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Public Art Sought for Seattle Wastewater Treatment Building

Posted by 4Culture ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Public Art Sought for Seattle Wastewater Treatment Building



4Culture and King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) seek an artist or artist-led team to create a site-specific artwork for one surface or façade of the new Jameson building.

Budget: $250,000

Eligibility: Professional artists and artist-led teams residing in the United States.

Deadline: Thursday, March 5 by 4:00 pm PST

Full information and project renderings available here.

Project Background
King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) is replacing buildings that house the West Section Offsite Facilities and North Satellite Construction Management employees. These buildings are in the Interbay Industrial area near Fisherman’s Terminal. The existing buildings have reached the end of their useful life and do not have room to support the WTD workforce into the future. King County’s team will design and build a sustainable building that supports these essential employees with a functional, healthy workplace.

“A new home for our clean water heroes.” The WTD workers who are based at this site build and maintain sewer infrastructure that serves about a 100-mile service area. This project and site will be considered a home base for approximately 70 workers from WTD. The project also considers its proximity to an extended community that values and depends on clean water. This includes Fisherman’s Terminal, a homeport to the North Pacific Fishing Fleet in close proximity of the working waterfront of the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The project is also situated near Discovery Park and the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center – a home to the regions Native people and ceremonial, cultural and social gatherings. West Point Treatment Plant is located on a critical cultural site where a Tribal Oversight Committee installed a display about the connection of modern wastewater treatment to Native people’s values. All of these are connections to the importance of our region’s waters.

Sustainability and the Living Building Challenge
The LBC is a certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability—providing a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment. It is one of most rigorous performance standards in the industry, as the full certification requires net-zero energy, waste and water by every project.

WTD’s goal is to achieve Petal Certification for the Jameson Arc Weld Replacement project. In basic terms, the LBC is based on 5 “petals” and 20 “imperatives”. To get a better understanding of how this relates to the planning for the public art program at the site, it is helpful to understand each petal.

The LBC is comprised of seven performance areas, or “Petals”—Materials, Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Equity, and Beauty. Petal Certification only requires meeting three of the seven petals; this project is pursuing Energy, Place, and Beauty. For the Jameson building, an artist can find inspiration in any of the petals, but the overarching Petal to achieve is “Beauty and Spirit” with the goal to meaningfully integrate public art and contain design features intended solely for human delight and celebration of culture, spirit, and place.

Artwork Site

The new building will be four stories in the context of the industrial neighborhood. Currently there are both a ground level façade as well as multi-level parking. These areas are available and prioritized for treatment, either in the vocabulary of materials proposed for the project, or with new materials proposed by an artist. The intentions are to consider one side of the building and street level experience, while working in conjunction with the project architect and team to carry the design holistically on the buildings surface.

Inspiration for the design should consider both the primary use of the facility by up to 70 workers who are the “clean water heroes” of our region, and water as the essential element that ties this site, to the extended community of the working waterfront. 4Culture, working in partnership with King County’s WTD, is seeking artworks that will inspire and engage the broader community to consider water quality in our region. The artist commissioned for the permanent work will create a strong visual identity for the building and consider its context in this neighborhood and larger community.


  • Call for artists released: Wednesday, February 5, 2020
  • Application deadline: Thursday, March 5, 2020, 4:00 pm PST
  • Selection panel meeting #1: week of March 23, 2020 [selection of finalists]
  • Finalist Orientation and selection panel meeting #2: week of April 6, 2020 [finalists’ interviews]*
  • Design contract issued: April 2020
  • Research and conceptual development: April—July 2020
  • Presentation of conceptual proposal to the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC): July 16, 2020
  • Design development and final design schedule dependent on approved concept and contractor milestones: July—December 2020
  • Construction timeline and on-site implementation (TBD based on project type and integration): June 2021—October 2023

*Applicants should be available in this timeframe to participate in an in-person or video conferencing orientation and interview if selected as a finalist.

Selection Process
A five-person selection panel will review the applications and select up to four finalists for interviews. Prior to the interview, all finalists will be given a project orientation (either in-person or through an on-line conferencing option) so that they can fully understand the site context and scope of the project. The panel will reconvene to interview the finalists and select one artist for the commission. If all artists are able to interview in-person, the meetings will be held in Seattle at the offices of 4Culture, and finalists from outside of the greater Seattle area will be reimbursed for travel expenses and hotel accommodation. The panel reserves the right to make no selection from the submitted applications or finalists’ interviews. The panel’s recommendations are subject to approval by WTD and the PAAC.

Selection Criteria

  • Quality and strength of past work as demonstrated in the submitted application materials.
  • Interest in working with the WTD partners and architectural consultant to collaborate on the artwork and its influence on the architecture.
  • Ability to think on a macro and micro scale about physical environment, and views for both workers and the larger community in context to the project site.
  • Perceived ability and interest in creating site-specific artwork, especially in an outdoor environment.
  • Interest in environmental sustainability and the Living Building Challenge to develop a project that and a project that embraces these ideas.
  • Availability to begin proposal development work immediately.

What to Submit

  1. Profile: Contact information for yourself or all members of your team if applying as a team.
  2. Statement of Interest: Write a statement (500 words or less) explaining why you are interested in this opportunity and how you would approach this commission considering your past work. Consider the selection criteria as it relates to your experience and interests. Applicants are NOT asked to submit a proposal as part of the application.
  3. Résumé: Two-page (maximum) current professional résumé. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. PDF is preferred; text (.txt) files will also be accepted. Teams should upload one document with two-page résumés for each team member.
  4. Work Samples:You must submit 10 total work samples to be eligible for consideration. We encourage you to submit work samples that best illustrate your qualifications for this opportunity. Artists whose primary practice includes work that includes media may submit up to 3 of the 10 samples as audio or video files, with a cumulative run-time of up to 5 minutes. Each work sample requires a brief description (75 words or less). Descriptions should include the following information if applicable: project location, commissioning agency, budget, project partners, photo credit, and copyright owner.
  • Digital Images: Submit up to 10 digital images (no composites) of past work. If applying as a team, a maximum of 10 images may be submitted, inclusive of all team members.  Upload JPG files only; images must be under 2 MB in size, 1920 pixels on the longest side, and at least 72 dpi.
  • Audio/Video: Submit up to three (3) audio or video samples if these media relate to your art practice (i.e., to show kinetic artwork, gradations of light, sound or media-based art, etc.). Audio samples must be submitted via SoundCloud with the specific URL (e.g., noted on the Work Sample Upload page. Video samples must be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube, with the specific URL (e.g., noted on the Work Sample Upload page. All submissions must be publicly accessible (password protected files will not be accepted). Timed excerpts are preferred, but longer samples may be submitted with notation in the description field of specific start and stop time for a cumulative run time of up to 5 minutes. Please include the start and stop times for excerpted audio/video samples at the beginning of the descriptive text.

How to Submit

Submit your applications online through the 4Culture application portal. A free account is required to access the system.

QUESTIONS?  Contact Andy Le,


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