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Artists Sought for Urban Art/Landscape Project in Chattanooga

Posted by River City Company ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artists Sought for Urban Art/Landscape Project in Chattanooga




River City Company is seeking multi-disciplinary artists + design teams’ qualifications. Up to three teams will be awarded stipends to develop site specific proposals (design concepts) for the re-design of the First Street steps and incline area from Market St. to Cherry Chattanooga, Tennessee. The implemented artwork / landscape will enhance the connection between the TN Aquarium and the Bluff View Art District, utilizing unique, innovative design concepts with a cohesive artistic vision. This opportunity is open to design teams internationally.

Proposal Honorarium: $5,000 (per finalist artist/team)
Design Development Fee: $30,000 (to selected artist/team)
Project Implementation Budget: $750,000

This is an international competition open to professional artists and design teams interested in developing integrated concepts for the First Street Steps and walkway. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged to apply and should include at least, but not limited to, one artist and one landscape architect. Other trades, such as multi-media, lighting, sound designers, architects and/or engineers are encouraged to collaborate as well.

Site History
Opening in 1991, the TN Aquarium Plaza is considered one of Chattanooga’s first major public artworks and artist/design team collaborations. In 2002 planning began for the 21st Century Waterfront. The visioning processes involved unprecedented public involvement with more than 1600 Chattanoogans providing input. The resulting vision became a series of closely coordinated projects that comprised a complete redevelopment of the waterfront.

The 21st Century Waterfront Plan included the creation of 39+ acres of new Public Park on both sides of the river, the salt water aquarium at the TN Aquarium, expansion of the Hunter Museum of American Art, realignment and narrowing of Riverfront Parkway, the Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge connecting the TN Aquarium to the Hunter Museum, the First Street stairs and funicular (no longer operating)* and over $1.2 million in public art projects.

Most recently, River City Company (with the support of the Lyndhurst Foundation) engaged a local landscape architect (WM Whitaker & Associates) and an internationally acclaimed urban design firm (Urban Design Associates) to study the pedestrian corridor between Bluff View and Ross’s Landing and create ‘The Ramble – Chattanooga Art Promenade.’ The Ramble will create a new destination as it connects already-treasured downtown destinations.

Artwork Goals
The First Street project is an opportunity to create a major work of art, at an urban scale, that incorporates artistic, architectural, and landscape components. The project will visibly and physically enhance the experience of the urban environment leading from Cherry St. down to the Market St. crossing that leads to Aquarium Plaza. While seeking to strengthen the sense of connection from the Bluff down to the Aquarium Plaza, the project is also intended to create a unique destination for public enjoyment rooted in the notion of artistic place-making at the city scale.

We are seeking innovative interpretations of the First Street Steps and Walkway. As currently envisioned, the basic concept is a new urban-scaled “stair” that takes advantage of the dramatic change in grade to frame views and create enjoyable spaces with terraced seating. ‘The Ramble’ Master Plan* concept for this space takes cues from a mountain stream, suggesting that pedestrians can meander through the space with opportunities to sit or stroll among landscape features or works of art. The concept builds upon the already popular outdoor art space between Walnut and Cherry Streets. There are various opportunities to integrate art and innovation into the infrastructure needed to create this space, including walls, the stairs themselves, and storm water conveyance systems, among others.

Selection Process
Up to three design teams may be selected from this RFQ phase and an honorarium of $5,000 each will be provided for proposal development, which will cover travel costs for one site visit and all costs associated with developing a complete and thorough site specific proposal. Finalists will have approximately three months to complete the proposal and will then be invited to present the conceptual proposal to the selection committee. The committee will recommend proceeding with one project.

Selection Criteria
Design Team qualifications will be reviewed by the selection committee. The committee will review applications on the basis of:

  • Artistic excellence and professional experience of the artist and design team
  • Expressed sensitivity to the site and context
  • Ability to complete the project
  • Demonstrated ability of the team to work collaboratively with professionals
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully execute a project of this scale under the criteria developed and within the budget set forth
  • Experience with and expressed desire to work collaboratively with a team to create an integrated artwork/ landscape for and in the public realm
  • Consideration of the ‘The Ramble’ Master Plan and demonstrated effort to connect the First Street Steps to the communities along ‘The Ramble’.


– October 7, 2016: RFQ Distributed
– November 25, 2016 – 12:00PM EST: Deadline for Submissions
– November 30 – December 9, 2016: Selection Committee review of submissions and selection of finalists for concept development.

– January 9 – January 13, 2017: Site Visits
– January – March, 2017: Proposal Development
– March, 24, 2017: Proposals Presented
– March 27, 2017: Selection Committee selects winning design team

– April 2017 – September 2017: Finalize Fundraising for Construction Phase
– September 2017: Enter contract with selected design team (fees to be negotiated)

– September 2017 – December 2017: Finalize Construction Documents

– January 2018 – July 2018: Construction + Installation

– July 2018: Project Completion
– September 2018: Grand Opening


How to Apply

Team’s qualifications must be submitted in hard copy (five copies) and in digital format on a flash drive. Material must be MAILED or HAND DELIVERED by noon on November 25, 2016.

Printed materials should be single-sided and must include the following:
1. Completed application form.
2. Current Résumé for all team members (two-page limit).
3. Letter of Interest briefly addressing how your team would approach the project. This document should be no longer than one page (single-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12 pt. font).
4. List of professional references (at least three): Please include name, address, phone number, and e-mail address for each individual.
5. Ten digital images of previous work saved to flash drive. The specifications for the digital images are as follows:
All flash drives must be labeled with the team’s name. Every image file must be titled first with the number of the image in the order to be viewed (use “0” in front of single- digit numbers), followed by the team name [for example: 01_Smith; 02_Smith]. The numbers must correspond to the annotated image list. Do not embed images into a PDF, PowerPoint presentation or other document. Acceptable digital images must be:
– Dimensions: Minimum 800 x 600; Maximum 1600 x 1200
– File Format: JPG (do not use Progressive JPGs, GIFs, or TIFFs) at 72 DPI
6. Annotated Image List (two-page limit): Please include the team’s name as a heading, and a brief description of each image including title, date, medium, dimensions, and budget or price.

Mail or deliver materials to:

ATTN: First Street Steps – Redesign
River City Company
850 Market Street, Second Floor
Chattanooga TN 37402

Applications must be received by mail or hand-delivered by November 25, 2016, 12:00 pm EST. No exceptions.