Burning Man Project and Washoe County are pleased to announce an opportunity for artists to create an artwork that is representative of the emblematic iconography of Washoe County Nevada that will serve as two trailhead installations for a 200-mile trail of art, culture and place memory. Engendered and imagined as a story trail that encompasses the geography that spans between the trail’s two points of initiation of Crystal Peak Park and the town of Gerlach, the two installations will be derived from the symbols and stories of meaning shared in community story circles in early 2018.
The call is open to artists, artist teams, community groups working with designers, architects, landscape architects, or place-keeping experts who are interested in creating an exterior public art installation expressing the community’s relationship to place and stories of local culture. As we examine the relationship of people to place, of urban to rural, of geography to history, we invite proposals that will creatively contribute to the conversation, animating the concepts of people and their connection to place, while responding to the ideas and stories generated by local residents.
Burning Man Project and Washoe County, Nevada, through support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the County’s Community Special Projects program, will commission a public art installation that actively seeks to advance the general public’s understanding of the place where they live, the sense of connection to story, and a common bond across communities that spread from Verdi to Gerlach along the Truckee River. While one artwork is to be created, it will be fabricated as either two identical pieces or as two pieces that speak to one another in ways that are coherent and relate to their locations (one for each location).
The trail is deliberately located close to the Nevada/California border, along the river with an inception point at one end of Crystal Peak Park where it’s possible to enjoy the natural beauty and bike in the direction of Reno and beyond. This inception point reaches completion in the small town of Gerlach after winding its way through the cities of Reno and Sparks, other small towns along the way, and the Pyramid Lake tribal lands. Public art and design are essential components to conversations about people, place, story, and meaning and Washoe County and Burning Man Project expect that this art and story trail will serve to bring a concerted dialogue to the many communities along the trail about the quality of living together, making home, and caring for the places where we reside.
Washoe County has a population of over 440,000. Communities in the county include the City of Reno, population 241,445, City of Sparks population 90,264, and the most remote community Gerlach 100 miles north with a population of 206. Tribal governments are the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.
The trail project germinated from community and partner meetings of the One Truckee River (OTR) planning process; cooperative projects between the County, City of Reno and Burning Man to bring Art to our public places; and in combination with County’s efforts to address the needs of rural residents. Synergy of the vision and efforts prompted the County to seek this initial phase of development for the Trail.
The Re-Imagine Reno 2016 gathering of public input report shows clear consensus around a desire for outdoor activities and arts and culture. The 2016 OTR Management Plan identifies: improving aesthetics along the river, identifying locations for potential placement of public art/murals on the river; creating partnerships to promote river beautification; and developing opportunities for community to share river stories/images relative to our natural and cultural history, as action items. The Trail fits into our community’s civic vision and complements the OTR plan. Furthermore, Gerlach’s Community Assessment 2011 identifies the need for recreational and tourist activities. The Trail promotes existing sites, interactive experiences, is free, accessible and adaptable to future public art.
The selected installation for this project will reflect a conscientious understanding of the community we serve. The art installation should be conceptual, forward thinking, and reflect ideas expressly related to stories of place and iconography that is intimately associated with the geography of Washoe County. Additionally, the project can explore a range of artistic expression, from low-tech installations to contemporary uses of technology, including interactivity, as well as potentially incorporating the use of real-time and other data from the Truckee River or other data inputs related to the population and topography of Nevada. The organization will not limit the work to any specific material or medium and is open to a wide range of artistic styles. While the art installation itself is not limited to any particular media, the installation should have a sense of prominence and permanence in the space as defined by a 10-year minimum lifespan, though the proposed project can include event-based or more ephemeral or temporary components to the installations as a part of the conceptual activation for the work (note: this sort of activation is not required and will not serve to make a proposal more competitive).
When contemplating the installation(s) submission the artist should consider how to propose thoughts and ideas that can be responsive to story collection circles that will take place during the early phases of the project once the artist is selected. While ideas and proposals that include concepts that can be ultimately realized are welcome – thoughtful consideration about how community stories and ideas of place can be integrated or utilized as a point of departure for how the artwork is developed, designed, and executed is an important factor in final selection.
More explicitly – final designs for the project will be reviewed as a part of the project and proposal submissions should rely heavily on an established history of work created that is site specific and responsive to community input. In short while we want to review your project concepts and design ideas – these ideas should not be so fixed that they cannot evolve as a consequence of the process of story collection that will occur in the first phases of the project (just before and just after artist selection).
Additionally, it is important to note that the artwork/installation will be complemented by augmented reality/mobile interfaces that use the installation(s) iconography as the basis for an interactive story sharing and photo collection, fact-finding, and trail-blazing experience for residents and visitors. In this way, while the trail’s inception points are commemorated by the artist installations, there will be additional activation through signage that references the artwork in multiple locations where story collection and place memory can be ongoing, interactive, and reflective of the communities extended narrative of history, art, and culture.
The Artwork/installation should be designed for a location on available land at Crystal Peak Park. Please review Location Map for specific details about location. The second artwork site will be situated in Gerlach and is under consideration with community input.
Artwork shall directly attach to existing structures on the site (although some creation of a platform for the artwork may be provided by the County). All artwork should be designed to install on a flat surface and be able to be anchored into the ground or adhered directly to asphalt.
Concepts that integrate seamlessly into the surrounding environment and infrastructure are encouraged.
Applicants should consider potential obstacles during the process, such as logistics, public or private approvals, manufacturing, and testing and express these issues within the proposal. The selected applicant(s) should be prepared to engage with the Washoe County, Burning Man Project’s Civic Arts Team, the One Truckee River coalition, and community stakeholders during the entirety of the process.
October 17, 2017: SUBMISSIONS OPEN. Burning Man Project available to respond to questions during submission period.
December 18, 2017: SUBMISSIONS CLOSE. 11:59pm PST.
February 1, 2018: Semifinalists Selected. Artists Notified.
February 17-26, 2018: Semifinalist Presentation (s). Artists to submit a graphic presentation and mockup, interviews conducted (via Skype or in-person).
March 1, 2018: Selected Artist Announced.
June, 2019: PROJECT COMPLETION.