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Traffic Tribunal Public Art Project Links

Links for Public Art

Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal Public Art Project

(call for artists closed on 11/10/05)

Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal Headquarters Construction on the new Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal (RITT) has begun with a completion date projected in winter of 2006. This facility will be located at 670 New London Avenue in the John O. Pastore Government Center in Cranston. The RITT will be built on the same site as the Aimee Forand building, owned and operated by the State of Rhode Island. The overall building, designed by Edward Rowse Architects, will be two (2) floors above grade and contain approximately 86,000 square feet of floor space. Artwork for the building will be commissioned 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." (RI State Law: Chapter 42-75.2).


RISCA will conduct the RI Traffic Tribunal Public Art submission process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFE. There is no charge to the artist for applying or submitting digital images. At this stage we are requesting submissions from artists or art teams consisting of six (6) images representing current work (completed within the past five years). 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 application submission for your team. Applications consisting of six images, answers to designated questions, and resumes, will be reviewed by the Traffic Tribunal Public Art Panel to assess the artist's ability to carry out commissioned work at the current project site.

NOTE: 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. CAFÉ research survey has shown it takes approx. 1.5 hours to prepare images and submit application, dependent on a variety of factors.

Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ(tm) web site 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.
  2. Six digital images of relevant work. Accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, include date of completion in the Description of Image 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
  3. A written statement, not to exceed 2000 characters, that addresses the artist's/team's preliminary concept or potential approach for addressing the project.
  4. An indication of which site(s) within the RFP the artist would like to submit a full proposal for installation.
  • October 7, 2005 CaFÉ(tm) website open for submissions
  • November 9, 2005 at 5:00 p.m. MST Deadline for submissions
  • November 29, 2005 First selection panel meeting
  • January, 2006 Finalist presentations to selection panel
  • February, 2006 Contract approval for recommended artist(s)

The final recommendations of the selection panel will be reviewed by the Public Art Committee. The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts will have final approval of Public Art selection.


The only contact most citizens of Rhode Island have with the court system is due to traffic violations. The RITT is a high-volume administrative building that houses four judges, three magistrates, and a staff of seventy-five who service approximately five hundred to one thousand people per day. The RITT hears all non-criminal matters regarding traffic violations, reviews all traffic offense decisions of Municipal Courts and appeals from the Division of Motor Vehicles, and is supervised by the Chief Judge of the District Court. In 2004, the total number of summonses issued to the RITT was 104,667. The RITT disposed of 109,808 summonses in the same year.

The new RITT will house 7 courtrooms, administrative court support facilities, and record storage. The RITT will also house support facilities including the Law Library, Shriff's Division, State Police, Security Officers, Facilities Management, and Central Holding for prisoners. The ground floor will house the Sheriff's Division, the Traffic Tribunal, a security check point for visitors, and a vending area. Public Access to the building will primarily be through corridors, vestibules, and large courtrooms. The facility will include four hundred and fifty parking spaces for judges, staff, and the public and one hundred and seventy five spaces for State employees at the Aimee Forand Building.

The new RITT will allow for the physical expansion of the building in twenty years to accommodate the growth of the court. The primary concerns in the building's construction and organization are to provide a user-friendly, secure, and technologically advanced courthouse. The RITT will feature functional space and floor areas for the building occupants, attorneys, and the public. The clarity of the architecture will be enhanced by state of the art design and technology to streamline the judicial process for its users. While the goal of the Judiciary is to create a facility that is secure and efficient for heavy traffic volume, the architects attempted to elevate the design of the building through elements such as a modern prairie style, multiple and varied light sources, repeated design motifs including triangles and turrets, elevated ceilings and open public spaces. The exterior will be comprised of brick and pre-cast concrete and the pointed roofs will be tiled with metal turrets. Colors and materials for the interior spaces have not been confirmed, offering the potential opportunity to tie in floor tile and wall colors with commissioned artworks. Office windows will be 5' x 5' with colored glass squares in each corner, representing another opportunity for color selection consistent with commissioned artworks. These windows will not be visible from interior sites that have been specified for public art, however, the color of the glass window treatments could provide continuity of design for RITT staff working in secured areas of the building. The Public Art Selection Panel has expressed interest in artwork that both reinforces the austerity of the courtroom setting as well as artwork that attempts to provide relief from that rigid formality. The panel is interested in artwork that evokes a sense of inclusion, participation and pleasure. Public art in or outside of the building is an opportunity for the State to give each visitor a positive experience within a challenging environment.


In accordance with the guidelines of Rhode Island's 1% for Public Art Law, a five member art selection panel has been appointed by the State Council on the Arts. It is composed of one representative of the Judiciary of Rhode Island, a representative of the community, two artists selected by the Arts Council, and the project architect. The panel has met to discuss aesthetic and thematic concerns for the project and they have selected sites appropriate for the installation of public art. In discussing potential sites and artwork, the panel took into account the following issues:

1) The nature of the work that will take place within the building. The RITT processes a high volume of legal proceedings at a relentless pace. Since the RITT is, for most members of the public, the first introduction to the judicial system, first impressions should start with a building that is dignified and professional while also providing a safe and efficient workplace. It is a formal place of business that will benefit from artwork that respects the formality of judicial proceedings, yet lends an air of relief and/or charm to the environment.

2) The election of sites conducive to the display of artwork. Artists are encouraged to present proposals for artwork that will not interfere with the efficiency of courtroom proceedings, but will contribute a sense of joy and well-being to those who experience it.

3) The desire to encourage artists to create work that will challenge their skills and ideals. The panel attempted to select sites that will provide artists with considerable creative freedom and flexibility as well as design and concept challenges.


$135,000 is available for the acquisition of artwork for the RITT in Cranston. This amount must cover all costs of the artwork including artist fees, fabrication, installation, and transportation of the art, as well as all site work required. If more than one work of art by one or more artists is selected, all expenses for all work must fall within the allotted budget. The Art Selection Panel seeks to cluster multiple, related artworks within several of the designated sites. The added expense of creating and installing multiple pieces for these designated spaces should be taken into account.


The Call for Artists is the first stage of the selection process. Visual Artists are invited to submit samples of their work and their CV/resumes for consideration. Six (6) images must be included with your CaFE application. The panel will select between three and five (3-5) finalists from the pool of applicants. These finalists will be invited to submit specific proposals, in person, to the Art Selection Panel based upon the Request for Proposals. Final proposals should convey artists' 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 a preliminary budget. The finalists will be provided with a briefing package that includes plans, photographs, and specific information about the RITT building. A site visit will be scheduled for the finalists as well as a meeting with the architect and the administrative office of the State Courts. An honorarium of $1,500 will be awarded to the finalists upon submission of the proposals. The proposal will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain the proposal 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 proposals will be funded and the extent of funding for each commission and installation. The panel also reserves the right to not accept any final proposal submitted. When the Art Selection Panel makes a final recommendation to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (which has final approval) for the purchase of artwork, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.


The panel will make the selection based on the following criteria:

  • Quality and suitability of the final proposal in relation to the project description, program goals and site descriptions.
  • The artist's ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule.
  • Permanence and durability of materials in a heavily used public facility. All artwork must meet safety standards, adhere to building codes and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance.
  • Willingness of the artist to consult with the architect, construction manager and building staff (or designated representatives) to assure smooth integration of the artwork into the building the site and to make necessary adjustments in relation to building codes and other construction issues.


This is an open invitation to all visual 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 Art Selection Panel Members and their family members.


The Art Selection Panel has identified five (5) potential sites for the installation of public art on the site of the new Traffic Tribunal. Four are within publicly accessible areas inside of the building and one is outside of the entrance to the building.

1.RIPTA Bus Stop and Tribunal Promenade

click for larger imageA canopy or designed shelter has been proposed for construction near the front entrance of the RITT, the driveway turn-around for public buses, and the handicapped parking area. An outdoor three-dimensional artwork placed within this pedestrian waiting area and walkway would be enjoyed by all visitors to the RITT and, depending upon the scope of the work, by visitors to neighboring buildings. Artwork in this location must be durable and weather resistant and the added cost of materials suitable to outdoor works must be considered within the overall budget. Artwork in this space could serve the purpose of relieving tension for visitors entering the building and it could provide a welcome sight for visitors exiting the building. Interactive or moving artwork is welcome if it adheres to safety and durability requirements. This nearly 8,000 square foot area of outdoor space extends from the front entrance to a group of parking spaces for people with disabilities and from the West parking lot to landscaping bounding the East Parking lot. Design of the bus stop shelter and the sidewalk materials have not yet been determined.

2.Front Staircase and Second Floor Vestibule

The most striking areas of architectural interest in the new RITT building are the spaces underneath the exterior turrets. On the interior of the building, these spaces have elevated ceilings and clerestory lighting. One of these areas is found at the top of the main staircase leading up to the second floor courtrooms and cashier windows. Most visitors to the court will do business in this area of the RITT, making it the second most visible site for public art (the RITT Promenade area being the most visible). Blank wall space greets those ascending the stairs on their way up to the second floor, as well as at the bottom of the stairwell where each visitor will descend to exit the building. These approximately 12' wide by 10' high and 14' wide by 12' high walls(respectively) present opportunities for designs or applications that will lead the public through the stairwell and into the open second floor hallway which is a well lit, 943 square foot space stretching over 56 long and over 18 feet wide. This space is anchored by windows with a view of the outside turreted triangular roof over the main entrance. Artworks with consistent themes and imagery could be divided among these hallway and stairwell spaces or a three-dimensional work in the second floor vestibule could be echoed through wall treatments in the stairwell. Again, colors for the interior of the building (including rubber floor tiles in the hallways, vestibules, and stairs) have not be chosen and could be influenced by the color choices of the commissioned artist.

3.Second Floor Lobby

click for larger imageThe main option for visitors to the RITT, if they need to converse with lawyers or wait for hearings, will be to remain in the second floor lobby. This is a large open space that does not currently have plans for seating or meeting areas. Creative designs for three-dimensional works that divide this lobby space could provide focal points, private areas, and resting places for the public. Natural light will filter in from two sloping skylights outside of the courtrooms and from the clerestory lighting at the north vestibule. Electric lighting will reflect upwards towards the ceiling. Currently, a rubber tile floor pattern is planned for the entire second floor lobby. Colors and patterns for the floor tiles could be altered to compliment artworks in the lobby.

4.Walls Outside of the Main Courtrooms click for larger imageAs visitors to the RITT ascend the main stairs and reach the second floor to find courtrooms and cashier windows, they will turn into the open vestibule and approach two large walls, each lit by sloping skylights. These walls represent the back walls of the two largest courtrooms. The walls are currently designed to be plaster and they are 25' wide and 11' high from the floor to the base of sloping skylights. They extend an additional 8 feet to the ceiling facing the skylights. Because these walls are located immediately outside of the courtrooms, any artwork proposed for installation on these walls should have a calming or contemplative effect to compliment a place of business and formality. Artists should also consider that this space may become a standing waiting area where visitors may choose to lean against the walls. Lighting for nighttime viewing of this artwork should be considered, as the lighting plan for the building is indirect light reflected off of the ceiling.

5.The Main Courtrooms

The main courtrooms represent compelling but sensitive sites for public art. With full consideration of the seriousness of the work that takes place within a courtroom and the high level of concentration and formality enforced within them, the panel expressed a strong desire to add the courtrooms to the list of possible sites for artwork. The courtrooms will contain at least nine rows of benches where traffic violation defendants will receive instructions and wait for their hearings. In front of the benches are seating for lawyers, stands for presentations to the Judge and the Judge's bench. In each courtroom, above the Judge's bench, will be elevated ceilings with clerestory lighting. Plaster walls on the east and west walls of the courtrooms measuring 30' wide and 10' high present opportunities for public artwork that would be visible to those seated in rear of the courtroom as well as the presiding Judge. Artwork in this area should be subdued as opposed to distracting. Artwork in these locations should take into account the seriousness and formality of the courtroom.

If you have questions about the RFP email cristina@arts.ri.gov. If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email café@westaf.org.