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San Jose, CA Seeks Artist for Wastewater Treatment Facility

Posted by City of San Jose ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
San Jose, CA Seeks Artist for Wastewater Treatment Facility



The City of San José (City) Public Art Program and Environmental Services Department are seeking an experienced artist, or artist-led team to develop an artwork related to the new Co-Generation Plant, located at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. This artwork will be a public-facing feature screening the four (4) 50-foot-high emissions treatment exhaust stacks.  Artist may decide to work with the base-project designed perforated metal screening system or consider a more 3-dimensional approach. It is also an opportunity to contribute to and promote ESD’s sustainability goals for the RFQ by incorporating functional energy producing elements.

Entry Deadline: 10/23/17 11:59 p.m. MST
Budget:  $300,000

Eligibility:  This opportunity is open to individual artists or artist-led teams working and living in the United States. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and have all necessary documentation and permits to work in the United States at the time of submittal of qualifications. If submitting as a team, a professional artist must be the lead team member.

The City is the lead agency for implementing pretreatment programs on behalf of the eight tributary jurisdictions whose sanitary sewer systems discharge to the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF). Every day, the RWF cleans Silicon Valley’s wastewater to very high national standards, protecting public health and the environment, and supporting the economy. Using a process that simulates the way nature cleans water, the RWF treats an average of 110 million gallons of wastewater per day (mgd), with a capacity of up to 167 mgd. The largest tertiary treatment plant in the western United States, the RWF serves 1.4 million residents and over 17,000 businesses in an eight-city area. Highly trained staff ensures that all treated wastewater meets strict regulations.

In order to become more self-reliant, the City will construct a new Co-Generation Facility to replace aging infrastructure. The new Co-generation Facility will beneficially use methane gas produced from the anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids to create the heat and electrical power required to support the wastewater treatment process. The four new gas-fired internal combustion reciprocating engines sited at the Co-Generation Facility will be capable of producing up to 14 megawatts (MW) of electrical power. The cogeneration engines will have the flexibility to operate on a blend of digester gas, natural gas, and/or landfill gas. The Co-Generation Facility will generate varying amounts of electrical power and heat depending on the needs of the RWF processes and the gases available. Exhaust gas treatment will be designed to meet or exceed Bay Area Air Quality emission limits.

The new Co-Generation Facility will be located on Zanker Road which is predominately travelled by RWF and landfill employees.  It is also an alternate route in and out of Alviso and used by residents.  The current Co-Generation Facility program calls for screening the four 50-foot-high emissions treatment exhaust stacks with a simple perforated metal screen.  While there are programmatic and structural constraints, there exists the potential to address this public-facing façade, with a 2-dimensional integrated approach to aesthetically enhancing the surface. Other 3-dimensional sculptural approaches will also be considered.  Conceptually, this is an opportunity for education and inspiration.  It is also an opportunity to contribute to and promote ESD’s sustainability goals for the RFQ by incorporating functional energy producing elements.

The project budget is $300,000, for design development, fabrication and installation. Also included is a mandatory 10% contingency. The funding will be allocated as follows:

  • Design: $45,000 for completion of all steps of the design phase from concept development through construction documentation including engineering.
  • Fabrication and Installation: Up to $230,000 may be allocated for fabrication and installation as determined by the artist’s design and supporting budget proposal that is approved by the City as part of the design phase of the process.  The budget proposal will include the mandatory hold back of $25,000 as contingency funds to cover unanticipated costs that are the result of critical, unforeseen circumstances, which impact the artist’s ability to deliver the project.

The project funding must cover all expenses related to the research, investigation, design, fabrication and installation of the artwork including, but not limited to: design time and fees; design documents, renderings and/or other media as required to communicate artist’s concept design to stakeholders and approving bodies; signed and certified structural, electrical and/or other construction/engineering drawings and specifications, required for fabrication; fabrication of the artwork; transportation and installation of materials, transportation and accommodations for artist(s); insurance and all other project related expenses.


Design Phase
The artist or artist team selected for this project will engage in research and discussion with key stakeholders and the community, and develop a concept proposal for the art project. The following is an overview of a typical range of tasks for the design phase of this project. (Note: This is a general outline, not a specific scope):

  • Background Research: Activities will include, but are not limited to review of background documents and data to understand the Co-Generation Facility design, project area and community; perform research about the RWF; engage in discussion with key stakeholders and meet with community members.
  • Design Development: The artist or artist team must complete the four steps in SJPA’s public art design process, each with a review and approval process. These steps are: concept proposal development, schematic design proposal, and design development and construction documentation.
  • Review process: Staff Review: Present artwork design and construction documents to City staff for internal reviews by SJPA, ESD, Department of Public Works, and other departments as necessary.
  • Community Feedback: Engage with key community representatives to review proposed artwork concept and approach and listen to input.
  • Approvals: The San José Public Art Committee is the authority that approves proposed artwork design from concept proposal through completion of design development. The Department of Public Works must give final approval of construction documents.

It is expected that during the Design Phase the artist or artist team will attend the meetings necessary to accomplish the work described above.

Fabrication and Installation: The artist or artist team is expected to fabricate and install the artwork. Where possible, there may be coordination with the base project to gain efficiencies in the construction or installation process that may benefit the public art project.

TIMELINE (dates may be subject to change)

  • SUBMITTAL DEADLINE  October 23, 2017
  • Artist Selection & Contracting            November 2017
  • Research & Concept Development    December 2017 – January 2017
  • Concept Proposal                              February 6, 2018
  • Schematic & Design Development     February – May 2018
  • Construction Documentation             June – July 2018
  • Installation and project completion    August 2019


All interested artists must complete their submittal for this project online through CaFÉ™(; there are no exceptions. There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉ™ online application system. Assistance in using the CaFÉ™ system is available during regular business hours via e-mail at

Staff will preview all submissions for completeness prior to Selection Committee review and may reject incomplete applications or non-responsive submissions. Specific proposals are not requested and will not be reviewed at this time. The artist or artist team will be selected based on their submitted work samples from previously completed projects and how those demonstrate design and execution of projects in varied environments.


  • Aesthetic excellence of past projects; appropriateness of prior concepts as they relate to Co-Generation project goals and opportunity
  • Experience, success and/or interest in creating public artworks in collaboration with stakeholder group including public outreach, in determining scope and development of artwork
  • Experience developing artworks in outdoor environments
  • Experience in construction materials and methods appropriate to the scope of the project
  • Demonstrated ability to manage projects on time and on budget.
  • Demonstrated delivery of projects with similar budgets will be reviewed.


The application submission must include the information and materials described below, all of which are required to constitute a complete application. Please review carefully, as incomplete applications will not be eligible for consideration and will not be reviewed.

1. Artist Statement of Interest: Submission shall include an Artist Statement of Interest that outlines your interest in this opportunity. Note: Specific proposals are not requested and will not be reviewed at this time.

The Artist Statement of Interest will be an important aspect of the review process; it will assist the selection panel in understanding your perspective on approaching a project of this nature, and your perspective on the potential of this commission. Please address the following in your statement (5000 character maximum):

  • What perspective and/or experience do you bring to a project that is unique to you?  If you have experience with energy generating projects, please include this as well.
  • What specifically interests you about the Co-Generation Project?
  • What is your experience in public art and collaborating with clients and communities?

2.  Summary of Experience: Submission shall include a brief summary of relevant past experience; describe what outdoor urban area public art projects you have experience with. (3000 character maximum).

3. Résumé + References: Submission shall include a current résumé that outlines your professional accomplishments as an artist (maximum of 5000 characters/equivalent of 2 pages; if a team, then 5000 character maximum for each team member.)

4. Images of Past Work: Submission must include visual representations of past artwork that demonstrate your qualifications for this project.In order to be considered for this project, the applicant must submit a total of 8 digital images that represent no more than 5 previously completed projects. Proposal images from prior projects may be submitted, but should be clearly marked as proposals and cannot be more than 2 of the requested 8 images. Instructions on how to format images to CaFÉ™ specifications can be found on the CaFÉ™ website under “Image Prep”.

5. Descriptions of Past Work: Submission must include a list of the submitted project images with descriptions that clearly explain both the projects and images. Each image must include information about: a) title; b) date of completion; c) location; d) dimensions; e) significant materials; f) budget and g) description.  If you were the member of a team or otherwise worked with other artists on a project you are submitting for consideration, please clearly state your actual role in the creation of the work.

QUESTIONS?  Contact Mary Rubin at No calls please. Any pertinent questions submitted prior to Monday, October 16, will be addressed by an addendum and posted on City website here:



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