Call for 2025 Temporary Public Art Proposals

2025 Call to Artists Temporary Public Art (PDF)

Temporary Public Art Information Sessions

(we highly recommend attending one of the available information sessions)

The City of Nanaimo is seeking proposals for Temporary Public Art to be initiated in 2024 and realized in 2025. 

The Temporary Public Art Program offers artists of diverse backgrounds and skillsets the opportunity to create artwork for public spaces in Nanaimo. Artists can propose artworks that vary in scale, scope, and medium, including temporary sculptural installations, social practice and community engaged artist projects and artwork that is integrated into landscape, architecture or civic infrastructure. The City of Nanaimo’s Temporary Public Art Program supports artists in the creation of new works, by providing necessary resources and staff support through the course of project development and realization. 

Please note that the call for 2025 Temporary Public Art emphasizes site-specificity, public engagement, and includes the option to propose projects for pre-approved sites should the artist wish to do so. Alternate proposed locations throughout the City will be considered. 

This application process will be completed in two stages. Initial applications will be reviewed and candidates selected following a panel review and possible interview process. The second stage will involve collaborating with City staff on potential public engagement, establishing budget parameters and scope, and final proposal approval. 

Proposed projects will be realized in 2025 and must be able to endure for a period of 5 years. Selected artists will receive a fee of $7,500 for the design and implementation of a project, and may propose expenses toward the production or realization of their project up to $5,000.

Objectives of the Temporary Public Art Program

  • To encourage the creation of publicly accessible artwork that has artistic merit and community benefit
  • To foster neighbourhood pride, identity and creativity by supporting community-driven art projects
  • To create memorable spaces and experiences
  • To support artists in producing public art
  • To employ sustainable practices and enhance the environment and community resiliency
  • To reflect the diversity, needs and ambitions of the cultural community
  • To provide a sense of place and celebration

Eligibility

Who can apply?
The Temporary Public Art Program is open to all artists, working individually or in collaboration. For the purposes of this call, the definition of an artist is a professional who:

  • has completed basic training in art or an apprenticeship with an accomplished practitioner in the field, or 
  • maintains an artistic practice and has publicly shared an independent body of their work for at least two years, or
  • is recognized as an artist by peers within their community

You do not have to be a resident of Nanaimo, but you must have significant experience with, and relationship to, this place.

Partnerships are also encouraged and welcomed between artists and non-profit arts groups, businesses, community service groups, community associations, multicultural societies, and historic societies. However, please note that preference will be given to individuals artists.

Who cannot apply?

For-profit entities (such as small business, corporations, developers) undertaking public art projects. Artists who are registered as a business or in partnership with a business may apply, as long as they retain creative control over the proposed project.

Inclusion & Accessibility

The City encourages applications from those who experience barriers of access due to gender identity/expression, racial identity or perception of disability. Should you experience challenges or barriers in this application process or require additional support, we encourage you to reach out to cultureandevents@nanaimo.ca (250-755-4483). The City is committed to improving accessibility for all by identifying, removing, and preventing barriers.

What types of projects are eligible?

Artists can propose artworks that vary in scale, scope, and medium, including performative artworks. Public art projects need to be freely accessible to the public, be it a temporary event or a sculptural installation.

Application Process

All proposals will be evaluated by a Selection Panel of City of Nanaimo Staff and members of the Art in Public Spaces Working Group.

Please note: This is a multi-step process.

Short-listed artworks proposed with Indigenous content will require approval of content and site location from Snuneymuxw First Nation prior to final selection. This approval process can be completed prior to an artist’s Temporary Public Art application being submitted, or in collaboration with City staff following initial short-listed selection.

STAGE 1

At this stage in the application, artists should offer an idea for a new public artwork. 

Requirements: 

  1. A detailed Statement of Intent about your Temporary Public Art project including: the artwork you’re proposing, how you see the work situated in location, how your project relates to Nanaimo and/or the location selected/ proposed, how your project relates to your artistic practice, and how you intend to approach concept and project development. (1 to 2 pages maximum). 
  2. Up to 15 images, or up to 15 pages of materials in PDF or paper form. You may include up to 2 videos that offer context or are indicative of previous work. Supporting materials must have a corresponding descriptive listing, such as an image list.
  3. A resume for all artists/lead collaborators who will be undertaking the project.
  4. If a project proposal engages with Indigenous content, please clarify whether the approval of Snuneymuxw First Nations has been acquired and/or whether you intend to seek approval in collaboration with the City of Nanaimo. 
When considering what to include in your proposal, note that the emphasis is on a Statement of Intent about a project. It is expected that the work has not been made and the concept not fully realized, but will be developed in Stage 2 with support from City staff. The Selection Panel will review all proposal materials. Please include a preliminary set of drawings or other relevant supporting materials such as examples of previous artwork that demonstrate your artistic ability to undertake the work.

Should it be deemed necessary, the Selection Panel will contact artists and schedule brief interviews to discuss project proposals in more detail.

STAGE 2 Project Development & Final Approval

Selected artists will be offered feedback from the Selection Panel, and will continue the development of their proposed project. This will include communication and collaboration with City staff on potential opportunities for public engagement as these strategies will benefit and/or be appropriate to project proposals. 

Artists will seek final project approval from City staff and the Selection Panel by providing finalized details of proposed projects. This may include: design drawings, production timelines, research on the durability and availability of proposed materials, evidence of feedback and consultation with public and relevant community groups/ stakeholders, budget development, specific placement of artwork at project site. When approval has been confirmed, fabrication of projects may begin. 

  • Public engagement developed with support from City staff may include:
    • Identifying impacted community groups, stakeholders, businesses, and/ or cultural partners
    • Communication and dialogue with impacted community groups and interested public
    • Engaged research: collection of information on local issues, needs, and goals
    • Opportunities for engagement/ feedback in project development process
  • City support & resources in development of public engagement may include:
    • Collaborative brainstorming on effective strategies for public engagement
    • Support through online platforms including social media channels
    • On-site support and location scouting for in-person programming/ workshops
    • Liaising with relevant cultural partners, community groups, neighbourhood associations, businesses, and so on. 
Projects will emerge from a process of listening and engaging; information gathered through public engagement is woven into processes and final project development.

Examples of engagement strategies include: social media engagement and information sharing; public surveys; virtual information sessions; interactive public art programs; one-on-one consultations with local businesses; presenting to neighbourhood associations; engagement of local media; polling of public in decision-making; and so on.

Note: We recognize public engagement cannot involve every stakeholder in every decision, but expect artists to make efforts to be inclusive and involve as diverse an array of impacted communities and members of the public as possible. Community consensus is not an expectation, nor a requirement for final project approval.

Criteria for Selection

Proposals are reviewed by the Selection Panel based on the following criteria (order listed does not indicate the order of importance):

  • Strength and creativity of past work
  • Demonstrated ability to produce and present work
  • Feasibility of the project timeline and available budget
  • Understanding of priorities outlined in this Call including a commitment to collaborating with City staff in the development of public engagement opportunities when appropriate
  • Connection and relevance to place
  • Engagement with critical dialogues in contemporary art
  • Approval by Snuneymuxw First Nation if the project involves Indigenous content (Note: Can be acquired pre-submission or post-shortlisting with support from City staff). 

How to Submit

Submissions must be received no later than 11:59pm, Pacific Time, August 11, 2024.

There are two ways to submit:

  1. Submit your application and required documents online using the submission form on our website: Temporary Public Art Submission Form
  2. Drop off your application and required documents in-person to the Culture & Events dropbox, located at the Bowen Complex, 500 Bowen Road. The dropbox is located on the lower level of the building near the tennis courts (Pine Street Entrance). Hand delivered submissions must be in a sealed envelope/package clearly marked:
    Your Name
    Temporary Public Art Program
    City of Nanaimo
    Culture and Events

Questions?

Thank you for your interest! Applicants will only be contacted if they are selected to move forward in the selection process. Artists will be notified of final selection of public art projects in September/October 2024. Questions regarding the Temporary Public Art Program may be directed to Culture & Events at cultureandevents@nanaimo.ca or 250-755-4483.

Last updated: May 13, 2024

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