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"Turn to the River" Seeks Artists for Design Team

Posted by Art Spaces Inc. ; Posted on 


Art Spaces, Inc., Terre Haute, Indiana, seeks one or two artists or artist teams experienced in working in the public realm in placemaking, community engagement and public art integration within urban environments.  Artists will assist the design team in envisioning improved public use and river access for the Turn to the River urban engagement project.  This is a consultancy project only.

BUDGET: $500-$1000 per day for 2-5 days, plus travel and expenses

ELIGIBILITY: Practicing professional artists living in the United States

DEADLINE: April 20, 2018

About Art Spaces

Art Spaces is a non-profit organization in Terre Haute, Indiana, whose mission is to provide public art and the design of public places to enhance economic growth, enrich cultural experiences and build a legacy for future generations. The Art Spaces Collection currently includes eighteen unique, site-specific sculptures in public locations throughout Terre Haute that are freely accessed at all times.

Incorporated in 2005, Art Spaces has earned a prominent role in the community for public sculpture, placemaking, community engagement and arts advocacy.  For more information about the organization, the sculpture collection and current projects: .

About Turn to the River

Turn to the River is a multi-year project of Art Spaces to reconnect Terre Haute’s downtown with the Wabash River through public art and design.  Since beginning the planning process in 2012, Art Spaces has attracted national funding to the project, engaged multiple stakeholders of the riverscape and downtown revitalization, and excited the community about reclaiming a culturally and historically important sector of the downtown for positive public use and improved downtown river access.

The Wabash River drew people to this area beginning with members of the Miami-Illinois tribes, continuing through the early French explorers and eventually leading to the platting of Terre Haute in 1816.  The river runs along the western edge of the city, which is the seat of Vigo County.  Terre Haute grew up around its courthouse just two blocks from the Wabash, which played a pivotal role in transportation, recreation, romance and song throughout Terre Haute’s 200 years.

Terre Haute grew to become a major transportation center. Heavy industrial use of riverside properties throughout much of the last century led to soil contamination and river pollution and eventually the City turned its back on the river and residents began to avoid it. Now the City and its citizens are actively reclaiming the river, understanding and embracing it as a vital and unique natural resource to preserve and protect.

The Turn to the River focus area encompasses the 4-square block government campus which houses Terre Haute City Hall and Vigo County’s Courthouse and Security Center. These properties are owned by the City of Terre Haute and Vigo County respectively.  City property also includes a large parking lot.  There are various art and cultural amenities on each property. The focus area also includes an unimproved city-owned riverside property one block west of City Hallo, to be designed as a public green space and overlook.

Art Spaces is currently entering the Design Development phase which will result in schematic designs and design development by a professional firm, drawing on already established artist-led, community-created concepts. Arts and community engagement form the core of all phases of Turn to the River. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the linked documents covering the background, purpose and previous phases of the project:

Turn to the River is part of a broad local and regional vision for the riverscape and has many significant public and private partners, and as an “Our Town” Project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.  To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Artist Scope of Work

Art Spaces seeks artists experienced in working with art in the public realm and engaging members of a community in creating vibrant public places. This project has been built through artist and community input and the commissioned artist(s) will assist Art Spaces in keeping the role of the arts central throughout this phase. Selected artist(s) will interact with members of the design firm for Turn to the River as they proceed with design schematics and design development.

One artist or artist team will be in residence in Terre Haute in late spring or early summer 2018 for 3-5 days.  The Spring 2018 Residency will include interaction with Art Spaces staff, Board members and members of the very active Turn to the River Committee as well as the selected design firm (to be announced in early April). One or more public engagement events will occur. The timeline and details of the visit will be determined in consultation with the selected artist. This residency is anticipated to further a creative approach to incorporating public art and design within the focus area of Turn to the River.

A second artist or artist team will be in residence in Terre Haute in October 2018 for 2-4 days. The Fall 2018 Residency will focus on potential programming for and use of the public spaces to be designed within the Turn to the River Focus Area and will include interaction with Art Spaces staff, Board members and members of the very active Turn to the River Committee as well as students, faculty and staff of Indiana State University. A charrette, to be held at Indiana State University (ISU), has been partly designed by students through a new Public Art/Public Health class at ISU which took place in spring 2018; and will be continued through the ISU Curatorial Guild, a student-led curatorial group.  This will be one on-campus public engagement events to occur; and other interactions with students and members of the University community will be planned as well. The timeline and details of the visit will be determined in consultation with the selected artist, Art Spaces and Indiana State University.

Selection Criteria and Process

The selected artists will have proven experience in working in the public realm in planning, creative placemaking and public art integration within urban environments.  Strong and proven community engagement experience and capacity are required.

Finalists will be selected based on quality and interest of past work; described approach to engaging with a diverse variety of communities; perceived relevance of their approach and past work to this project; demonstrated experience in working within this budget level; and ability to visit Terre Haute during the proposed timeframe(s).  The Selection Committee will choose as finalists those artists who demonstrate an appropriate sensibility and qualifications for this project.

Up to three finalists will be selected for each opportunity and individual interviews will occur by phone or Skype on days and times agreed to by Art Spaces Selection members and selected finalists.  These interviews are tentatively planned to occur between April 20 and 30, 2018.

Following the interviews, the Selection Committee will select one or more artists or artist teams to proceed with arrangements for brief residencies in Terre Haute.

Application Instructions

Please note:  You may apply for one or both opportunities. Please clarify in your letter which you are interested in.

Interested artists or artist teams are asked to send a letter of interest to include:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address
  • Which residency you are interested in (you may state that you are interested one or both)
  • Reasons for your interest in Turn to the River and the specific
  • Why you believe you are qualified
  • Your website address and/or link
  • Names of projects on your website which have particular relevance to this opportunity that you would like us to look at
  • Names of three references with current contact information including emails and phone numbers.
  • Indication of your ability to visit Terre Haute for 3-5 days between May 15-July 15, 2018
  • And/or indication of your ability to visit Terre Haute for 2-4 days in October 2018.
  • The letter should not exceed 3 pages

Letter should be e-mailed to Please note “Turn to the River RFQ” in the subject heading.  Applicants can also physically mail the letter to: Art Spaces, Inc., 669 Ohio Street, Terre Haute, IN  47807.

Deadline for e-mailing letter of interest to Art Spaces is April 20 at midnight Eastern Standard Time.  Mailed applications should arrive by 5pm on April 20.

Art Spaces reserves the right to contract one or more artists, or to refuse a contract with any artist.

QUESTIONS? For more information: (please reference “Turn to the River” in the subject heading).  Or call: 812-235-2801



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