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Virks Building
Public Art RFQ

Virks Building, Pastore Complex
Cranston, Rhode Island
Budget: $92,400
Application Deadline: August 30, 2016

image of Virks Building

Artwork for the Virks Building in the Pastore Complex, Cranston, Rhode Island will be commissioned by the Rhode Island State Council On the Arts, (RISCA), through Rhode Island’s Public Art Law, which mandates that 1% of all state capital construction and renovation funds be allocated to the purchase and maintenance of public art.  Through this program the State recognizes that “public art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment, and pride for all citizens.” 


If commissioned, RISCA is committed to helping fine artists gain a foothold in the field of public art. Some excellent national resources on best practices include: the Public Art Network: http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-topic/public-art, the Public Art Archive: https://www.publicartarchive.org/ & Forecast Public Art: http://forecastpublicart.org/.


About The Building


Built by the Public Works Administration in 1936 as the main building of its institution, the Virks Building is one of the largest buildings in this part of the city. It features a large portico, overlooking West Road. It was designed by Ambrose J. Murphy of Providence.


The building will house a staff of approximately 250 employees who work for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees the State’s Medicaid program and serves as the driving force for coordination and quality across all of the state’s public health and social service agencies – including the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.”


Selection panelists attended a site visit in June 2016 and determined that a successful commission might contain elements that reference health and healthy families, support, communities, inclusion and hope.

Sites might include art for the front desk, the back wall of the lobby, the lobby vestibule, or exterior work sited on or near the cheek walls of the iconic front stairs.


Other Considerations


The selected artist(s) should be prepared to engage with the community in the building and at large.


The scope of the project will include all labor related to the artist’s installation, drawings, permitting and permit fees, equipment, supervision, testing services, procurement of a RI engineer’s stamp, and all other costs incurred in the delivery of the finished installation.


The final commissioned work must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act: http://www.ada.gov/.


Durability and sustainability of the Work is vital, thus designs with elaborate maintenance requirements should be avoided.



Submission Requirements:


Please note: This Request for Qualifications is the first step in the Met Center public art selection process.  YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SUBMIT A SPECIFIC PROPOSAL. This is a Request For Qualifications, (RFQ), not a Request For Proposals, (RFP).


RISCA will conduct the Virks Building Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ (see below). There is no charge to the artist for applying or for submitting digital images.   At this preliminary selection stage, we are requesting submissions from artists or artist teams consisting of six (6) images representing current work (completed within the past five years) and resumes.


If an artist wants to apply as an individual as well as part of a team, two separate CaFÉ profiles and two separate CaFÉ applications must be completed (i.e., one application submission for you and one for your team).


Applications will be reviewed by the Virks Building Public Art Selection Panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist's work and the artist’s ability to carry out a substantial public art commission. The RFQ process is mainly about the panel’s initial response to the artist’s images.


If selected as a finalist, artists will craft detailed proposals including an itemized budget, scale models and renderings, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid an honorarium of $2,500. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both a site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for travel costs.


No slides or hard copy materials will be accepted for this call. First time CaFÉ applicants must allow enough time to prepare their CaFÉ formatted digital images and electronic submission prior to the deadline.


Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ (tm) web site (www.callforentry.org) and must include:


  1. A current resume for each artist. If you are applying as a team, include all team member resumes within one document.  


  1. Six digital images of relevant artwork. In the Description of Image, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion and a brief description of the artwork if necessary.  Please do not present more than one view of artwork per image.  If you wish to show a "detail", include it within the six (6) artwork images.


Estimated Timeline


August 30, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

Mid-to-late-September 2016: panel meeting for selection of finalists; artist notification

October 2016: Finalist site visits

November 2016: Finalist presentations to selection panel

December 2016: Final approval by RISCA Council

Tbd: Contract signed

Tbd: Work installed


According to law, the final recommendation of the selection panel will be presented to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts who will have final approval of the selection.


Finalist’s site-specific proposals should convey artist’s ideas and plans through designs, renderings and/or scale models with a statement that describes the project's intent, proposed materials, fabrication and installation methods, and an itemized budget. Finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  They will be supplied with plans, photographs, and specific information about the Virks Building and its campus.


A site visit will be scheduled for the finalists.  An honorarium of $2,500 will be awarded to the finalists following presentation of their proposals. The proposals will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain proposals for up to one year for display purposes and the right to reproduce final proposals for documentation and public information purposes.


The Public Art Selection Panel reserves the right to determine which proposal will be funded and the extent of funding. The panel also reserves the right to not accept any final proposal submitted. If the Public Art Selection Panel’s recommendations are approved by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for the selected commission. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.


Selection Criteria


The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:


  1. High artistic quality and suitability of the final proposal in relation to the project description, program goals and site descriptions.


  1. Ability of the Artist’s Team: The artist's ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule.


  1. Value: The quality and scope of the proposed completed work in relation to the commission and fees paid to the artist’s team.


  1. Permanence and durability of materials for this heavily used public facility: It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that all artwork meets safety standards, adheres to building codes and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance.


  1. Collaborative Spirit: Willingness of the artist to consult with the building’s employees, architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, general contractors and building staff (or designated representatives) to assure smooth integration of the artwork into the site and to make necessary adjustments in relation to building codes and other construction issues.


Artist Eligibility


This call is open to all artists.  Applications may be submitted individually or in collaboration with others. The panel will not discriminate against any applicant artist on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or physical challenges. Excluded from participation are RISCA Council members, staff and their family members as well as Public Art Selection Panel members and their families.


If you have questions about this RFQ, please email Elizabeth Keithline: Elizabeth.Keithline@arts.ri.gov.    If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email cafe@westaf.org