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Philadelphia Public Services Building Seeks Artist for Commissioned Public Art

Posted by City of Philadelphia ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Philadelphia Public Services Building Seeks Artist for Commissioned Public Art



The City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program, through the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) announces a two-stage selection process by which we will award and commission a site-specific artwork at the Philadelphia Public Services Building. This commission is part of a City’s Public Work’s construction and renovation project managed by the Department of Public Property, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Medical Examiner’s Office. Only artists who are pre-qualified through the initial stage of this process will be permitted to move to and be considered in the second stage of this process.

Budget:  $715,500 (all-inclusive)

Eligibility:  Professional artists

Deadline:  March 6, 2019

Full RFQ available here. RFQ includes site photos.


The Philadelphia Public Services Building project (PPSB) represents one of the most significant capital projects in the City of Philadelphia’s recent history. The project will renovate the former Philadelphia Inquirer Building at 400 North Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia into a state-of-the-art building. The project will be an adaptive reuse of the existing office building for the co-location of the Police Headquarters, the Police 6th and 9th Districts, and the Medical Examiner’s Office. All departments are currently located in facilities that are no longer serviceable for their evolving operations. The new PPSB is an important step toward supporting these respective departments’ missions. The Building will be a positive new asset in the Callowhill section of the city and will become a significant part of the city fabric. In order to ensure an enduring and successful outcome, Keating Inquirer Builders, along with USA Architects, has initiated the design process with a detailed programming phase, existing site evaluation, and master planning effort. The PPSB is being constructed using a “design-build” approach under the direction of Keating Inquirer Builders LLC. USA Architects, Planners + Interior Designers, PA is the architect for the project. The design-build team worked with the Department of Public Property, Philadelphia PoliceDepartment, and the Medical Examiner’s Office to develop the project’s goals and principles. Construction began in January of 2018 and is targeted for completion in November of 2020.


The City of Philadelphia seeks to commission an artwork in the PPSB’s planned public entrance and lobby located at the northeast corner of the building facing North Broad Street. The features of the space include a double-height ceiling, large historic windows facing the street, exposed existing building structural elements, and a new covered entrance off Broad Street. The lobby will also be used for the display of PPD artifacts and objects that will be relocated from the existing headquarters lobby. The goals of the lobby are to communicate the values and mission of the Philadelphia Police Department, to connect to the community, and to be a visual asset to this section of Broad Street.

The City seeks to commission a high quality and original artwork that engages the community and reflects PPSB’s goals. There are no requirements as to material or form; although the artwork must be permanent and site-specific. The artwork installation schedule will be further developed during the RFQ process.


  • Issue Call:  February 12, 2019
  • Submission Deadline: 5 p.m. on March 6, 2019
  • Finalist Notification: Mid-March 2019
  • Pre-Proposal Meeting* (MANDATORY; requires travel to Philadelphia): Early-April 2019
  • Proposals Due: May 2019
  • Panel Presentation* (MANDATORY; requires travel to Philadelphia): May 2019
  • Artist Notification: Late May 2019
  • Artwork Fabrication: Late May 2019–Spring 2021
  • Artwork Installation: Spring 2021


The selection process will take place in two stages.

Stage 1 consists of this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), with responses due March 6, 2019 by 5 p.m. local Philadelphia time. Respondents will be reviewed by OACCE as well as representatives of the commissioning agencies based on the stated criteria. Up to five (5) respondents will be pre-qualified to move to the Stage 2 Request for Proposals (RFP) process and be permitted to submit full proposals and applications.

Stage 2 will consist of a full RFP requiring proposals and complete applications. Only artists who have been pre-qualified in Stage 1 will be permitted to apply in Stage 2. Prequalified artists will be required to submit a formal proposal consisting of narrative text, proposed budget, and images. An independent selection panel will review all applications. Stage 2 applicants will be required to give an in-person presentation. Stage 2 applicants will receive a $2,500 honorarium to cover research, administrative, and logistical costs.

All applicants will receive notification by email. Please do not call the Percent for Art Program, the Selection Panel, or any members of the project team directly for competition results. The City of Philadelphia reserves the right to change, modify, or revise the Call for Artists, in part or whole, at any time without prior notice. The City of Philadelphia reserves the right to make no selection for this call to artists.

While nothing in this RFQ binds the City to issuing an award in response to the Stage 2 RFP, any artist/artist team selected through the Stage 2 RFP will be required to enter a written contract with the City of Philadelphia prior to commencing. No selection shall be deemed final until a proposal has been fully approved and an agreement properly executed by the artist and the City. If a finalist is not selected from the Stage 2 finalist group, the City reserves the right to re-open the call for artists.


  1. Submit eight (8) digital work samples of your artwork.
    • Images should be labeled as last name, first name, and number; for example: Smith_Jane_01
    • Images should be saved as JPGs, GIFs, or PNGs at 72 dpi with 1200 pixels as the widest dimension
  2. Submit the following information as A SINGLE Word or PDF document:
    • Artist Info: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website, Race (optional), how you heard about the call (optional)
    • Statement of Interest: This brief cover letter may include related experience, artistic ambitions, and/or a description of your vision for the site; you may include proposed images, if applicable (One text page maximum, including images)
    • Resume or Bio (Two-page maximum)
    • Image Identification Sheet: These must correspond to the numbers of your submitted images. List your images as: Title. Year. Materials. Dimensions. Location (if applicable). Project Budget (if applicable).
    • Title your document as last name_first name_Info; for example: Smith_Jane_Info –

General application guidelines:

  • Submit what you believe is your strongest work, in the context of this commission opportunity
  • Submit your work samples in the order you would like them to be reviewed
  • For images with details: show the overall image first, followed by detail images
  • Do not send additional catalogs, reviews, promotional items, or original artworks; they will not be reviewed
  • Incomplete or ineligible submissions will not be reviewed; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the completeness of their application
  • The application deadline for submission is March 6, 2019 at 5 p.m.


Email the above material to via a file-sharing program such as Dropbox ( or Hightail ( Applicants unable to use Dropbox or Hightail can send a CD to: Jacque Liu, Percent for Art Project Manager, 116 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

QUESTIONS?  Contact Jacque Liu,




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