"The Judgment of Paris" (2014) by artist John Wehrle is shown during its creation in his studio. The four-part mural references the Trojan War, but infuses it with Northwest icons such as Mount Baker. Permanently located at Meridian High School, Bellingham. Photo courtesy of the artist. Part of Washington's State Art Collection.
"The Judgment of Paris" (2014) by John Wehrle, during its creation in the artist's studio
This four-part mural references the Trojan War, but infuses it with Northwest icons such as Mount Baker. It is permanently located at Meridian High School, Bellingham. Photo courtesy of the artist. Part of Washington's State Art Collection.

How to Get on the Public Artist Roster

The Public Artist Roster Call is now closed. The next call will be in 2021.

Every three years we open a call for applications to the Public Artist Roster. We choose five professional artists or arts administrators for a review panel. The panelists change each time we hold a call. The panel scores roster applications based on established criteria, listed below. They then recommend artists to the ArtsWA Board for approval. Accepted artists serve a three-year term, after which they may reapply. Inclusion on the Roster does not guarantee a public art project.

How is the Public Artist Roster used?

How is the Public Artist Roster used?

The Public Artist Roster is used to select artists for roughly 40 public arts projects per year. The Roster provides local art selection committees with the best range of artists to choose from for their projects. A successful Roster will include a variety of artistic disciplines, subject matter, and cultural viewpoints.

AIPP Project Managers work with local selection committees to develop a list of artwork criteria and potential locations. They review artist portfolios within the budget range of their projects. We base budget ranges on the artist’s experience and the budgets selected on their application. Reviewed portfolios are the same as those the artist submitted with their Roster application. Artists may update their portfolio materials once per year during their term.

After reviewing portfolios, local art selection committees choose an artist from the Roster. They work with the artist to review and approve proposals for the commissioned artwork.

Are you eligible to apply?

Are you eligible to apply?

You are eligible to apply to the Public Artist Roster if you:

  • Are a professional visual artist or an artist team.
    • Teams of up to five artists may apply. Team members cannot apply as individual artists. Portfolios should include works created by the team and not those of the individuals on the team.
  • Live in the United States or British Columbia.
  • Create public art or artwork well suited for public spaces.
  • Are not a student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate course of study in the visual arts at the time you apply.

If you apply for the Roster, it means you are willing to:

  • Design and propose artworks. Project managers, professional conservators, and local committees will review and approve your work.
  • Travel to the project site. You will meet with local committees and project managers up to three times during the proposal and design process.
  • Work within fixed budgets.
  • Work with committees. Committees often include non-arts professionals.
  • Maintain registration as a Washington State vendor. You must adhere to relevant state permitting and licensing requirements. This includes those relating to contracting and the paying of prevailing wages.
  • Enter into contracts with ArtsWA. You must fulfill contract requirements, including paying applicable taxes.

What does funding for a commissioned artwork cover?

What does funding for a commissioned artwork cover?

Most budgets fall between $45,000 and $125,000. Project funds can range up to $200,000 or more. These funds cover:

  • All design and proposal costs
  • Engineering and transportation
  • Fabrication, installation, and other related costs

Commissioned artworks become part of the State Art Collection. When an artist enters into a commission contract, they become ineligible for new ArtsWA projects for a period of two years.

We do not commission:

  • Clock towers
  • Electrically powered water features
  • Memorials
  • Logos, signage, or the depiction of school mascots

What materials do you need to apply?

What materials do you need to apply?

Artists should carefully consider and review their materials. If accepted to the Roster, local committees will review this portfolio. The following materials are required:

  • Eight jpeg images of your artworks
  • Artwork information for each image (title, date, medium, project budget, commissioning agency, etc.)
  • Short descriptive statements for each image
  • Artist’s statement
  • Resume
  • Current contact information

Read our pre-application checklist and tips for more information. We will check your applications to confirm that it meets eligibility requirements. This includes complete materials and confirmation of your residency. We then forward complete and eligible applications to the selection panel. The ArtsWA Board will review the panel recommendations and has final approval authority.

How does the review panel select artists?

How does the review panel select artists?

First, we divide applications into two categories, based on budgets:

  1. Those who would accept projects with budgets below $100,000
  2. Those only comfortable working on projects with budgets above $100,000

This helps ensure that the Roster includes a range of artists capable of working with budgets that match future projects.

The panel then scores portfolios based on the following criteria:

  • Appropriateness (Five points). Evidence of the artist’s ability to execute artwork at an appropriate scale and using materials suitable for permanent artwork in public places –OR- demonstrated potential for successful transition to public art
  • Site Responsiveness (Five points). Evidence of the artist’s ability to create artwork that addresses the physical and/or community context of its placement
  • Artistic Excellence (Fifteen points). Evidence of some or all of the following:
    • Mastery of skills and techniques
    • Professional approaches to process and presentation
    • Communication of unique vision or perspective

Related Policies

Related Policies

Unsuccessful applicants may appeal the decision. We comply with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil and human rights. You can review our appeal process and information regarding accessibility, diversity, and nondiscrimination on our Agency Policies page.

We updated these guidelines in March 2018. We made every effort to publish accurate and timely information.

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