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National Western Center Main Campus Plaza Public Art Project

Posted by City of Denver ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
National Western Center Main Campus Plaza Public Art Project


National Western Center Main Campus Plaza Public Art Project – Denver, CO

Please Apply Here:

Budget: $750,000
Deadline: 07/15/2019 11:00 PM Central Time

Call Summary
The City of Denver’s Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or artist team to work with the National Western Center (NWC) Campus Plaza design team to explore public art opportunities in the National Western Center (NWC) Main Campus Plaza.

Budget Description
The budget for this commission is $750,000 USD. These funds come from the City of Denver’s 1% for Public Art Ordinance resulting from the construction of the National Western Center Complex. This contract amount is inclusive of all costs associated with the project including, but not limited to: the artist’s design fee, other consultation fees such as structural engineering consultation, insurance (including Colorado Workers Compensation), tools, materials, fabrication, transportation, permits, installation, any building or site modification required, travel to and from the site, per diem expenses, project documentation, contingency to cover unexpected expenses, and any other costs. For all work performed on city property, prevailing wage requirements will be applied.

Project Description
The selected artist or artist team will help finalize designs for the plaza and create public artwork(s) for the site. The selected artist or artist team is expected to collaborate with the National Western Center design team and Denver Public Art Program staff when finalizing their designs for installation.

Artwork Goals
The art selection panel members have set forth specific goals and parameters for this public art project with the hope of creating a unique and inspiring work of art for the diverse communities that will soon visit and enjoy the National Western Center. The panel is open to commissioning one site-specific artwork or several site-specific artworks to be integrated along the Main Campus Plaza. Works that demonstrate an authentic connection between human activity and the land, and tell the story of the place – historically, agriculturally, socially and ecologically – are encouraged, as are projects that include direct community involvement. During the master planning phase of the NWC redevelopment, extensive efforts were made to document the history of the place; all this research will be made available to the selected artists or artist teams. Works that reflect these guiding principles, aspirations and mission of the NWC—solving global challenges through innovation–as outlined in the NWC Master Plan and other documents that articulate the vision and mission of the revitalized, year-round, center for arts, entertainment, education, research and events are encouraged. The artwork could incorporate interactive and/or learning components.

Artwork Location Description
The NWC Public Art Master Plan has identified the Main Campus Plaza as the first of several art projects to be integrated into the development site. The Main Campus Plaza extends from Bettie Cram Drive north through the site and is bordered by the Western Stock Show Association’s Legacy Building on the east and the Colorado State University’s Animal Health building, one of three new CSU buildings on the west. Further north on the campus, the plaza is bordered by the Livestock Center and the Equestrian Center. The Main Campus Plaza is the gateway to a very active part of the development and will host many events and outdoor activities associated with site programming throughout the year.
The Main Campus Plaza location provides opportunities for a variety of artworks including three-dimensional, ground and pavement-based works, sound, light, projection, text-based, and technology-based works. Surrounding building and infrastructure façades may also offer art opportunities to influence these spaces. The NWC campus plaza is considered a “flexible space” where both service access and activity programming will vary throughout the year. Large scale sculptural installations will need to keep this requirement in mind.

Site History
The National Western Center is a reimagined campus nearly doubling the grounds which have housed the National Western Stock Show for more than 110 years. The new campus will be a vibrant, dynamic, and accessible educational and entertainment environment in the heart of Denver that celebrates Colorado’s western heritage and solves global issues through research and collaboration.

Denver’s Globeville and Elyria Swansea neighborhoods are located on either side of the future National Western Center, near the South Platte River. In addition to the river, major physical landmarks in the neighborhood include the Denver Coliseum, I-70, the Nestle Purina pet food facility, and Swansea Elementary School. In the mid-19th century, the area was highly valued by industry and commerce because of the flat terrain and proximity to the South Platte River. It was the epicenter of agribusiness in the region for most of the 20th century, and after 113 years is still home to the annual National Western Stock Show every January. With industry in the area, especially smelting and meat-packing, came settlement and housing. Industry, railroads, and housing grew together over the years. Although the smelters are now gone, and the meat-packing industry is much-diminished, a strong industrial presence remains today, as does an established residential community with a significant supply of workforce housing. Strong community cohesion and civic pride bolster the neighborhoods even when challenged with quality of life issues. Many significant changes are on the neighborhoods’ immediate horizon, including new commuter rail transit stations, changes to I-70, and the new vision for the National Western Center.

This project is open internationally to artists regardless of race, color, creed, gender, gender variance, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, marital status, political opinion or affiliation, or mental or physical disability. The art selection panel is particularly interested in artists who can demonstrate a deep understanding of the area’s history, landscape, and surrounding neighborhoods.

Application Requirements
Artists are allowed to apply in teams.
Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.

Selection Process
According to Denver’s Public Art policy, the project selection panel plays an active role in the acquisition of public art for Denver. The National Western Center Main Campus Plaza selection panel is comprised of 13 voting members and additional non-voting advisors. The selection panel is responsible for reviewing the site, establishing criteria, writing a request for qualifications, reviewing applications, selecting and interviewing finalists, and identifying an artist or artist team for the commission.

Between three to five artists or artist teams will be selected to attend an interview with the art selection panel and design team. Finalists will be required to supply three professional references at this step to be considered and will receive more specific information regarding the project. Selected finalists will be expected to share preliminary concepts, research, and how they may be integrated into the site design. Artists will be paid an honorarium for this work. From these interviews, one artist or artist team will be selected to work with the design team to further explore public art opportunities in the NWC Main Campus Plaza. The selected artist or artist team will then design and create public artwork(s) for the site. The final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Public Art Committee, the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, and the Mayor of Denver for final approval. All decisions of the City and County of Denver are final.

Selection Criteria
The art selection panel is searching for artists who can work well within a team environment and can research and reflect a deep understanding of the site and the vision for its future in order to create works of art that are relevant to the community and are timeless and forward-looking. The selection panel is open to artwork in materials that are suitable for outdoor display and can be fully integrated into the design and construction of the plaza. The selected artist or artist team will have access to selected historic artifacts and salvage materials from the site that can be repurposed for art. Artists are asked to be mindful and respectful of the plaza’s functionality, its users, the National Western Center’s initiatives and goals, and the neighborhood and surrounding communities.

All applicants are expected to consider the issues of long-term conservation and maintenance of public art, along with time and budget. These projects are located in the public realm and may therefore be exposed to weather and physical stresses, as well as be subject to vandalism. Artworks should be fabricated of highly durable, low-maintenance materials. Finalists are encouraged to consult with a professional conservator prior to the submission of a final proposal. Artist proposals will be reviewed by the City of Denver’s Public Art Committee to ensure conformity with city standards of maintenance and durability, as well as ADA standards. All finalists are expected to stay on budget and to complete work in an approved time frame.

(Except for online application deadline, timeline is subject to adjustments)
Monday July 15, 2019; 11:59 P.M. MST: Deadline for entry (via CaFÉ™ system)
August, 2019: Finalist Selection
October, 2019: Artist Selection and Notification

Additional Resources

Contact Information
Brendan Picker
1345 Champa Street
Denver CO 80204 United States

Submission Instructions
Website Address

Website Submission Instructions
The applicant’s name must appear on all materials submitted. All materials must be submitted online, via the CaFÉ™ website ( There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system.


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