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Winston-Salem Portrait Project Seeks Artist

Posted by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission ; Posted on 
Winston-Salem Portrait Project Seeks Artist




The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (NC) Public Art Commission is seeking an artist or artist-led team with community organizing experience to engage the public and facilitate a citywide art project with the working title, “Winston-Salem Portrait Project.” The project is envisioned as a photographic portrayal of the community: a portrait made of its many faces, displayed where people come together and where they are divided.  An artist/organizer experienced in photographic media is sought, with strong communication skills and the demonstrated ability to work collaboratively to conceive of and lead a community-wide project.

Budget:  $200,000 total; $60,000 artist fee

Eligibility:  Professional artists and artist teams with all members over 18

Deadline: January 5, 2018, by 4:00 p.m., EST

Project Concept

Winston-Salem is a city of 240,000 in central North Carolina. Once known for manufacturing cigarettes and textiles, it is shaping a new identity as “The City of Arts and Innovation.” It is home to five colleges and universities, including Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and HBCU Winston-Salem State University. Downtown Winston-Salem is resurgent with condos, restaurants, breweries, and the best examples of the creative economy. Yet, despite the community’s efforts, the transition from industrial to postindustrial city has not ended the problems of segregation, inequality, and poverty. It is hoped that this artwork will help people see each other and the places they inhabit more openly, and increase the community’s capacity for compassion.

Artwork Vision

  • Further communication, understanding, compassion, and empathy;
  • Bridge the divisions between neighborhoods, including perceived barriers and human differences;
  • Expose the community to innovative forms of public art;
  • Involve community in educational and collaborative activities;
  • Create work that is responsive in medium and method to place;
  • Enhance the visual identity of the city

Artist Scope of Work

The chosen artist or artist team will work with a local coordinator to manage a community engagement process that helps select individuals to be photographed and locations to display images.  The artist/team will teach a community workshop that is free and open to the public; possible topics could include lighting techniques, creative marketing strategies, or professional development. The artist/team will lead an open studio session for the public, particularly emerging artists, to demonstrate the techniques used to create the project.

Artwork Location

The committee anticipates that this will be a citywide project that will include at least nine displays: one Downtown as well as at least eight displays throughout the city in neighborhood settings and other high-visibility areas. Locations will be determined as part of the community outreach component of the project in collaboration with City residents. The duration of each display could range from temporary to semi-permanent
to permanent.

Selection Process and Criteria

The selection committee will evaluate all submissions and recommend up to three (3) finalists. The artist’s letter of intent, professional work history, and portfolio will be evaluated. The committee will review applicants on the basis of:

  • Artistic excellence.
  • Professional experience of the artist or artist team.
  • Ability to complete the project within the given timeframe.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully execute a project of this scale under the criteria developed and within the budget set forth.

Project Timeline

January 5, 2018: Qualifications Due
January 19, 2018: Semifinalists Notified
January 26, 2018: Skype Interviews of Semifinalists
February 9, 2018: Finalists Notified
March 2018: Finalist Proposals and In Person Interviews
March 30, 2018: Selected Artist Notification

Phase 1: Conception, Planning, and Prototyping (spring – fall 2018)

  • With guidance from the Public Art Commission, the artist(s) will design a “citywide portrait” of Winston-Salem;
  • The artist(s) will work with a local coordinator to manage a community engagement process that helps select individuals to be photographed and locations to display images. The local coordinator will be paid separately from the main artist(s);
  • The artist(s) will create a prototype of the project on a limited scale.

Phase 2: Production (winter – spring 2019)

  • Photographic portrait sessions in multiple locations throughout the city;
  • Image preparation and design work;
  • Community workshop and open studio session.

Phase 3: Rollout (summer 2019)

  • Coordinate display of images for a synchronized project rollout.

Required Submission Materials

Letter of Intent

  • Clearly describe your interest in this project and how you can contribute to its success.
  • Summarize your experience in developing and/or executing creative and collaborative projects (i.e. site-specific performances/art installations, interactive and participatory artworks/spectacles, multimedia projects, creative placemaking events, festivals, etc.). Please note if you have had experience working on projects for the public sector.
  • Describe how you have used arts and culture to address a community issue/challenge or used a creative solution, creative problem-solving, or an artist practice to build upon a community asset.

Resume or CV (for each artist or team member)

  • A resume or CV including all relevant education and professional experience, including any commissions, residencies, touring, exhibitions, collaborations, and projects involving the community and work in the public sector.
  • A relevant body of work that demonstrates conceptual, aesthetic, and technical mastery.
  • Email addresses and phone numbers for all team members.

Visual Materials

  • Visual examples of your work as needed, including images, videos, website, PowerPoints, etc.


  • Two professional references, including names, phone numbers, and email addresses


How to Apply

Send submission materials and direct questions to:
City-County Planning
Attn: Kelly Bennett
P.O. Box 2511
Winston-Salem, NC 27102

Submissions may be also submitted through Dropbox via the following link (preferred submission method):

** Submission must be received electronically, by mail, or handdelivered by January 5, 2018, 4:00 p.m. EST. No exceptions. **


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