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Artists Sought for Traffic Signal Box Artwork

Posted by Old Southside Neighborhood Association ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artists Sought for Traffic Signal Box Artwork




The Old Southside Neighborhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, requests applications from artists interested in creating artwork for five traffic signal control boxes on South Meridian St.

COMPENSATION:  $500 per box (includes art materials and clearcoat; primer and anti-graffiti coating provided)

ELIGIBILITY:  Professional artists living in the U.S.; preference given to artists living in Indiana’s Marion, Morgan, Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Johnson or Shelby Counties.

DEADLINE:  October 30, 2020, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

About the “Streetcorner Canvases” Traffic Signal Box Art Program

The purpose of the traffic signal box art program is to enable Indianapolis’ neighborhoods to express their identity, beautify their streets, and discourage “tagging” vandalism of the neighborhood’s traffic signal control boxes (TSBs).  Other purposes are to provide employment opportunities for artists and allow artists the opportunity for personal expression. The process is neighborhood-driven, with the Arts Council of Indianapolis assisting neighborhoods or other citizen groups to ensure aesthetic quality and work with the City to permit the use of the TSBs.  Neighborhoods are responsible for maintaining the completed boxes.  Art on TSBs can be hand-painted or digitally printed on vinyl wrap and professionally installed by the wrap vendor.

This project is for four hand-painted boxes.

About the Old Southside Neighborhood

The Old Southside is the oldest neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis.  We have a rich history and in the mid-1800s had the most numerous and varied nationalities in the city, including Sephardic Jews, German, African-American, Irish, and Appalachian residents.  Dr. Susan Hyatt of IUPUI and her students best tell our story through the “Neighborhood of Saturdays” project (see links under “Resources” below).

Artwork Goals and Site Information

The rich history of the Old Southside could be depicted in the traffic signal box artwork, as well as some more contemporary themes as developed by the artist with the neighborhood.

Five boxes will be enhanced with art:

  • S. Meridian St. and McCarty St.
  • S. Meridian St. and Morris St.
  • S. Meridian St. and Arizona St.
  • S. Meridian St. and Palmer St.
  • S. Meridian St. and  Bluff Rd.

All five boxes may be enhanced by one artist, or up to five different artists may be selected.


The Neighborhood of Saturdays: Memories of a Multi-Ethnic Community on Indianapolis’ Southside (a long-term project documenting neighborhood history, undertaken by the anthropology department at IUPUI in collaboration with community-based organizations)

Migration to Indianapolis’ Near Southside in the 19th Century (a 2017 essay by IUPUI’s Paul Mullins, published on the blog site “Invisible Indianapolis:  Race, Heritage, and Community Memory in the Circle City”)

Two video walking tours created in 2020 by IUPUI student Jacob Watson:

Old Southside Historic District website

Wikipedia entry on the Old Southside Neighborhood

Downtown Indy’s entry on the Old Southside Neighborhood

Project Timeline

This timeline represents the project as it now appears.  Changes may be necessary as the project progresses.

  • Release Request for Qualifications:  September 30, 2020
  • Artist Information Due:  October 30, 2020
  • Artists notified:  November 11, 2020
  • Artists’ designs due:  February 1, 2021
  • Artwork completion: Spring, 2021 (date TBD, weather dependent)

Selection Process

The neighborhood’s Art Committee will review artists’ qualifications and select the artists to commission to create TSB artwork.  Artists may be selected to complete more than one box.  Artists will then enter into a commissioning agreement with the neighborhood and will have from four to eight weeks to create a design using a scaled template of the box surfaces.   The Art Committee, along with representation from the Arts Council, will review and approve designs prior to fabrication.

Note:  while this is the intended selection process, in the event of an insufficient number of qualified applicants the neighborhood reserves the right to change the process to a Request for Proposals, to invite an artist to propose, or to directly select an artist or artwork; and also reserves the right to cancel the opportunity entirely at any point and for any reason.

Selection Criteria

Finalists will be selected based upon the following criteria:

  • Artistic quality:  artist’s submission displays a record of appropriate, yet innovative, concepts brought to a site or project, and documents creative and stylistically distinctive solutions to design and site issues
  • Aesthetic sensibility:  artist’s work displays an aesthetic that would be desirable for this project
  • Technical ability:  artist’s submission indicates skill with materials and techniques similar to those that would be required for this project
  • Experience:  artist’s submission has indicated familiarity with clients and conditions similar to those that would be used on this project, or has demonstrated the ability on past projects to quickly acquire the skills needed to be successful on a project similar to this one
  • Process:  artist’s submission indicate that the working relationship will be pleasant and the completed project will successfully meet the challenges particular to the site and overall initiative, including successfully completing all documentation and managing the given project budget


Artists will receive $500 for each box executed.  The selected artist(s) is expected to supply paint for the box’s artwork and a clearcoat, but the Art Committee will supply primer and anti-graffiti coating. The artist(s) is expected to provide incidental equipment such as brushes, airbrush, dropcloth, caution tape, personal safety protection, etc. The artist will also be required to provide a warranty for the artwork to include one year of repair related to “inherent vice.”

Application Process

Artists must provide the following information digitally:

  • Applicant Information: Complete the form below and submit in .doc, .docx or .pdf format.  You may reproduce the form using your own word processing software as you provide the answers to the questions.
  • Professional Resume, Narrative Bio, or CV: No longer than 3 typed pages.  Submit in .doc, .docx or .pdf format.
  • Samples of Previous Work: List and Images
    • Previous Work Sample Images  (maximum 10 images including alternate views or details of the same artwork)
      • Submitted images must be digital in JPEG format, minimum size 3” x 5” and minimum resolution of 150 dpi. Do not submit your images embedded in a document!
      • Submit images of artwork that best represent your experience, style, and ability as they apply to this project.
      • You may also submit images of any other work (large-scale or otherwise) that best represents your style and production over the past 5 years.
      • Name your submitted digital files according to the following format: FirstLast_01.jpg, FirstLast_02.jpg, etc.  (EXAMPLE:  JaneSmith_01.jpg, JaneSmith_02.jpg, etc.)
      • If some images are alternate views or details of the same artwork, number and submit them sequentially with the overall view first, followed by alternate views and then detail images.
    • Previous Work Sample List (typed and provided digitally in .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .pdf format)
      • The work sample list should provide as much information about each of the artworks as possible.  Include at minimum (in this order) the name/title of piece, client if applicable, location, medium, process, dimensions, year completed, budget and a description of the concept or site challenge along with how you solved it.
      • Organize the list numerically according to the names of the images, starting with the one you identified as 01.
      • Make sure your name and contact information appears at the top of the list.

All images should be professional quality. If you need a referral to a professional photographer who specializes in working with artists, please email Lindsey Lord at the Arts Council of Indianapolis:

Delivery of Applications

The digital applications must be received by 5:00pm (EDT) on October 30, 2020.

Delivery options:

QUESTIONS?  Contact Judith Essex, Old Southside Neighborhood Association, or 317-902-3006


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