Step 1-Read the Guidelines

The 2015 Call for Applications is now CLOSED. These pages are provided to give information about the process. We expect to hold the next Call in the summer of 2018.

The conservation and development of the State’s artistic resources are essential to the social, educational, and economic growth of the State of Washington. Artists, works of art, and artistic institutions contribute to the quality of life and the general welfare of the citizens of the State, and are an appropriate matter of concern to the government of the State of Washington. (RCW 43.46.005)

The Art in Public Places program of the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) works with K-12 public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies to acquire artwork for their campuses and buildings. The Public Artist Roster—a list of pre-qualified, professional artists—is the primary tool for selecting the artists who create the artwork. The Public Artist Roster Competition is the means by which artists are placed on the Roster.

Artists interested in applying to the 2015 Public Artist Roster Competition should review our Frequently Asked Questions webpage and carefully read through these guidelines.


In July 1974, Washington’s Legislature established the Art in Public Places program (RCW 43.46.090), the second statewide public art program in the country. Washington is now home to one of the nation’s largest and most diverse state-owned art collections. Containing over 4,500 artworks in a wide range of materials, the State Art Collection is sited primarily at colleges, universities, state agencies, and K-12 public schools. It includes two- and three-dimensional artworks by contemporary artists of local and national renown.

The State Art Collection is funded by the state’s capital construction budget. When the State contributes funding for new construction, ½ of 1% of the state’s portion of those costs is added to acquire artwork. This formula is applied only to new construction and only to the state-funded portion – monies from other sources are not included in this calculation. Of the total set aside for artwork, 15% is reserved for program administration and 4.25% for collection care.


The Public Artist Roster is a pre-qualified roster of professional visual artists eligible for public art projects through the Art in Public Places program. Every three years the program holds an open competition to select artists for inclusion on the Roster. An invited panel scores applications by using established criteria (see Application Review Process, below), and recommends artists to the ArtsWA Board for approval. The five-person panel includes professional artists and arts administrators, and changes each time a competition is held. Artists selected to the Roster serve a three-year term, after which they may apply to the subsequent roster competition. The next roster competition is currently scheduled for 2018.


Art in Public Places project managers work with local Art Selection Committees to develop a list of recommendations regarding artwork criteria and location, select artists from the Roster, and review and approve artist proposals. Art Selection Committees review the portfolios of artists available within the budget range of their projects. Program staff determines appropriate budget ranges for artists accepted to the Roster, based on each artist’s demonstrated experience and his/her selected choices from the application. If selected for the Roster, portfolios submitted for the Competition are the same ones viewed by local Art Selection Committees. Artists who are accepted to the Roster may update their portfolio materials as needed during their term on the Public Artist Roster.


The Competition is open to professional visual artists and artist teams residing in the United States and British Columbia who create public art or whose work would be well-suited for public spaces. Artist teams should be able to demonstrate a history of shared artistic collaboration. An artist who applies as a team member may not also apply as an individual. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an ongoing course of study in the visual arts are not eligible.

Applying for the 2015 Public Artist Roster indicates a willingness to:

  • Design and propose artworks for review and approval by Art in Public Places program staff, professional conservators, and local Art Selection Committees;
  • Travel to the project site up to three times during the proposal/design process to meet with local Art Selection Committees and project managers;
  • Work within fixed budgets and with committees that include non-arts professionals;
  • Maintain registration as a Washington State vendor and adhere to applicable state permitting and licensing requirements, including those relating to contracting and the paying of prevailing wages; and
  • Enter into contracts with ArtsWA and fulfilling those requirements, including paying applicable taxes.


Project funds start at $35,000 and can range up to $200,000 or more, with most generally falling between $45,000 and $125,000. Funds cover all design/proposal costs, transportation, fabrication, installation, and other associated costs. Artworks created through the Art in Public Places program become part of the State Art Collection, managed by ArtsWA. Artworks acquired for the State Art Collection may not include clock towers, electrically-powered water features, memorials, logos, signage, or the depiction of school mascots. When an artist enters into a commission (fabrication and installation) contract with ArtsWA, he/she becomes ineligible for new ArtsWA-managed projects for a period of two years.


We encourage you to allow sufficient time to develop and submit your application prior to the deadline.

  • You will not need to complete your application in one sitting; you will be able to save your work and return to your application at a later date.
  • ArtsWA staff are not available after 5 pm or on weekends to provide system technical support or retrieve passwords.

The following materials are required:

  • 10 digital images of the applicant’s artworks (in jpg or png format);
  • Information about each artwork (title, date, medium, project budget, commissioning agency, etc.) and a short descriptive narrative statement for each;
  • Artist’s statement (1,000 character limit);
  • Two-page resume (PDF, DOC, or RTF format; PDFs are strongly preferred); and
  • Current contact information.

The online application includes more detailed information. We recommend that you keep a digital copy of submitted materials for reference.


Appropriate materials (10 pts):
Evidence of the artist’s ability to execute artwork utilizing durable materials that are appropriate for a public space;

Site responsiveness (10 pts):
Evidence of the artist’s ability to create artwork that addresses the physical and/or community context of its placement; and

Artistic excellence (15 pts):
Evidence of some or all of the following: mastery of skills and techniques, professional approaches to process and presentation, and/or communication of unique vision or perspective.

Panel recommendations are reviewed by the ArtsWA Board, which has the final approval authority.


Applications must be completed online by 5pm (Pacific Time) on June 23, 2015. Applications that are mailed, emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered will not be accepted. Art in Public Places staff determines whether applications meet eligibility requirements (including the submittal of completed, on-time materials and artist’s residency). Eligible applications are forwarded to the panel for review.

The panel will evaluate applications in late July 2015; the panel’s recommendations will be subsequently presented to the ArtsWA Board for approval at its August meeting. All applicants will be sent email notification as to the status of their application no later than August 17, 2015.


Unsuccessful applicants may appeal in accordance with Washington Administrative Code (WAC 30.12.036).


ArtsWA is governed by an advisory Board composed of 19 governor-appointed citizens and 4 legislative members appointed by their caucus.

ArtsWA complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil and human rights.

These guidelines were published by the Washington State Arts Commission, April 2015. Every effort has been made to publish accurate and timely information.

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