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YMCA Seeks Artist for Commissioned Exterior Artwork

Posted by YMCA of Central Indiana ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
YMCA Seeks Artist for Commissioned Exterior Artwork




Summary of Opportunity

The Arts Council of Indianapolis, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, requests the qualifications of artists interested in completing a permanent, exterior artwork for the new OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA, to be located at 5315 Lafayette Rd. in Pike Township (construction beginning May 2017). The goal of the artwork is to acknowledge the contribution of military veterans and service members to the American experience in a contemporary and imaginative way, in order to call attention to donations toward the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA’s programs and facilities that were designed to support veterans’ needs.

Project Budget

The artwork budget is $100,000, to include the artist’s fee, professional consultants, travel, shipping/delivery, and all costs necessary to realize the physical artwork. Any needed infrastructure, such as a foundation and/or power and data lines stubbed out to the artwork site, will be provided as part of the site construction.  The facility design team may also be able to provide engineering design support if needed.


Artists and artist-led teams with all members over 18 and living in the United States are eligible to submit their qualifications.  Prior experience with public art projects is preferred but not required.  Artists living in, or with a strong personal connection to, Indianapolis/Marion County and/or Pike Township, and/or with military service experience, are encouraged to apply.

Project Context

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis was founded in 1854 and focuses on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  Twelve facility centers and three program centers serve more than 200,000 people annually of every age and from every walk of life. Diversity is important to the Y’s mission, and it remains, as it always has been, a positive, welcoming place for all. The Y provides over $7M annually in scholarships, program subsidies, and program underwriting in low-income communities.

Nearly 11,000 military veterans live in and within a five-mile radius of Pike Township, with needs ranging from physical rehabilitation to ongoing wellness to integrating or re-integrating with the civilian community. Some of these services are not available either at their homes or through their workplaces, so there is a need for a “third place” to provide a fully-rounded program directed towards veterans’ needs.

The OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA will be the first facility of its kind in the nation, acting as a hub for veterans who face difficulties accessing wellness programs and facilities. The 45,000-square-foot center will include 40,000 square feet of traditional YMCA space (pool, gym, wellness center, childcare, etc.), plus a 5,000-square-foot wing featuring clinical space designated especially for veterans’ medical care and staffed by professionals from the Roudebush VA Medical Center. Health services will include physical therapy, occupational therapy, pain management, and individual and family counseling. Veteran members will also benefit from the YMCA’s traditional wellness programming plus new programs designed specifically with veterans in mind. Services, conducted in partnership with local organizations, will include, among others, financial literacy, military-style fitness training, adaptive sports, job placement and art therapy plus wellness coaching, diabetes prevention, and nutrition and healthy cooking classes in a demonstration kitchen. Finally, the Y is now offering special reduced membership fee for veterans, military service members and their families at all of its 12 central Indiana locations.

Pike Township has nearly 78,000 residents. 64% of students qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, and 24% of the population receives food stamps. A 2013 report from the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Pike Township indicated that over 26% of students were overweight and an additional 20% were at risk of becoming overweight, inspiring the Pike Y to host programs to increase overall wellness in these populations.  Pike Township is also a magnet for immigrant populations, with over 70 different languages spoken in local schools. The new Pike Y will therefore serve a broad and culturally diverse population with their traditional YMCA facilities, programs and resources in addition to serving veterans, service members and their families. An exciting development happened when the Pike Township School Board voted unanimously in July 2016 to construct a 35,000-square-foot early childhood learning center co-located with the new YMCA facility.

The goal of the public art is to promote public awareness of the special nature of this facility, inspire pride and respect for military veterans, and recognize the Pike Township community’s diversity and strength.

Description of Opportunity

The outdoor, commissioned artwork is meant to function as an active and growing veteran acknowledgement feature where residents can donate a nominal sum to honor or memorialize the veteran or military service member(s) in their lives. The selected artist is responsible for designing a base artwork as well as elements (with text) that can be added over time as donors (and others) come forward with veterans to be honored. While many artworks dedicated to veterans can be somber both visually and experientially, this artwork should convey a sense of welcome, reflection, and gratitude.  Artists are encouraged to reach beyond the popular concept of “wounded warriors” when thinking about who veterans really are.

The content and imagery of the artwork can be in any form as long as it relates to the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA’s mission, programs, services and community.  Non-traditional and conceptual approaches and formats are desired, and the overall artwork design must be consistent with the contemporary “look” of the facility.

There will be participation from the local veteran community in the artwork’s concept development, design, and possibly fabrication or installation. The artwork can be functional. The artwork may spread components around the indicated zone(s), or may take the form of an installation of a single component or several related components. The artwork may incorporate, be incorporated into, or attach to planned landscape elements.  Lighting and/or interactivity elements are possible, as long as the artwork remains visible day and night and interactivity is not required to make the artwork visible or functional.  It is possible for the artwork to look different by day and by night.  It should be appropriate for YMCA visitors of all ages.

The artwork must be permanent, safe, virtually maintenance-free, engaging for the public and accessible throughout the year. The artwork must be compatible with unsupervised public use.  The artwork and/or its elements must not interfere with the desired flexibility of the YMCA site for programming and spontaneous activity.

Project Calendar

This is the project calendar as it now appears. The final construction schedule may result in changes.

  • January 25, 2017:  RFQ issued
  • Monday, February 13, 2017, 6 – 7:30 p.m.:   Optional project information session and application workshop (see below for details)
  • Monday, February 27, 2017, 5:00 p.m.:  Qualifications due (this is not a postmark deadline!)
  • Friday, March 10, 2017:  Finalists notified
  • Week of March 13, 2017:   Proposal agreements issued
  • March 15 – June 1, 2017:  Proposal development
  • May 2017:  Estimated start of facility construction
  • June 1, 2017:  Proposals due
  • Week of June 5, 2017:  Proposal presentations (if required)
  • By June 15, 2017:  Selection of artwork and notification of status
  • By July 1, 2017:  Design and fabrication agreement issued to selected artist/team
  • July – August, 2017:  Final Design and coordination with project design team
  • September 1, 2017:  Notice to Proceed with fabrication
  • September 2017 – March 2018:  Artwork fabrication (dates TBD depending on artwork design and location)
  • April – July, 2018:  Artwork installed (dates TBD depending on artwork design and location)
  • July or August, 2018:  Facility and artwork dedication event

Selection Process

An optional project information session was held from on Monday February 13, 2017 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.  At this session, artists heard more about the project and site, had the opportunity to ask questions, and learned how to create and submit a competitive application.  You can watch a video recording of the information session here.

Qualifications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of representation from the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Public Art Selection Committee, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, veterans’ organizations, and the community at large.  The panel will select three finalists and compensate each $1,000 plus travel expenses to create a conceptual proposal. Finalists will have the opportunity to meet with the project team, research the program, and understand the site as they develop their proposal.  The panel will reconvene to review finalists’ proposals and select an artist to create their proposed artwork. Upon approval, the artist will then be commissioned to complete the design, fabricate, and install the proposed artwork.

Selection Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Artistic quality:  artist’s submission displays a record of appropriate, yet innovative, concepts brought to a site or project, and documents creative and stylistically distinctive solutions to design and site challenges
  • Aesthetic sensibility:  artist’s work displays an aesthetic that would be desirable for this project
  • Technical ability:  artist’s submission indicates skill with materials and techniques similar to those that would be required for this project
  • Experience:  artist’s submission has indicated familiarity with clients and conditions similar to those that would be used on this project, or has demonstrated the ability on past projects to quickly acquire the skills needed to be successful on a project similar to this one
  • Process:  artist’s submission indicates that the working relationship will be pleasant and the completed project will successfully meet likely challenges, including completing all documentation and managing the given project budget

What to Submit

Please provide the following information in the indicated digital format on ONE CD or other portable medium (such as a flash drive); please label your CD “PIKE YMCA PUBLIC ART”.

  • Cover Letter / Statement of Approach: This letter should be submitted digitally as a Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file, no longer than one typed letter-sized page using 12-point font and 1-inch margins on all sides. It should discuss your general artistic approach, why you are interested in this commission, anything you feel uniquely qualifies you to create this artwork, and how you would go about creating a conceptual design. Please do not submit any details about a potential artwork:  this is not a request for a proposal!
  • Applicant Information: Please submit a professional resume or CV, no longer than 3 pages, outlining your artistic experience and education. Ensure that the listed artist contact information is current, complete and reliable. This should be a digital file in Word or PDF format.
  • References:  Please submit a list of three to five individuals (ideally, these are past public art clients) who are familiar with your work from past projects and can speak to the likelihood of a successful outcome. Full contact information (name, title, affiliation, phone numbers, email addresses and land mail address) should be provided for each individual. This should be a digital file in Word or PDF format.
  • Work Samples: (up to 10 digital images)
    • Please submit photographic examples of completed or previously proposed public art that best represent your experience, style, and ability as it would apply to this project.  If you have not previously completed any commissioned public art, you may also submit images of any other pieces that best represent your work over the past 5 years in the style, medium and/or aesthetic you intend for the current opportunity
    • Submit JPG files ONLY, please!  If your artwork necessitates the inclusion of video files, please use .MOV format and limit duration to 2 minutes
    • Files should be of good quality, larger than 3” x 5” at 72 dpi and limited to 2 MB file size
    • Do not submit hard copies – submit electronic files only
    • You may submit detailed images of individual artworks within the 10-image limit.
    • Name the files according to the following format:  LastName_01.jpg, LastName_02.jpg, etc.
  • Work Sample List: Include a list of the work samples included on the CD in numerical order and provide the following information about each of the samples: name/title of piece, year completed, client name, location, medium, dimensions, process, design challenge and solution, commission amount, and any other applicable and pertinent information.  If it was not a commissioned piece, please provide a very brief statement of the intent of the artwork.  Here is an example of a an entry:
  • 1. Smith_01.jpg Searching and Finding, 2009, Arts Council of Indianapolis, 123 N. Main Street, Indianapolis, IN, artists’ acrylics hand-painted on previously painted brick, 10’ x 30’, $50,000.  The mural was intended to highlight the neighborhood culture and was developed after a series of neighborhood meetings.

How to Apply

Please mail or deliver your submission on a CD or flash drive to arrive no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 2017 to:

Julia Moore, Director of Public Art

Arts Council of Indianapolis

924 N. Pennsylvania St.

Indianapolis, IN  46204

Do not email your submission!  Do not submit via a Dropbox or other filesharing system.

Additional Resources – Example of a modern YMCA with features similar to those that will be provided in the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA

Please be sure to also review the site renderings below.


QUESTIONS?  Contact Julia Moore, Director of Public Art at the Arts Council of Indianapolis: or (317) 631-3301 x240.


Notices and Disclaimers

Neither the Arts Council of Indianapolis, nor the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, nor any person or entity, creates any obligation, expressed or implied, by issuance of this announcement or by receipt and consideration of any responses. The Arts Council and the YMCA reserve the right to reject any applicant, even an applicant previously selected, or to terminate the selection process at any time for any reason without prior notice.  In the event of insufficient number or quality of submissions, the Arts Council and the YMCA reserve the right to directly solicit submissions from individual artists or to invite an artist to develop a concept without submitting a response to the current Request for Qualifications.

All decisions made during the selection process are final, with disputes subject to review only by the Arts Council. By submitting qualifications, artists agree to adhere to all the policies, procedures, rules and guidelines that have been, or will be, disclosed to them by representatives of the Arts Council and/or the YMCA.

An agreement summarizing all applicable policies, procedures, rules, regulations, terms and conditions will be signed between the YMCA and the selected artist prior to beginning conceptual or design work.