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Gateway Artwork Sought for Spartanburg's Northside

Posted by Northside Development Group ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Gateway Artwork Sought for Spartanburg's Northside



A public work of art is sought to be a welcoming focal point at a major intersection-hub of the “new Northside” community in Spartanburg, SC.

Budget: $455,000

Eligibility: Professional artists over 18 working in the U.S.

Deadline: August 10, 2020 (5:00 PM Central Time Zone)

Project Summary and Goals
This project is a partnership between the Northside Development Group and Northside Gateway Art Committee to commission an iconic outdoor artwork for the new gateway plaza of the 500 Northside Station building located at 400 Howard Street at the corner of Howard Street and College Street in Spartanburg, SC.

The committee desires the artwork to fulfill the following goals:

  • To activate and enhance the cultural connectivity, economic vitality and inspire healthy lifestyles via walkability in the Northside through artwork and creative place-making.
  • To engage the history, natural beauty and cultural identity of the community.
  • To create a compelling visual experience for the public, while considering the surrounding architecture and landscape of the site.
  • To provide an opportunity for community engagement and ownership of the neighborhood revival with the residents of the Northside and the larger
    Spartanburg community – both young and old.

Project Background
A public work of art is to be a welcoming focal point at a major intersection-hub of the “new Northside” community. The location sits within the residential Northside area and serves as a connection between the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and Wofford College. The artwork, to be designed and installed for public enjoyment and engagement, will be a visual extension of a community’s endeavors to become a “safe, vibrant, healthy community.”

Community Profile
While Spartanburg’s Northside has evolved in significant ways over the last 150 years, its hallmark features are that of a former mill village. The Northside was once home to the sprawling Spartan Mills, and everything from its housing stock to its economic fortunes can be tied directly to the rise and eventual fall of the mill. As the Spartan Mill village grew, new textile workers moved to the Northside’s streets and area residents addressed educational necessities as well as communal health crisis—in no small part because of the entrenched economic, political, and medical power structure not just in
Spartanburg but throughout the South that were slow to admit that life in the modern-day mill village was not necessarily the smooth pathway to rising prosperity that mill workers had been promised.

In the post-war years, the Northside was a rare diverse urban Southern neighborhood, with whites and blacks sometimes living on the same streets throughout the neighborhood, though often on alternating blocks. But while many success stories emerged, the largest industry in the county—textile manufacturing—remained largely closed to African American citizens. A South Carolina law, passed in 1915, forbade African Americans from working in the same room with whites, with only a few exceptions. Custom limited African Americans to working in the mill’s boiler room in custodial jobs, and in areas outside of the mill. The echoes of these and other decades-long discriminatory practices can still be heard today.

The sudden closing of Spartan Mills in 2001 left a large empty spot on the Northside. The mill’s smokestack remains, along with the nearby railroad tracks,
reminding the community of its industrial past. So too do the dozens of abandoned and derelict homes left behind by the hollowing out of the community following school integration and the downfall of the domestic textile industry and ultimate closing of the local mill. Throughout the final three decades of the 20th Century, a mix of local government initiatives were undertaken in the Northside. While the complete story of the Northside’s revitalization likely will take a decade to write, it already is noteworthy for the remarkable convening of residents, institutions, organizations, and non-profits that perhaps for the first time in the city’s history have joined together for a singular purpose – the comprehensive transformation of a neighborhood long beset by poverty and its associated challenges.

After years of planning, a spate of community-development projects is coming to life in Spartanburg’s Northside neighborhood. Positioned along a half-mile stretch of Howard Street, the projects carry a combined price tag of $70 million and aim to ensure that residents of the historically underserved area have greater access to cradle-to-career education, affordable housing, health care, and recreation.

Challenged over the years by limited resources and blight, Northside’s poverty rate hovers around 50 percent. Nearly 90 percent of its 1,800 residents are black. A 400-acre master plan, adopted in 2014, was developed for and with the community’s residents. “We want people to move to the Northside,” said Tony Thomas, a barber and president of the Northside Voyagers, a group of residents who serve as a sounding board for all proposals affecting the neighborhood. “And we want a community that supports that, with the schools, the recreation, the job opportunities, job training, homeownership

For additional Northside information please visit the Neighborhood’s Transformation Plan:

About Spartanburg, South Carolina
A city that prides itself on being historically Southern and culturally modern, Spartanburg, South Carolina, is in the northwestern corner of the state at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Strategically situated at the intersection of Interstates 85 and 26, the city—one of thirteen county municipalities with a combined population of over 300,000—is known as the “crossroads of the New South.” Drawing on its history as the state’s textile manufacturing capital, Spartanburg continues to be a hub for economic development and innovation.

Spartanburg counts six diverse institutions of higher education among its residents, giving it the highest per capita college student population of any major city in South Carolina. A nationally acclaimed county-wide initiative, Spartanburg Academic Movement, unites education, business, government, foundation, community, and faith leaders in an effort to advance educational achievement from cradle to career.

Spartanburg’s collective commitment to the arts is borne out in the wide array of offerings sponsored by organizations such as the Chapman Cultural Center, Hub City Writers Project, and others. A place dedicated to active living, Spartanburg is one of five cities from around the country selected to participate in the Way to Wellville, a ten-year national challenge to develop new and innovative solutions that amplify and accelerate community health. An array of public parks and preserved greenspaces extend that focus to the outdoors.

About Northside Development Group
NDG serves to encourage and manage the redevelopment of the City of Spartanburg’s Northside community, honoring its past and expanding the opportunities for a mix of affordable and market rate housing, economic, educational, recreational, health, and social opportunities for its residents.

NDG Philosophy is that everyone who wants to live in the Northside Community should be able to live in the Northside Community. The solutions and improvements NDG brings to the table will always keep this philosophy in mind. It’s the reason we’re seeking ways to bring mixed-income housing and find ways of minimizing relocation efforts.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, our operations are funded and supported through partners, donors and volunteers. For more information visit


  • Issue RFQ/invitations: July 6, 2020
  • Deadline for submissions: August 21, 2020
  • Selection panel for three Finalists: September 2020
  • Artists Interviews/Presentation/Voting: October 2020
  • Artist Selected for Collaboration: October 2020
  • Begin Design/Community Engagement: November 2020
  • Fabrication and Installation Complete: Spring of 2022

Selection Process
The selection process will proceed via a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and include interviews and presentations by a select number of artists.
Artists are invited to submit images and a resume via CODAworx to be included in the pool of artists for initial review by the consultant and the Northside Gateway Art Committee and together they will narrow the group to a maximum of three finalists. Each selected finalist will be sent a packet about Spartanburg SC, the Northside Neighborhood, the building site and other pertinent local information. Via Zoom, the artists will prepare and present a presentation to the Northside Gateway Art Committee to convey their thoughts on how they would approach this project, their philosophy of public art and a review of past projects. The Committee will vote on the final artist. The finalists will be paid an honorarium ($500) for their time and presentation.

Selection Criteria
The artists will be selected based on the following criteria, as evidenced in application materials and conversations with listed references:

  • Artistic accomplishment as demonstrated by images of previously completed artwork.
  • Technical competence and comparable scale of past works.
  • Experience with planning and collaboration with multiple stakeholders, working on design teams, and with projects in urban settings.
  • Demonstrated ability to create artwork that reflects the distinctive characteristics of place.
  • Demonstrated ability to complete projects on time and within budget.
  • Experience collaborating with community members/space users on conceptual design efforts

Community Engagement
The selected artist will come to Spartanburg and the Northside neighborhood no less than two to three times for site visits, meetings with the architects, engineers, and consultant as well as various project stakeholders through a series of community engagement events before presenting the Northside Gateway Art Committee with the Conceptual Design. Actual visits will take place when travel is deemed safe from the pandemic. The Art Selection Committee Chairperson will assist in any reasonable remote needs in the interim.

What to Submit

  • Résumé/CV: Submit a brief, current résumé or CV including:
    • Contact information
    • Your website
    • Previous relevant art commissions
    • Design team experience
    • Exhibitions, awards, grants
    • Education
    • References. Please include at least three (3) art and/or design professionals who have detailed knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods, including fulfilling deadlines, working with the community, etc. Include contact name, organization, address, telephone, and email for each reference.
  • Letter of Interest, including the following:
    • Name, address, telephone, email, and website for all artist/design team members. Include résumés for all team members.
    • Your interest in this project and your experience working on comparable projects. Include your experience with architectural and engineering project teams. b. Include your philosophy on public art, its integration into surrounding environment, and how your work and experience will complement this project. Please describe your eligibility with the multiple criteria for this project from the Selection Criteria section of this RFQ.
    • Include any publications, third-party web postings/blogs, and art curator’s reviews of your work, along with recommendations from other owners or commissioners of your art.
  • Artwork Images: In the “Images of Your Work” section of your application on CODAworx, please upload five (5) different completed artworks or past commissions. For each completed artwork, you will be prompted to upload a single, main image. The application screen will also prompt you to specify the title of the artwork, location, budget (USD), year completed, medium, and dimensions. You have the option to provide more images and information for your completed artwork by publishing a CODAworx “project.” With a CODAworx “project” you can include six (6) additional images and more information about your project or artwork. Images must be JPEG or PNG file format with a minimum of 620px width and maximum
    file size of 5MB. Slides, prints or any physical submissions of artwork will not be accepted.

How to Submit
Applications accepted through the CODAworx RFP Portal:

  1. Sign up for a free account to submit your application.
  2. You may return to your application before it is submitted by clicking the portal link above or by clicking your name in the top right and selecting “RFP Dashboard”.

This RFQ is administered and managed using the CODAworx RFP Toolkit, an innovative platform that streamlines the commissioned art process. Questions about applying on CODAworx may be addressed to or by calling the office at (608) 467-3040.

QUESTIONS? Contact Cheryl Stewart, Public Art Consultant at


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