In August 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to improve the east end of the Chicago Riverwalk. These improvements are part of ongoing efforts to build upon the success of the Riverwalk and further enhance visitors’ experience from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive. The City will improve older sections of the Riverwalk east of Michigan Avenue to help create even more opportunities for residents and visitors to interact with and enjoy the Chicago River.
Since 2011, the Chicago River has been transformed into the city’s next recreational park, with vast opportunities for residents and visitors to access and enjoy the river at almost every mile. The Riverwalk has quickly become one of the city’s most popular destinations for art, music, dining and the enjoyment of natural habitats, and continues to offer new and improved ways to enjoy Chicago’s waterfronts and architecture.
SUMMARY OF THE OPPORTUNITY
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) invites professional artists and artist teams to submit their qualifications for a public art design project in response to sites along Riverwalk East, located on the south bank of the Chicago River, between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. Through the Riverwalk East Public Art Design Project, artists at the height of their field will develop ambitious, innovative design proposals that activate and enhance this beloved natural amenity and recreation area.
This opportunity is open to artists and artist teams with a demonstrated history of completing large-scale, outdoor public art projects, with a preference for those with experience completing large-scale art and infrastructure projects. Following the RFQ application deadline, DCASE will convene a panel of arts professionals to review the applications. The committee will select 3-4 finalists, who will be commissioned to develop comprehensive public art design proposals responding to multiple sites along Riverwalk East.
Finalists will have an opportunity to tour the site, meet with stakeholders, review existing plans, and receive community input. Finalists will work in collaboration with architects Muller and Muller (Muller2), 2FM and DCASE staff to develop comprehensive public art plans that respond to both current site conditions and forthcoming developments. Following the design development phase, finalists will present their design proposals to cultural, city and community stakeholders.
Successful public art proposals will navigate site conditions with a bold and creative vision. They will preserve the integrity of the natural environment, and the accessibility and functionality of infrastructure, recreational and pedestrian areas. Designs will include elements of an appropriate size, scale and orientation to engage viewing from multiple potential vantage points, including the Riverwalk, the river itself, and the street level above. They will be suitably engineered for their intended environment; only durable and resilient media will be considered, though integrated light- and/or sound-based elements are also of interest in some areas. Successful public art proposals will create a sense of place and contribute to Riverwalk East’s function as an esplanade and destination for city residents and visitors alike.
Improvements to Riverwalk East include changes to the path to re-orient visitor’s experience with the river; improved landscaping, drainage and paving; outdoor public seating and viewing areas; improved accessibility via a new pedestrian connection at Field Boulevard and a new elevator at Columbus Drive; a children’s play area; a proposed submarine memorial, new vendor signage, storefronts, and public restrooms; a new market west of Michigan Avenue to highlight neighborhood businesses, and new public art.
For Riverwalk East concept renderings by design firm Muller2, please see presentation 2FM Chicago Riverwalk - Short-Term Improvements: State Street to Lakeshore Drive, here attached as a supplemental document, and included with the RFQ summary found on the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs web site.
ARTIST / ARTIST TEAM ELIGIBILITY
This opportunity is open to professional artists and artist teams with a demonstrated history of completing large-scale, outdoor public art projects. Experience completing large-scale art and infrastructure projects is preferred. Artist teams must include a professional lead artist, but may also include other specialists including but not limited to: commercial and/or landscape architects, designers, fabricators, electrical and/or audio engineers. Artist teams should have demonstrated history and experience working together on previous projects.
* All dates are approximate.
CaFÉ RFQ (open call + short list)
09/17/18 - 10/26/18
(approximately 6 weeks)
Review of qualifications
10/29/18 - 11/09/18
(approx. 2 wks.)
Committee selects 3-4 finalists
11/12/18 - 11/16/18
(approx. 1 wk.)
Notification of finalists / Thanksgiving week
11/19/18 - 11/23/18
(approx. 1 wk.)
Finalists’ and stakeholders’ site visit / public meeting with community input
12/03/18 - 12/07/18
(approx. 1 wk.)
Finalists’ design development
12/10/18 - 01/25/19
(approx. 7 wks.)
01/28/19 - 02/01/19
(approx. 1 wk.)
Finalists will be paid a $10,000 honorarium to develop proposals.
Riverwalk East is in the thorium monitoring area of the Streeterville neighborhood. Finalists should be aware that all disruptions to the soil in the Riverwalk East project area require environmental monitoring. 2FM can cover costs associated with required monitoring.
Application is available via CaFÉ (www.callforentry.org) beginning 9/17/18. Interested applicants should register with CaFÉ in order to view the application. Deadline for submissions is 10/26/18 11:59pm, CST.
A. KEY DATES
Request for Qualifications opens: 9/17/18
Request for Qualifications closes: 10/26/18 11:59pm, CST
Finalists notified: 11/23/18
B. SELECTION PROCESS
An open call is posted on CaFÉ (www.callforentry.org).
Following the application deadline, DCASE will convene a panel of arts professionals to review the applications.
The selection committee will select 3-4 finalists, who will be commissioned to develop public art design proposals responding to multiple sites along Riverwalk East.
Finalists will have an opportunity to tour the site, meet with stakeholders, review existing plans, and receive community input at a public meeting before commencing a 6-week design development phase.
Finalists will work as team leaders with architects Muller2 to develop comprehensive public art plans that respond to both current site conditions and forthcoming developments with creative ingenuity and technical proficiency.
Following the 6-week design development phase, finalists will present their design proposals to a selection committee comprising representatives from DCASE, 2FM, Muller2, the 42nd Ward, and arts professionals at a public charrette.
C. WHAT TO SUBMIT
Each artist or artist team may submit an entirely digital application.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Applications should include:
a.) Ten (10) total images of past large-scale public art and infrastructure projects by the artist or the artist team’s lead artist(s).
b.) One (1) video, edited to no more than two (2) minutes in length, may also be submitted but is not required.
c.) Annotated Image List: An annotated image list that includes the title, media, year completed, dimensions, location (if site-specific) project budget (if applicable) timeline, and client or commissioning entity for each corresponding image.
i.) If a video is submitted, please include two to three (2-3) sentences to describe its context.
d.) Client/commissioning entity references for at least three (3) large-scale public art projects led by the artist or the team’s lead artist(s).
i.) Include name, affiliation, telephone, email and mailing address for each reference.
e.) If applying as an artist team, a list of key team members and their roles/affiliations.
f.) A two- (2) page resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
i.) If applying as an artist team, provide one resume or CV for each team member.
g.) A one- (1) page letter of interest stating the artist’s or artist team’s specific interest in Riverwalk East public art opportunities.