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Call for Curator: Temporary Public Art Exhibition

Posted by Metro Arts ; Posted on 
Employment; Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Call for Curator: Temporary Public Art Exhibition


Metro Arts is seeking creative and innovative proposals from curators for a temporary public art exhibition to take place in the spring and early summer of 2018. Metro Arts is requesting proposals that detail a curatorial vision for the exhibition, the development of a theme and a selection process for artists.


Total project budget is $100,000. Curator fee will be up to $10,000 based on work plan submitted to Metro Arts. From the total project budget, the curator may select multiple artists with budgets of up to $10,000 each. Artwork sites will be selected based upon the curatorial theme and in collaboration with Metro Arts and other Metro agencies and partners. Documentation of the exhibition, installation of the artworks and any required site work, such as lighting or plinths, will be supported by Metro Arts outside of the $100,000 budget. All funds must be paid out to artists by June 30, 2018.


This project is open to experienced professional curators who reside in the United States. However, Nashville-based or Southeastern residents may be most appropriate for this opportunity as travel costs will need to be covered in the $10,000 curatorial fee. Curators must have at least a 3 to 5-year history of prior curatorial work and/or production of exhibitions.

Deadline for submission: October 4, 2017 prior to 4:30 p.m.

Project Background
Metro Arts’ 40th Anniversary:

In 2018, Metro Arts, the local arts and cultural agency for the city of Nashville, will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Metro Arts is responsible for arts and cultural policy for the city, supports arts organizations with operational support and funding for arts programming, administers the public art program and many other initiatives that support the creative life of our community. Metro Arts believes that all Nashvillians should be able to participate in a creative life and that the arts drive a more vibrant and equitable community.

When Metro Arts was created in 1978, the landscape of Nashville was very different. The arts council or local arts agency came into vogue in the early to mid-20th century with increased attention from across the country on community development via the arts. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement and the ending of the Vietnam War, Nashville’s Arts Commission (Metro Arts) formed. At the beginning, there was no public art program or any grant funding and there were far fewer arts organizations in existence. Fast forward to today; Metro Arts is supporting 59 arts organizations and nearly 3,000 Nashville-based artists each year! A recent economic impact study (Arts & Economic Prosperity 5) states the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $429.3 million in annual economic activity in Davidson County, supports 14,277 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $51.1 million in local and state government revenues!

Metro Public Art

Metro Art’s Public Art program, Metro Public Art, recently celebrated the installation of its 50th artwork in the public collection. In addition, a new vision for the program was announced in May 2017. The program aims to diversify with deeper work in the community through tools like temporary public art exhibitions, artist residencies, and artists on planning teams, as well as forming community-based studios. The values of the program center on equity, artists and the public realm – those shared spaces that are for everyone.  This exhibition should activate shared spaces and cultivate community conversations.


Early June of each year is one of the busiest times for tourism and events in Nashville. Thousands trek through Nashville to attend the Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Manchester, TN, and more than 88,000 attend the annual CMA Music Festival each day for nearly a week. In 2017, Nashville hosted the Stanley Cup Finals, which often brought more than 100,000 people to the downtown area. Residents as well as visitors should be considered when crafting the curatorial theme.

Project Timeline

Deadline to submit curator qualifications: October 4, 2017
Announcement of selected curator: October 31, 2017
Curator invites shortlist of artists to submit qualifications and artwork ideas based upon the curatorial theme: December 1, 2017
Artist proposals reviewed by Curator and presented to Public Art Committee: December 12, 2017
Announcement of Final Artist(s): December 31, 2017
Artists planning, design and fabrication: January-April 2018
Installation and activation: beginning May 2018
• All funds must be paid out to artists by June 30, 2018.

Project Goals

The successful curator will ensure the following project goals are met:

  • Stronger public art ecosystem: Public art stakeholders and the general public will have a broader understanding of Metro Public Art’s program vision; projects will support local artists, fabricators or businesses.
  • Vibrant, creative places: Artworks are commissioned for neighborhood sites, parks and recreation facilities, libraries and other community spaces with the goal of strengthening their role as welcoming and functional places for gathering.
  • Deeper Cultural and Civic Participation: Projects should inspire and activate deeper cultural and civic participation. Artworks should inspire civic conversations and a broader awareness of public life.
  • Vital Public Realm: Artworks should support the development of shared spaces that are open to everyone and are dedicated to the community’s vision, identity and purpose. Selected artists should include a diverse group of artists representing local, regional and/or national geographies. Metro Arts will assist curator in identifying Nashville-based artists for inclusion. A minimum of 25% of artists selected should be local to the Nashville region. The final works should be accessible and inviting for all age groups and demographics. Artworks will need to be safe and sturdy enough for the public realm. Artworks must be exhibited for a minimum of one month and can stay in place up to 12 months (if site sponsors support it and the sites remain available).

Curator will be responsible for managing artist selection, artist coordination, and in collaboration with Metro Arts, selecting artwork sites, as well as supporting promotion and communications regarding the exhibition. Curator will be supported by project staff at Metro Arts in project coordination and installation.

Curator Selection Process

Applicants will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Quality, creativity and innovativeness of the curatorial vision
  • Relevant experience of the curator and proposed artists
  • Relevance of proposed idea to the Nashville community
  • Clearly stated goals, approach and outcomes/impact
  • Evidence of strong artist relationships and project management skills

How to apply:

Selection of curator will be made by a selection panel and approved by the Public Art Committee and Metro Arts Commission. Selection and announcement of curator will be made by October 31, 2017.


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