Public Art Sought for New CSU Campus

Public Art Sought for New CSU Campus


 Denver, CO, Unknown

Information is requested from artists and/or artist teams interested in creating site specific public artworks(s) for the new Colorado State University System campus, Spur, at National Western Center in Denver, Colorado.

BUDGET: $1,055,000 for eight locations (individual budgets $30,000-$400,000)

ELIGIBILITY:  Professional artists

DEADLINE: 1/24/2020

Review full RFQ and apply here.


“The Colorado State University System exists to support, enhance, and protect the unique missions of its constituent institutions and to encourage collaboration that benefits students and Colorado.”  – Colorado State University System Mission Statement

The Colorado State University System has three campuses, each with distinct roles and missions—Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado State University-Pueblo and Colorado State University Global. The CSU campuses serve the state, region, country, and world, educating nearly 60,000 students annually. Highly skilled graduates number almost 9,000 per year, and more than 250,000 alumni live around the globe. The CSU System involves a total operating budget of more than $1.15 billion, with annual research expenditures at the Fort Collins campus totaling $375 million. More information is available at

Colorado State University has a history with the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) dating back to the first Stock Show in 1906. The CSU System will build upon this history to create the CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center. Spur will provide educational outreach, connect youth and families to topics at the intersection of food, water, and health, and inspire lifelong learners to address local and global challenges.


In 2022, the Colorado State University System will open its doors to Spur, a space like no other: three buildings focused on water, animal and human health, and food and agriculture. On the banks of the South Platte River, within the redeveloped National Western Center, Spur will be a CSU campus that serves as a front door to the world-class research and education provided within each of the CSU System institutions.

The CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center (NWC) will expand CSU’s programs into a dynamic, growing, urban area, with strong links to cities and rural areas in the entire State of Colorado and the West, and ties to international audiences. Spur will also expand upon the CSU System’s commitment to sustainability (CSU Fort Collins was the first Platinum rated campus for sustainability), creating facilities and programs that advance and demonstrate sustainable design.

CSU will be constructing three transformative facilities at the NWC: the Water Building, which will focus on innovation and research in water; the CSU Center for Food and Agriculture, focused on teaching and research and development in food and agriculture; and the Animal Health Complex, which will create spaces for exploration and services related to animal health. All three facilities are intended to be busy, public spaces—CSU Spur is working with our education teams and NWC partners History Colorado the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to plan for world-class experiences for life-long learners that are unique to these three facilities.

The surrounding neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea provide a one-of-a-kind setting and are home to communities that CSU is committed to serving. The rich history of these neighborhoods, and the recent neighborhood plans that outline the communities’ goals for the future, create a foundation for community interaction that is the hallmark of a land grant university.

Engaging art experiences at Spur will bring visitors closer to the future of food, water and animal health. Spur is a unique opportunity to inspire current and future students, alumni, employees, and visitors and to reimagine the possibilities for art. Please reference the Spur Art Masterplan available at


There are eight artwork locations designated within the project scope for artists to apply for. All facilities will be LEED Gold or higher, so art will need to be LEED-compliant. The locations are as follows (refer to IMAGES 1-2  in full RFQ). For more information, please reference the Spur Art Masterplan, available at

  • Bridge – Interior and/or Exterior – Defining Landmark of the CSU campus – uplifting, eye catching, monumental beacon. (budget: up to $400,000)
  • Northeast Plaza and Façade of Animal Health Center – Awareness entry for the CSU campus. A transition moment in the district to an educational and experiential campus. (budget: up to $110,000)
  • Plaza of CSU Center – A welcoming space for entry to the CSU campus. Lounging, playful, entertaining. (budget: up to $100,000)
  • Water Building Backyard – This is where we play. All ages playground and interactive space. (budget: up to $125,000)
  • Water Building Alley – An imaginative artwork located on the ceiling, walls, paving, etc., of the Alley between the new architecture of the Water Building and the old McConnell building. This art activates the surrounding alley and invites guests to explore. (budget: up to $140,000)
  • Water Building Interior, Main Lobby. (budget: up to $75,000)
  • CSU Center Ag Discovery. (budget: up to $75,000)
  • Animal Health Center Main Lobby, recommended as Stair Activation. (budget: up to $30,000)


Four selection criteria have been identified that apply to Spur public art selection and implementation. The Selection Committee will consider the following:

  • Innovation: Artworks high in innovation show new ways of thinking about existing materials, locations or connection with artwork in a public setting.
  • Engagement: Artworks high in Engagement thoughtfully and deliberately respond to the site and engage audiences. These artworks may include audience participation in the visioning or concept development and/or creation or fabrication of the artwork.
  • Imagination: Artworks that feature a high level of imagination use play, delight, surprise or entertainment to spur curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, or discussion.
  • Relevance: Artworks featuring relevant references related to the historic site, land use, cultural history, and surrounding communities.

There are three different artwork typologies integrated into proposed plans to keep in mind for specific locations when submitting your application (refer to IMAGE 3 in full RFQ):

  • Landmark: A visual announcement of place
  • Plaza: An area for social gatherings
  • Play: Engaging with details of surprise and delight


  • January 24, 2020 – Deadline for receipt of submittal via CaFÉ™ system
  • February 3, 2020 – Selection committee meets to select Semi-Finalists
  • Mid-February, 2020 – Notification of Semi-Finalist selection
  • March 20, 2020 – Artist presentations to the Art Selection Committee at the Colorado Office of Economic Development in Denver, CO
  • Late March/Early April, 2020 – Artists selected
  • 2022: Buildings scheduled for completion; artwork installation will be arranged in correlation with CSU.  See detailed Spur Facilities Design and Construction Schedule below.

Animal Health Complex (AHC)

  • 100% Construction Documents:  January 31 2020
  • Construction Start:  March 09, 2020
  • Construction Finish:  July 08, 2020

Water Building

  • 100% Design Development:  March 06, 2020
  • 100% Construction Documents:  August 2020
  • Construction Start:  October 2020
  • Construction Finish:  June 2020

CSU Center for Food and Agriculture (CSUC)

  • 100% Design Development:  January 24, 2020
  • 100% Construction Documents:  June 2020
  • Construction Start:  October 2020
  • Construction Finish:  December 2021

The Art Selection Committee will review all complete submittals. A short list of semifinalists will be invited to prepare and present a final proposal in person. In-state artists will be paid an honorarium of $1,000, and out-of-state artists will be paid an honorarium of $1,500. Final selection(s) will be made from the semifinalists’ proposals.


  1. Digital Images: In order to be considered for this project, the applicant must electronically submit no less than six (6) and no more than eight (8) digital images of previously completed artworks.
  2. Resume: Submit a current résumé that outlines professional accomplishments as an artist. If applying as a team, please submit a resume for each artist, with the lead artist’s resume first.
  3. Statement of Interest: A statement of interest of 250 words or less must be submitted. It should briefly outline the interest in the specific opportunity and applicable experience.


All applications for this project are being accepted through the online platform, CaFÉTM( ). No hard copy or emailed submissions will be accepted. There is no application fee to apply or to use the CaFÉTM online application system. Assistance in using the CaFÉTM system is available during regular business hours by calling 303-629-1166, 1-888-562-7232 or email Instructions on how to use CaFÉTM and format images can be found at

QUESTIONS? Contact: Ruth Bruno,