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San Francisco Seeks Artists to Prequalify for Public Art Projects

Posted by San Francisco Arts Commission ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
San Francisco Seeks Artists to Prequalify for Public Art Projects




The San Francisco Arts Commission invites artists and artist teams residing in the United States to submit qualifications for potential inclusion in a prequalified artist pool for upcoming public art opportunities. The 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool will be used to select artists for commissions for a range of new permanent public art projects associated with the construction of new civic buildings, parks, playgrounds, transportation and streetscape improvement projects throughout San Francisco. Certain projects may also offer opportunities for artists to work as part of a design team along with the project architect/designer.

The Arts Commission seeks visual artists working in a variety of media and artistic approaches. Past public art experience is not required. These commissions are for artists who are interested in having their design concepts implemented in durable and maintainable materials; unfortunately, due to limited resources the Arts Commission is usually unable to commission electronic media based artworks.

Budgets for commissioned permanent public project range up to $500,000 (inclusive of all costs).

Professional, practicing visual artists or artist teams residing in the United States.  Artists who apply as part of a team may not also apply as individual artists. All artists and members of an artist team must reside in the United States to be eligible.

In 2017/2018, public art will be commissioned in conjunction with various City and County of San Francisco Capital Improvement Projects at a variety of locations throughout the City. Artists included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool will be eligible for all project opportunities with budgets under $500,000 as they arise in the next two calendar years.

Upcoming sites/projects may include:

  • Angelo Rossi Park
  • Central Subway Temporary Art on Construction Barricades Program
  • Fire Stations
  • Garfield Square
  • Gene Friend Recreation Center
  • Margaret S. Hayward Playground
  • Moscone South Expansion
  • Port Cruise Terminal
  • Public Utilities Commission Sites
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Schlage Lock Park
  • Transbay Under Ramp Park
  • Willie Wong Playground



The applications will be reviewed by an Artist Selection Panel consisting of an Arts Commissioner and two arts professionals. The applicants will first be screened for the minimum qualification criteria. as follows:

  • Application is complete.
  • The application submitted represents the artist’s own original creative work.
  • The artwork submitted reflects basic professional quality of craftsmanship, mastery of skills and techniques, professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communication of a unique vision or perspective
  • The artist’s resume reflects evidence of professional competence. 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 practice.

The panel will then use the following criteria to score all remaining eligible portfolios:

  • Artistic excellence.
  • Appropriate imagery or style for public space. A broad range of imagery and styles appropriate for a public place may be considered, from figurative, representational, abstract, or non-objective. Examples of non-appropriate imagery include artwork with religious and sexually explicit content.
  • Professional experience.
  • Artists that score within a competitive range will be included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool. The pool will then be recommended for approval by the Arts Commission.


All 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

The 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool will be used to select artists for each new project opportunity with a budget up to $500,000, based on appropriateness of the artist’s media and experience for specific project requirements. An ad-hoc selection panel will be convened for each project to review the qualified candidates and make selection recommendations. The panel’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Arts Commission for final approval.

Artists included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool must apply separately to additional RFQs issued by the Arts Commission for projects over $500,000 in budget. The Arts Commission may also issue an RFQ for a project with a budget under $500,00 that has specialized requirements. In that case, artists included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool will be automatically be considered for that call and need not re-apply.

Artists not initially included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool, but who are short-listed for subsequent calls, will automatically be included in the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool.

Applicants to the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool are expected to be notified of their status the last week in January, 2017. This is subject to change.

All application materials must be submitted online via SlideRoom ( by December 5, 2016, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Applications sent via email, post, or hand delivered will not be considered.  There is no application fee to apply or to use the SlideRoom online application system. Applicants can receive SlideRoom technical support by emailing, or by accessing the online help desk:

Application materials will include a budget range verification form (provided on the Slideroom site), a letter of interest, a resume, 10 images of previous work, and image descriptions.

For questions regarding the 2017/2018 Prequalified Artist Pool RFQ, contact Zoë Taleporos, Public Art Program Associate by emailing, or by phone at (415) 252-2243.