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Artist Sought to Design Fence for Flat Rock Dam

Posted by City of Philadelphia ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artist Sought to Design Fence for Flat Rock Dam



The City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program, through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) announces a competition to commission an artist-designed fence adjacent to the Flat Rock Dam. This commission is part of the Flat Rock Dam renovation project by the Philadelphia Water Department and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Budget: $400,000
Eligibility: Professional artists and artist teams with all members over 18
Deadline: 03/17/2020

The Flat Rock Dam renovation project comes as part of an ongoing Manayunk Schuylkill Canal Improvement Project. Constructed between 1815 and 1828, the Manayunk Schuylkill Canal forms a continuous navigable waterway from the Fairmount area to Port Carbon, Pennsylvania. Historically, the Dam and its structures have connected a reservoir pool with the Canal. This key passageway was used for industrial transport in the 19th century and helped feed water to control the Canal’s water level.

The Canal’s locks were closed in the 1940s and remain inoperable today – preventing flow into the Canal due to silt and debris accumulation. As a result of the lack of inflow, the Canal waters are prone to foul odors, algal blooms, and fish kills, especially during the summer.

In the 1980s, development in the Manayunk area rekindled interest in the Canal. The primary objective of the Manayunk Canal Improvement Project is to ensure the safety and structural integrity of Flat Rock Dam and its structures. In addition, a historic sluice house ruins will be cleaned of graffiti and plant growth and preserved.

The Percent for Art Program, the Philadelphia Water Department, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation seek to commission a 475 foot-long artist-designed fence that is high quality, original, and site-specific. The fence will run along the park trail between both the new dam as well as a historic sluice house. This fence can be entirely fabricated by the artist or a pre-fabricated fence with artist elements added.


  • Issue RFQ/Call: February 11, 2020
  • Submission Deadline: 5 p.m. on March 17, 2020
  • Pre-Proposal Meeting*: May 2020
  • Proposals Due: July 2020
  • Panel Presentation*: July 2020
  • Artist Notification: July 2020
  • Artwork Fabrication: Summer 2020–Spring 2023
  • Artwork Installation: Fall 2022–Spring 2023

* Your 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

Stage 1 consists of this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), due March 17 at 5 p.m. Applicants will be reviewed by OACCE as well as representatives of the commissioning agencies based on the stated criteria. A maximum of six applicants will be notified that they have been selected to submit
full proposals. The selected finalists will be notified.

Stage 2 consists of a full proposal from the applicants selected from Stage 1. Selected artists will be required to submit a formal proposal consisting of narrative text, proposed budget, and images. An independent selection panel will review all applications. Stage 2 applicants will be required to give an in-person presentation. Stage 2 applicants will receive a $1,500 honorarium to cover research, administrative, and logistical costs.

This competition is open to artists and artist-teams. Stage 1 applicants will be evaluated by artistic merit, previous project experience, and potential fit with the surrounding site and community. As evidenced by the submitted images, the City defines artistic merit as conceptual and aesthetic
strength as well as mastery of techniques and materials.

Proposals for Stage 2 applications will be evaluated on the aforementioned criteria as well as the applicant’s ability to implement the proposal as well the long-term maintenance, durability, and public safety considerations.

Selected applicants are required to comply with applicable rules, contracts, and procedures of all governmental boards and agencies of the City of Philadelphia. The City strongly encourages minority participation on applications to this RFQ. The City reserves the right to determine additional eligibility requirements.


  1. Submit 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:
  • Artist Info: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website, Race (optional), how you heard about the call (optional)
  • 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)
  • Resume or Bio (Two-page maximum)
  • 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).
  • 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


Email materials to via a file-sharing program such as Dropbox ( or Hightail ( Applicants unable to use Dropbox or Hightail can send a CD to: Jacque Liu, Percent for Art Program Manager, 116
City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Incomplete or ineligible submissions will not be reviewed; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the completeness of their application.

QUESTIONS? Contact Jacque Liu,


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