Call for Interested Artists: Bicentennial Legends Mural Series

Posted by Indy Arts Council ; Posted on 
Call for Interested Artists: Bicentennial Legends Mural Series





The Arts Council of Indianapolis is assembling a pool of artists interested in creating large-scale, painted portrait murals of “legends” important to the growth and culture of Indianapolis.  Two murals have been created. The final two murals will be painted during the summer of 2023.

COMMISSION FEE:  $20,000-$30,000+ per mural (covers artist labor, materials, and travel expenses; for some murals it may also cover equipment expenses)

ELIGIBILITY:  Professional mural artists over 18 and legally able to work onsite in the United States

DEADLINE:  December 31, 2022; apply by December 15 for best consideration.

Apply at  The Arts Council can assist you as you navigate the PublicArtist site.

About the Indiana Legends Mural Series

As part of Indianapolis’ Bicentennial celebration (observed between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021), the Arts Council of Indianapolis is beginning a long-term, deliberate effort to convene community conversations around the concept of “legends,” and to commission new, civic-scale portrait murals of legendary Indiana figures.

Although the program started during the Bicentennial, and the goal is to identify “legends” who embody the Bicentennial values of History, Civic Pride, Innovation, and Legacy, the Arts Council anticipates creating Legends murals past the dates of the Bicentennial celebration until the current funding is exhausted (currently, the end of 2023).

We are defining the concept broadly: legends do not have to be world-famous, but they must have had an impact on the people, places, and culture of Indiana and Indianapolis. We are particularly interested in identifying legends who are “unsung,” or whose importance may have been historically overlooked because of their race, gender, economic status, or social class.

The murals will convey a recognizable likeness of the individual(s) portrayed, and will also seek to highlight each mural artist’s interpretation of the individual’s legendary nature in their own style. As these murals are commissioned, the Arts Council will also partner with Indiana Humanities to commission Indiana-based writers (including authors, poets, and/or spoken word artists) to create reflections on the legend and legacy of each individual. Writers will be identified through a separate process.

Because of the Bicentennial celebration, the first several murals will be Indiana figures who had an attributable impact on Indianapolis specifically.

Learn more about the Legends mural series at the Arts Council website.

Description of Opportunity

The Arts Council is inviting artists interested in executing these civic-scale portrait murals to submit information about themselves and their work, to be held in a “pool” of artists for consideration for future commissions.

This is a non-juried pool. The community stakeholder committee convened for each portrait mural will review everyone whose work is in the pool at the time and will select artists to be compensated to create design proposals for specific murals.  Some murals may require a special jury process or, based on the partnerships involved, may require their artists to be identified in a different manner; however, we anticipate that nearly all mural projects will be commissioned from artists who have submitted their information to this pool. Artists may submit information to the pool at any time.  Providing your information does not guarantee consideration for a commission.  

Concurrent with this process, a limited number of emerging Indianapolis-based muralists may be identified as “apprentices,” who will be provided with the opportunity to work with the commissioned “lead” artist on their project at the Arts Council’s expense. Artists interested in being considered for apprenticeships should so indicate in the online application form. Apprentices will be compensated separately from the lead artist’s fee.

Artists who have provided their information will be contacted if a match is made between the artist’s skill and the particulars of each portrait mural. Artists are encouraged to keep their information updated, and will be contacted periodically to provide new images and updated experience information. Although artists may not be contacted, rest assured that the entire current roster is reviewed for each opportunity as it becomes available.

As artists are identified to provide design proposals, they will be informed as to the budget of the particular mural project they are invited to design for. Artist fees for Legends murals include compensation for artists’ engagements with the community, design work, installation, travel and lodging, and meals.  Depending on the site, the artist may also be compensated to rent the necessary equipment to execute the mural.


  • Provide your artist information anytime: the entire pool is reviewed for a match for every project by each project’s stakeholder panel
  • Design competitions continue through 2023 as mural projects are ready to recruit artists
  • Murals will be installed spring-fall in 2022 and 2023, dates TBD per site and project

Selection Process

  1. Applicants will be initially screened by Arts Council staff to ensure they have submitted a complete qualifications package, and if anything is missing, the Arts Council will contact them to provide additional information.
  2. A separate panel of stakeholders convened for each project will review all pool artists to identify three finalist muralists. Different mural projects will have different criteria for the artists they wish to select as finalists.
  3. Finalists will be compensated $750 each and given time to create design concepts. The project panel will review submitted design concepts and will identify the concept they wish to commission.
  4. The selected artist will enter into a commissioning agreement with the Arts Council for the mural execution.

At all times the selection process will adhere to the Arts Council’s established principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Read the Arts Council’s Equity Statement, and learn about our commitment to substantive change for Indy’s Black artists.

Selection Criteria

Although the artist pool itself is not juried, we anticipate that the following criteria will be used by stakeholder groups when identifying artists as finalists to create design proposals for specific murals:

  • Artistic quality
    • Does the artist have a signature style?
    • Can the artist produce a recognizable portrait of an individual?
    • Does the artist create designs that display innovation, excitement, and “wow”?
  • Technical expertise 
    • Does the artist have experience working at the very large scale that will be required?
    • Has the artist successfully used the equipment that will be necessary to create the mural for the particular site?
    • Has the artist used the materials and techniques that will result in the murals lasting approximately 15 years with minimal required maintenance?
  • Community engagement experience 
    • Does the artist have experience listening to community-based stakeholders?
    • Can the artist translate a community’s input into a final design?
  • Ease of process
    • Does the artist have a record of completing projects on time and within budget?

What to Submit

The following information will be required from each artist interested in being part of the muralist pool. Information will be provided digitally (see below under “How to Apply” for details).

Artist information:

  • Artist contact information: includes legal name, working name (if different), email address, phone number, land mail address, and website/social media information (for marketing purposes)
  • Are you applying as a commissioned artist or as an apprentice? (you may choose both) If you are identified as a commissioned artist, would you be willing to supervise an apprentice?
  • Resume, CV, or narrative biography, emphasizing experience with mural-scale portrait commissions executed in the last five years. You may attach a separate document or type the information directly into the application form.
  • Technical capacities: indicate on the application form by checking which materials you have used, what equipment you have had experience with, and any OSHA certifications you may hold.

Information about past projects:

  • Visual documentation:  up to 20 images or videos of no more than 15 mural-scale projects completed within the last 10 years. Because these will be portrait murals, please be sure to include examples of portrait murals in your selection. If you’ve never done a portrait mural, include examples of portraits you have done even though they may not be at mural scale.
    • You may include more than one image of each project.
    • Additionally, you may choose to provide the URLs of pages on your website, websites of others, or other online locations that document your past projects.
    • Please do not provide the URL(s) of your social media account(s) unless they are exclusively about your artwork without personal photographs. (example:  if “@johnqsmith” is your personal Instagram account, we are looking for your “@johnqsmithart” Instagram account) Make sure any social media accounts you provide are open to the public to view.
  • Information about each project. Please include the following information for each project:
    • Commissioning entity (please name the city, arts council, organization, private company, etc. who paid you to create the mural)
    • Portrait subject name; also, indicate if subject was alive or deceased at the time the portrait was painted
    • Dimensions
    • Year painted
    • Commission value
    • Brief narrative about the mural: consider including a discussion of any challenges (physical or community-based) you faced and solved during the commission, your inspiration, whether you worked from life or photos, etc.
    • Name and email address or phone number of a person who can comment on the project during a reference check

Demographic profile: All questions are optional; however, including them will help us more closely match artists, communities, and portrait subjects

How to Apply

Submit ONLINE ONLY via

QUESTIONS? Contact Julia Muney Moore, Director of Public Art, Arts Council of Indianapolis: or (317) 624-2556.


2 comments Add yours

  1. I would love this opportunity.., as portraits are my specialty…


    • Great–go ahead and provide your information to the site indicated in the link!


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