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San Francisco International Airport Seeks Artists For New Commissions

Posted by San Francisco Arts Commission ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
San Francisco International Airport Seeks Artists For New Commissions




San Francisco International Airport’s public art program, provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission, offers a permanent collection of paintings, sculptures and site responsive artworks that reflect the Bay Area’s vibrant and diverse culture. The collection comprises over 100 works of art in a diversity of styles and media by artists of local, national and international acclaim.

The current project is a replacement terminal and concourse facility for San Francisco International Airport Terminal 1 (T1) including Boarding Area B, C and Terminal 1 North. The remodel of T1 Boarding Area B, Center Section and Terminal 1 North will be included in the first phase of the project, to be completed in 2020.

Our goal for the redevelopment of Terminal 1 is to continue the curatorial vision developed for SFO as we continue to grow this outstanding civic art collection. For Terminal 1 our intent is to commission dynamic contemporary art that offers the traveler a powerful and continuous art experience within the context of the airport environment. This will include the selection of artists commissioned to create large scale site responsive artworks and architecturally integrated installations that will build the strength of our existing collection.

There are numerous (>10) opportunities associated with this SFO project. Individual project budgets range from $300,000 to $1,500,000. Total budget for artwork is inclusive of all artist’s fees, as well as associated expenses for design, fabrication, insurance, transportation and installation.

This opportunity is open to professional, practicing artists who reside in the United States. Artists are allowed to apply in teams.
Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.

Artwork Goals
The Terminal design offers a number of opportunities for large-scale, visually dramatic artworks that will mark intersections and terminuses, and create more defined architectural spaces within the larger building. These opportunities include:

  • Suspended sculptures (4) in the arrivals hall and concourse area.
  • Large scale, architecturally-integrated two-dimensional artworks, including a pair of large scale artworks for bulkhead walls.
  • A multi-story artwork that spans the departure and arrivals levels and allows the artist to address a number of architectural elements.
  • Large sculpture in the recompose area.


Selection Process
The applications will be previewed by an Artist Qualification Panel consisting of representatives from Arts Commission staff and arts professionals to identify a list of qualified artists to be considered for the project opportunity.

This list of qualified artists will be presented to an Artist Selection Panel consisting of a Visual Arts Commissioner, a representative from the client agency, three (3) arts professionals of recognized professional stature, and a representative of the Design Team, (such as the project architect). After considering the artists’ qualifications, the Artist Selection Panel will identify finalists for recommendation to the Arts Commission for approval.

The finalists will be invited to develop conceptual proposals after attending an orientation session with the project team and key stakeholders. Each finalist will be paid an honorarium which will vary according to the specific project budget. Honoraria will range from $2,000 – $7,000 for development of a conceptual design proposal, plus the reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses, approved by the Arts Commission prior to travel arrangements being made for the orientation and panel interview. The Artist Selection Panel will reconvene to consider the finalists’ concepts in an interview format and will select one artist and an alternate for each opportunity for recommendation to the Arts Commission.

The Artist Selection Panel’s recommendation will be submitted first to the Visual Arts Committee, a subcommittee of the Arts Commission and then to the full Arts Commission for approval.

All Arts Commission meetings and Public Art Selection Panel meetings are open to the public and are posted on the Arts Commission website at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. To check the meeting schedule for public art projects, please go to our website at:

Selection Criteria

  • Complete application submitted prior to the application deadline.
  • Artwork examples submitted represent the artist’s own original creative work.
  • The artist’s work reflects artistic excellence, innovation and originality, as evidenced by professional quality of craftsmanship and mastery of skills, techniques; professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communicate a unique vision or perspective.
  • The artist’s work is judged to be appropriate to the goals of the project.
  • The artist’s professional experience is adequate to meet the demands of the project. Qualifying activities would include some combination of the following: education and training as an artist, an exhibition record in museums, commercial art galleries, and/or non-profit art spaces, previous public or private commissions; participation in artist-in-residency programs, or other related activities indicative of a professional art practice.
  • The artist is available to participate in the design, approval and implementation of the project as required.
  • Assessed ability to meet project deadlines and to perform work in a timely and professional manner.
  • Results of reference checks for project finalists.


Issue RFQ: Mid-October 2016
Selection Panel 1st meeting: January/February 2017
Selection Panel 2nd meeting: March/April/May 2017
Approval of selected artists by VAC: April/May/June 2017
Approval of selected artists by Full Commission: May/June/July 2017
Artists under contract: August/September/October 2017

All applicants will be notified of the results of the first Selection Panel review by email after Full Commission approval of the finalists, anticipated to be early February, 2017.

How to apply

Applications are available through SlideRoom (, an online application system for calls for entry. There is no charge to artists for using SlideRoom. Please be sure to allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties can occur. Applications that are mailed, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered will not be considered.

Questions?  Contact Zoë Taleporos, (415) 252-2243 or