request for Qualifications only. Literary artists should not send proposals.

This is the only literary artist open call that will be issued for the Maryland Purple Line.

4.2. Question and Answer Period

Questions must be submitted via e-mail to: No telephone calls, please.

Questions must be submitted no later than November 15, 2016, at 8:00PM in the Eastern Time Zone. Time permitting; answers to all substantive questions will be answered so that interested parties will have sufficient time for the answer to be taken into consideration in preparation of the RFQ. The Point of Contact shall, in her own discretion, determine whether an answer can be given to submitted questions.

Answers will be posted periodically at the CaFÉ website .
4.3. Point of Contact

Artists shall correspond with the PMC  regarding the Call to Literary Artists only through the Point of Contact. E-mail inquiries only, please.

Jo Schneider, Art‑in‑Transit Manager
Maryland Purple Line     

4.4  Submission Deadline

Qualifications must be submitted to the CaFÉ website by December 1, 2016   at  8:00PM in the Eastern Time Zone. All elements of a submission must be received by the deadline date and time for the commission to be considered complete.
4.5 Submittal Content

Submissions must include the following:

•Application Form:

Literary artists must fill out the application form on CaFÉ.

•Statement of Interest:

Briefly describe your interests in and qualifications for the project. In your statement, address the criteria outlined in Section 5 – RFQ Evaluation Process and Criteria.

• Experience in Public Art, Transit-Based Projects, and Community Engagement:

Please provide any additional information about your experience working in public art, especially transit-based projects, and in community engagement.

• Work Examples:

Up to three (3) examples of original, completed past literary work that is relevant to this public art application. Each example should be 1000 words or less. Excerpts are acceptable. Examples can be fiction, non-fiction, script, poetry, verse, journalism, or editorial post.

Acceptable file formats include Word, PDF and plain text, 2MB maximum file size.

• Resume:

Current resume and/or literary artist’s biographical statement that outlines your education and experience as a literary artist, highlighting any experience with public art.

• References:

Submit name, title, and contact information (e-mail and phone) for three (3) professional references that have detailed knowledge of your work and working methods.

• Reviews:

Submit up to three (3) reviews of your work.

4.6. Special Instructions for Literary Artist Teams

If literary artists are applying as a team, the team should be declared in the Artist Statement, specifying a team leader who will receive notifications, and provide that team leader’s contact information. If applying as a collaborative literary artist group, name each member of the group and provide resumes and work samples for all members of the group.


5.1. RFQ Evaluation Process

A Selection Panel, comprised of professionals, MTA and its consultants, MTA’s GEC  and PMC , Purple Line Transit Partners, and representatives of state and local arts agencies, will review the submissions and select the literary artists who will be included in the pools to be considered for future commission opportunities.

5.2. General RFQ Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate artists, in the following order of importance, as applicable.

•Excellence in style and expression.

•Originality and innovation in approaching themes of general or enduring interest.

•Ability to collaborate with the community, architects, public agencies and other stakeholders.

•Publication and review of work.

•Familiarity with this geographic region.

•Education and recognition, such as grants and awards.

5.3. Notification

Applicants will be notified about the status of their application by December 16, 2016.