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Artist Sought for Delaware River Trail Public Art

Posted by City of Philadelphia ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artist Sought for Delaware River Trail Public Art



The City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program, through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), announces a two-stage selection process by which they will award and commission a site-specific artwork on the Delaware River Trail, Central Segment. This commission is part of the $20 million City construction project by the City of Philadelphia through the Delaware Riverfront Waterfront Corporation (DRWC).

BUDGET:  $200,000

ELIGIBILITY: Artists and artist-led teams residing in the United States

DEADLINE: December 12, 2019


The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation organized exclusively for the benefit of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens. DRWC acts as the steward of the Delaware River waterfront to provide a benefit to all of the citizens and visitors of the City. The fundamental purpose of DRWC is to design, develop and manage the central Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia between Oregon and Allegheny Avenues. DRWC intends to transform the central Delaware River waterfront into a vibrant destination for recreational, cultural, and commercial activities for the residents and visitors of Philadelphia. DRWC will serve as a catalyst for high quality investment in public parks, trails, maritime, residential, retail, hotel and other improvements that create a vibrant amenity, extending Philadelphia to the river’s edge. DRWC is open, transparent and accountable in connection with its operations and activities with respect to the waterfront. Through the judicious use of financing, land acquisition and development capabilities, the Corporation will work cooperatively with city, state and federal agencies to ensure the realization of the City’s vision for the central Delaware River.


The Delaware River Trail Central Segment project will build a new multi-use trail along Columbus Boulevard between Spring Garden Street and Washington Avenue. These plans are a major outgrowth of a community-driven master plan of the waterfront adopted in 2012. Called the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, it calls for a bi-directional bike path, a separate pedestrian walkway, and a planted zone for trees and landscaping to provide buffer from adjacent parking and vehicular driving lanes. The City of Philadelphia committed approximately $20 million towards the construction of this segment of the Delaware River Trail as part of its contribution to the Central Access Philadelphia (CAP) project, a $225-million effort to bridge I-95 at Penn’s Landing with an engaging civic space connecting seamlessly to the river. DRWC will oversee the trail’s design and construction and will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance. The trail will provide separate spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians for the vast majority of its length. These separate pathways were designed in accordance with guidelines published by the National Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). Creating an entirely separate pathway for pedestrians will minimize conflicts between users. Recent research has also shown that separated bike facilities are inherently safer and lead to safer roadway conditions for vehicles. Where there are mixing areas, different textured stone cobbles and thermoplastic paint as well as signage will tell bikers they are entering a space where they’ll encounter pedestrians or cars.


The Percent for Art Program and DRWC seek to commission a high quality, original, and site specific sculptural public artwork. The artwork will be located on the sidewalk on N Columbus Boulevard just south of Pier 3, a residential development housed in an old pier structure. Just east of the site is an inlet of the Delaware River. The artwork will be visible to pedestrian, bicycle, auto, and river traffic.


  • Issue Call: November 20, 2019
  • Submission Deadline: 5 p.m. on December 12, 2019
  • Artist Notification: January 2020
  • Required* Pre-Proposal Meeting: February 2020
  • Required* Panel Presentation: April 2020
  • Artwork Fabrication: April 2020 – Fall 2021
  • Artwork Installation: Fall 2021

* Finalist artists’ in-person attendance at the Pre-Proposal Meeting and Panel Presentation is required; if you are unable to attend, you must arrange for a proxy who is familiar with your work to attend in your place.


The selection process will take place in two stages.

STAGE 1 consists of this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), with Responses due by December 12, 2019 at 5 p.m. Local Philadelphia Time. Respondents’ submissions will be reviewed by OACCE as well as representatives of the commissioning agencies and community members based on the stated criteria. Up to five (5) Respondents will be pre-qualified to move to the Stage 2 Request for Proposal (RFP) process and be permitted to submit full proposals and applications. Notification of prequalification for Stage 2 will receive notification by email. Please do not call the Percent for Art Program, the Selection Panel, or any members of the project team directly for competition results.

STAGE 2 will consist of a full RFP requiring proposals and complete Applications. Only artists who have been pre-qualified in Stage 1 will be permitted to apply in Stage 2. Prequalified artists will be required to submit a formal proposal consisting of narrative text, proposed budget, and images. Stage 2 Applicants will receive a $1,500 honorarium to cover research, administrative, and logistical costs. An independent selection panel will review all applications. Stage 2 Applicants will be required to give an in-person presentation. While nothing in this RFQ binds the City to issuing an award in response to the Stage 2 RFP, any artist/artist team selected through the Stage 2 RFP will be required to enter a written contract agreement with the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy prior to commencing work. No selection shall be deemed final until a proposal has been fully approved and an agreement properly executed by the artist and the City.

If a finalist is not selected from the Stage 2 finalist group, the City reserves the right to re-open the call for artists. The City of Philadelphia reserves the right to change, modify, or revise the Call for Artists, in part or whole, at any time without prior notice. The City of Philadelphia reserves the right to make no selection for this call to artists.


Artwork will be selected based on creativity, artistic merit, technical proficiency, and relationship to the site. Long-term maintenance, durability, and public safety concerns will be major selection criteria.


  1. Eight (8) digital work samples of your artwork. Images should be labeled as last name, first name, and number; for example: Smith_Jane_01. Images should be saved as JPGs, GIFs, or PNGs at 72 dpi with 1200 pixels as the widest dimension
  2. Submit the following information as A SINGLE Word or PDF document:
    1. Artist Info: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website, Race (optional), how you heard about the call (optional)
    2. Statement of Interest: This brief cover letter may include related experience, artistic ambitions, and/or a description of your vision for the site; you may include proposed images, if applicable (One text page maximum, including images)
    3. Resume or Bio (Two-page maximum)
    4. Image Identification Sheet: These must correspond to the numbers of your submitted images. List your images as: Title. Year. Materials. Dimensions. Location (if applicable). Project Budget (if applicable).
    5. Title your document as last name_first name_Info; for example: Smith_Jane_Info

General application guidelines:

  • Submit what you believe is your strongest work, in the context of this commission opportunity
  • Submit your work samples in the order you would like them to be reviewed
  • For images with details: show the overall image first, followed by detail images
  • Do not send additional catalogs, reviews, promotional items, or original artworks; they will not be reviewed
  • Incomplete or ineligible submissions will not be reviewed; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the completeness of their application
  • The application deadline for submission is December 12, 2019 at 5 p.m.


QUESTIONS?  Contact Jacque Liu,


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