Artists Sought for Red Line Rapid Transit Creative Placemaking Project

Posted by Arts Council of Indianapolis ; Posted on 
Film; Literary; Performing; Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  




The Arts Council of Indianapolis, in partnership with Transit Drives Indy, is requesting qualifications from artists or artist teams who are interested in aesthetically engaging community members and each other on temporary projects for IndyGo’s new Red Line Rapid Transit.  Five artists will each receive a commission fee of $5,000 plus a materials/supplies allowance of up to $5,000. Projects will take place between May and December 2018.

Deadline for Submissions:  Monday, November 27, 2017  5:00 p.m. (this is NOT a postmark deadline!)

Optional informational Workshop

Tuesday, October 31, 2017  6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St., Indianapolis, 46220.  A light dinner will be provided.  RSVP to Lindsey Lord, or (317) 631-3301 x214.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify, artists must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a resident of the metro Indianapolis area
  • Work professionally in a visual, performing (theater, dance, music, storytelling, etc.), literary, media (sound/film/video), or social/civic-practice discipline
  • Have previously engaged in community-based art projects, arts in public places, asset-based community development, or socially-engaged art
  • Be willing to meet all contractual obligations and adhere to a strict timeline

Artists living, working, or with professional experience in any of the communities along the planned Red Line corridor are particularly welcome to apply.

Project Context

Indianapolis, Indiana is a new member of Transportation for America’s (T4A) Cultural Corridor Consortium.  T4A believes that incorporating participatory artistic and cultural practice into the planning of transportation projects results in transit that better serves communities (particularly those containing low-income, culturally-specific, immigrant, or otherwise traditionally disinvested residents) and reflects hyper-local culture and values.  IndyGo, Indianapolis’ public transit agency, agrees and is taking steps to creatively collaborate with artists on upcoming transit projects.

The community-based transit advocacy group Transit Drives Indy and the Arts Council of Indianapolis have partnered on a long-term initiative, 3CIndy, to assist IndyGo in infusing arts and culture into the execution of the Marion County Transit Plan. Funding for this initiative is provided courtesy of T4A and other community stakeholders.

The Red Line is one component of the larger Marion County Transit Plan, which proposes significant transit improvements system-wide.  This frequent, fast, and reliable bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor is a core operational component of an efficient and connected grid of routes.  The Transit Plan, which when fully implemented will be a total 70% increase in transit service, also includes significant upgrades to Indy’s local transit service and rapid lines. Current and future riders will see improvements to some local routes starting mid-2018.

The 13.5-mile Red Line (Phase 1) will connect Indianapolis’ northside to the University of Indianapolis through downtown Indianapolis.  The corridor includes stretches along College Avenue, Meridian Street, Capitol Street, Virginia Avenue, and Shelby Street.   Battery-powered electric buses will arrive every 10-12 minutes along the Red Line’s 28 stations, with level boarding, bus-only lanes in some sections of the corridor, and 60-foot long vehicles that can accommodate bicycles inside the bus.  Future phases of the Red Line may extend service north to Westfield and south to Greenwood.

The Red Line corridor encompasses the densest and most diverse of Indianapolis’ neighborhoods, from historic residential districts to arts districts to a university campus, and from urban to suburban contexts.  There are well-resourced neighborhoods along the corridor, as well as high-poverty ones with a history of structural inequality and disinvestment.  Within ½ mile of the Red Line route, 14% of all housing is considered “affordable,” 20% of all residents are below the poverty level, and 20% have one or more persons with a disability.

Neighborhoods adjacent to the Red Line corridor include Broad Ripple, Meridian-Kessler, Butler-Tarkington, Meridian-Fall Creek, North Meridian, Highland Vicinity, Herron-Morton, Historic Meridian Park, Watson Park, Wholesale District, Market East, Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, Garfield Park, Carson Heights, and University Heights.  Stakeholders include The Children’s Museum, Ivy Tech Community College, the University of Indianapolis, Butler University, IU Health, and IUPUI.

Placemaking Activity

Creative placemaking is a discipline that brings people, culture, and place together to enhance and support communities.  Through this project, the participating artists will use arts-based strategies to embrace and include neighbors and businesses in imagining and creating the social interaction that will be possible after the implementation of the Red Line.  In addition, the artists will consider how to creatively mitigate the potential negative impacts of Red Line construction on communities and businesses:  these could range from educating on new traffic patterns to inspiring continued customer traffic to highlighting community assets that are newly accessible.

The artist’s activity during the residency could include one or more of the following:

  • Use artistic interventions to increase community understanding of the Red Line’s goals and activities;
  • Facilitate re-imagination of community space that could be realized through Red Line implementation;
  • Create artistic works or events with the community that highlight the community and its culture;
  • Drive activity at local businesses during Red Line construction;
  • Source input from the community in an aesthetic way to inform desired neighborhood benefits from transit connectivity; or
  • Another activity of the artist’s choice or innovation that ensures community engagement is incorporated into the Red Line implementation

The above are merely suggestions for artists’ approaches, not prescriptions.  It is not expected that the artists will come into the project knowing the exact approach they will take:  increased familiarity with the Red Line and the communities along it will likely drive the nature of the placemaking activities.

The development and execution of creative “products” through this engagement is expected. They can be performances, events, installations, discussions, meals, videos, signage, classes, etc.  The intent is to select a cohort of artists who can work both individually and collectively on projects, who can support each other in their work, and who can employ each others’ complementary skills to engage the community.

Compensation and Project Budget

The selected artists will each receive a fee of $5,000 for their participation and engagement. A total budget of $25,000 is available to cover materials and supplies:  this can be allocated by artist ($5,000 each) or by project (amounts will vary).  A group or team of artists submitting together on one application is considered a single applicant and, if selected, will receive one fee.


Selection Process

Artists may indicate their interest in the project by submitting their professional information and project history according to the requirements listed in this Request for Qualifications.  No designs or engagement plans are required as part of the artist’s application materials!

Submitted information will be reviewed by a selection panel, consisting of representatives from selected Red Line stakeholders, from the Transit Drives Indy coalition, from IndyGo, and from the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Public Art Selection Committee.   These are all prominent experts in their respective fields and include artists, arts advocates, curators, administrators, and other arts and community development specialists.

Selection Criteria

Five artists will be identified, 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 challenges similar to those to be encountered in this project

Aesthetic sensibility:  artist’s work and working method displays an approach and aesthetic that would be desirable for this project

Technical ability:  artist’s submission indicates skill with theories, practices, and techniques similar to those that would be required for this project

Experience:  artist’s submission indicates a strong social justice orientation and a history of successfully working collaboratively on projects that unite people from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds

Process:  artist’s submission indicate that the working relationship will be pleasant and the completed project will successfully meet the challenges particular to the overall initiative, including financial management and documentation of project activities

Project Timeline

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

  • October 11, 2017 – Release Request for Qualifications
  • October 31, 2017 – Optional information workshop:  Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St, Indianapolis, IN  46220,  6:00-8:00 p.m.  A light dinner will be provided.  RSVP to Lindsey Lord, or (317) 631-3301 x214.
  • November 27, 2017 – Artist qualification packages due to the Arts Council of Indianapolis
  • Week of December 4, 2017 – Artist submissions reviewed (artists may be requested to come in for a personal interview)
  • By December 31, 2017 – Selected artists notified and contracted
  • Early 2018 – Red Line construction starts
  • January – February, 2018 – Kick-off, orientation to Red Line and communities, neighborhood walks, stakeholder conversations, exploration of working context
  • March – April, 2018 – Community engagement, project development, project planning
  • May/June – December, 2018 – Project implementation (some projects may continue into 2019)
  • Late 2019 – Red Line opens

Submission Process

Artists must submit the following information digitally:

Applicant Information: Complete the form below and submit in .doc, .docx or .pdf format.  An editable copy is available on request (, or use copy/paste to reproduce the form.

Professional Resume or CV: No longer than 3 typed pages.  Submit in .doc, .docx or .pdf format.  If more than one artist will be involved in the residency, provide resumes for each proposed artist.    If the applicant is an arts organization or formal group of affiliated artists, provide a brief (less than one page) summary of the organization/group’s history and programs plus the resume(s) of the creative individual(s) who will perform the activities.  These individuals must be identified at the time of application and must remain engaged with the project through completion. Please do not direct us to a website to obtain resume information.

Samples of Previous Work: List and Images

  • Work Samples  (maximum 10 files including alternate views or details of the same artwork)
    • Submitted samples must represent the work of the individual artist(s) who will perform the residency activities.
    • Submit documentation of projects that best represent the artist’s experience, style, and ability as they apply to this initiative. Examples of artwork and projects from the past five years are preferred.
    • Artists may also submit documentation of any other work that best represents their style and production over the past 5 years.
    • Submitted images must be digital files in JPEG format, minimum size 3” x 5” and minimum resolution of 150 dpi. Do not submit your images embedded in a document!  Please try to limit image file sizes to 2MB or less.
    • You may submit digital audio or video files, links to online audio/video files at third-party sites such as Soundcloud, YouTube, or Vimeo, or links to embedded audio or video on your own website. Audio clips and videos should be 3 minutes or less. Links to online videos should be live (see below under “Previous Project List” for details on how to submit links).
    • 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 or project, number and submit them sequentially with the overall view first, followed by alternate views and then detail images.
  • Previous Project List (typed and provided digitally in .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .pdf format)
    • Make sure your name and contact information appears at the top of the list.
    • The project list should provide as much information about each of the submitted work samples as possible.  Include at minimum (in this order) the name/title of piece/project, client if applicable, location, medium, process, dimensions, year completed, budget and final cost, and a description of the concept, situation, purpose, or site/community context (as applicable) along with how you successfully addressed it using artistic strategies. There is no space limit for this information. Please do not direct us to a website or online project description.
    • Organize the list numerically according to the names of the files, starting with the one you identified as 01.
    • Links to online audio and video files should be included in the project description and be “live” (i.e., clickable).  If you are not sure how to create a live link, contact Julia Moore at  Links should lead directly to the audio/video sample rather than to a page containing multiple samples or clips:  it should be obvious which project is being referred to.

All images, sound clips, and videos should be of excellent quality. If you need a referral to a professional photographer who specializes in working with artists, please email   Project documentation that is not complete or of good quality will not represent you well as an artist!

Delivery of Submissions

All submissions must be received at the Arts Council before 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, November 27, 2017.

Submissions may be delivered electronically via file transfer link (Dropbox, Box, Hightail, WeTransfer, or similar), or burned to a CD and either mailed or hand-delivered. Due to an inability to accept large attachments, we will not accept emailed submissions.  We will not accept directions to a website in lieu of a formal application as outlined above. Submissions time-stamped after 5:00 p.m. on November 27 will not be reviewed.

CDs may be delivered or mailed to:

Arts Council of Indianapolis
Attn: Red Line Placemaking
924 N. Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1021

File transfer links must be sent to Julia Moore,

QUESTIONS?  Contact Julia Moore, Director of Public Art, Arts Council of Indianapolis: or (317) 531-3301 x240

For more information about the Arts Council of Indianapolis, visit

For more information about Transit Drives Indy, visit


Red Line Artist-in-Residence

Applicant Artist Information Form

Please limit the information provided on this form to one typed page.


Artist Name:

Mailing Address:             City/State/ZIP:

Day or Mobile Phone:            Evening or Home Phone:

Email Address:            Website (if applicable):          Twitter handle (if applicable):

Facebook or Instagram page (if applicable):


Do you have a personal or professional connection to, or prior experience with, Transit Drives Indy, the Marion County Transit Plan, IndyGo, or any locations, spaces, stakeholders, or neighborhoods along the planned Red Line corridor? If so, please explain.


How do you see this project fitting in with your past work, artistic interests, and experience?


Based on the limited information provided in this RFQ, how would you approach this project? (note:  do not submit any artwork designs or engagement plans at this time!)


Demographic information

(all questions are optional; if the applicant is a group or organization, please mark as many as apply to the artists who will be participating in the project)


How do you describe your preferred gender identification?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Gender Variant/Non-conforming
  • Other not mentioned above


Which of the following categories describe(s) you? (check as many as may apply)

  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Black or African American
  • Native American or American Indian
  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander
  • White or Caucasian
  • Other


What is your age?

  • 18-29 years old
  • 30-49 years old
  • 50-64 years old
  • 65 years and over


Do you identify as a person with a physical or mental disability?

  • Yes
  • No


Are you a veteran of any branch of the U.S. military?

  • Yes
  • No



The Arts Council of Indianapolis is committed to working with the arts and cultural community to cultivate a sector that serves, celebrates, and values every resident of Indianapolis. We envision a city where engagement in the arts is not pre-determined by socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. We see a robust and successful arts and cultural community as:

A city where all artists, creative workers, audiences, and students have full access to the robust creative arts resources of our community and in which their varied histories, voices, and life experiences are honored.
A city where equitable access to arts funding and programs for all arts organizations and artists is expected and delivered.
A city where such funding and programs unite arts organizations and artists with diverse populations in our community to nurture a community where every resident sees themselves as belonging, learning, and participating in the arts sector.
We believe these closely held tenets will sustain a full creative life for all.


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