Bloomington Seeks Public Art for Switchyard Park

Bloomington Seeks Public Art for Switchyard Park

 Bloomington, IN, Unknown

The City of Bloomington, through the Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) seeks an artist or artist team to create a unique, durable, site-specific artwork at Switchyard Park in the area known as “The Platform.” The BAC is interested in a public artwork to be attached or installed, depending on design, on the west or east side exterior of the Splash Pad building.

Budget:  $40,000

Eligibility: Professional artists, designers, and architects age 18 or over

Deadline:  12/21/2018

For full RFQ with site renderings, email Sean Starowitz at


Switchyard Park is a 65-acre, $34-million dollar park to be substantially complete on November 2019. The Park is located at 245 W. Grimes Ln., which is the former McDoel Railroad Switchyard which served as a regional hub for railroad activity and commerce from 1892 until 2000 when CSX Railroad made the decision to phase out its services. The last train left the switchyard in 2004. The City of Bloomington acquired the railroad property in 2009, and Bloomington Parks and Recreation and city officials held a Switchyard Park groundbreaking at the B-Line Trail trailhead at Grimes Lane on May 11, 2018.

Plans for Switchyard Park include:

  • Pavilion – 11,000 square feet of rental banquet and festival indoor/outdoor space.  Garage doors along the length of the building raise and lower for open-air events
  • Stage – outdoor performance stage and Grand Lawn that can accommodate 5,000 to 8,000 people
  • Community Gardens – Thirty-nine 4′ x 8′ raised garden beds available for rent
  • Courts & Fitness – Four pickleball, three bocce ball, and one basketball court plus nine fitness stations
  • Splash Pad – Water spray features with shaded seating and a restroom/changing area with a picnic shelter nearby
  • Playground – Hillside slides, climbing net, balance beam, interactive music play equipment, and face-to-face parent/child swings
  • Skate Park – 12,580 square feet with thirty different obstacles/events
  • Dog Park – Two fenced areas (large and small dog) totaling 4.7 acres
  • Trees – Six hundred trees and two thousand reforestation seedlings


The Bloomington Arts Commission will commission a work that represents the longstanding history of the site while looking to the future. The artwork should:

  • Pay tribute to the legacy of the site (railroad and labor history, Bloomington’s Underground Railroad legacy)
  • Represent strong and compelling artistic concepts
  • Respond to the unique built environment of Switchyard Park

The exterior wall is approximately 43 ft long by 11 ft tall.

The artwork must be durable, low maintenance, appropriate to the location, and able to weather Bloomington’s climate. The artwork may not contain mechanical water features. The artist/artist team should take into consideration the high amount of pedestrian viewership from within the park. No expectation should be made that it will be kept secure – design and fabrication must take into account the likelihood of unsupervised viewer interaction.


Artists, designers, and architects are encouraged to join in to a public webinar to talk with Economic and Sustainable Development Staff to review the site, location and project on November 7th at 1:30 PM EST. Please email to RSVP.


We have made preliminary contact with fabricators (all Indiana-based) who are interested in helping artists with limited public art experience (whether that be fabrication and design, appropriate materials to be used, etc.). If you’re an artist who has considered public art before but was unsure how to execute your vision, please consider reaching out to these businesses:

Clutch Fabrication and Design:

Ignition Arts, LLC:

LaMantia Studio:

Cyclops Studios LLC:

Huddleston Design:

Weber Group, Inc.:


Artists who wish to respond but lack the capital for up-front expenses may be eligible to receive a CDFI business loan. If desired, the City will assist the selected artist/team to pursue funding through a CDFI.


This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) does not require artists to submit actual design drawings. However, each artist or artist/team is required to include a separate one-page description outlining their conceptual and material approach to the project. This will assist the Selection Panel in choosing finalists who best fit this project.

The Selection Panel will review the qualifications, including a letter of interest, artist’s conceptual and material approach to the project, resume/vitae, images of past work, image list, and references. Given the social and historical significance of the Switchyard Park site, the Selection Panel is particularly interested in artists from minority and underrepresented communities. One of the City’s objectives for the One Percent for the Arts Program is to encourage artists new to the public art process to consider this opportunity. (see information above about CDFI loans & fabrication services). Each application will be evaluated in accordance with the artistic quality, project goals, and process outlined above. The Selection Panel shall choose up to three finalists to recommend.

Through interviews and review of the conceptual drawings, an artist/artist team will be selected. The selected artist/artist team will be put under contract to refine their design for the project. With final design approval, the artwork will be fabricated by the artist/artist team and installed in coordination with City staff.


Applicants must demonstrate the following qualifications and qualities:

  • Artistic excellence
  • Conceptual and material approach, in accordance with the project’s stated goals, values, theme, and context
  • Adherence to the guidelines outlined in the RFQ
  • Openness to working collaboratively with the project team members, and City staff


Please submit Letter of Interest, Concept, Resume, Image List, and References in PDF format.

  1. Letter of Interest: 1 page maximum.  Summarize your qualifications and qualities relevant to the project. The entire letter should be no longer than one (1) page.
  2. Conceptual & Material Approach to the Project: 2 page maximum.  On no more than two (2) pages, outline your likely conceptual approach to the project, including what types of materials you might use to implement your concept. Drawings are not necessary, but if included, should be submitted on 8 ½ x 11 paper, using no more than four (4) pages.
  3. Professional Resume: 4 page maximum. Outline your experience as an artist (no longer than four [4] typed pages). In the case of a team application, include resumes for each team member.
  4. Images: Digital Images.  Provide one set of 15 – 20 JPEG images of past work numbered in priority order of desired presentation. Images within the PDF packet should have maximum dimensions of 1024 x 768 pixels and minimum dimensions of 720 x 480 pixels. Each PDF must include (at minimum) the artist’s name, title of the work, medium, and size. Installations or three-dimensional work may be illustrated by multiple images. If JPEGs cannot be inserted into a PDF packet, they must each be labeled in the order as follows: LastnameFirstname-1.jpg; LastnameFirstname-2.jpg; LastnameFirstname-3.jpg; etc.
  5. Annotated Image List: Digital images.  The annotated image list must correspond with the order of the images to be shown and must include the following information: artist’s name, title of artwork, medium, size, date of artwork completion, location and any project details such as budget, commissioning agency, etc.
  6. Professional References: 1 page maximum.  Provide the names and contact information of three references with whom you have worked for or who have commissioned your work in the past. Actual letters of reference are not required.
  7. Optional: 5 page maximum.  Selections of support materials such as reviews, news articles, and other related information may be included.

Please note that the design, ownership, copyright, and original source (Illustrator, Photoshop, PDF) files must remain with the City and that all work product created as part of this submission will be the sole property of the City. Applications received after 5:00 p.m.(EST), December 21st, 2018, will not be considered.


Please submit your materials via email or filesharing link to

Packets can also be mailed to (digital submission preferred):

Sean Starowitz

Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts

Department of Economic and Sustainable Development

401 N. Morton St., Suite 150

Bloomington, IN 47404

QUESTIONS?  Contact Sean Starowitz,