Call for Artists - RFQ

ArtsWA and UW Tacoma

Due: 5pm (Pacific), December 4, 2017 | Budget: $60,000


Purpose and Description

Coinciding with the completion of the renovation to the Tacoma Paper and Stationary Building, the final building in the campus’s Heritage Block of historic warehouses, this RFQ is seeking applications from professional artists to create a unique artwork along the portion of the Prairie Line Trail adjacent to the building.  It is the goal of the project to engage the campus community by activating the exterior spaces through the installation of an artwork that honors the campus’s historic warehouses and the laborers who originally worked in the buildings.


Mike Sweney, Art in Public Places Program Manager

(360) 586-2422 or


The opportunity to compete for this project is open to established professional artists residing or working in Washington State, Oregon, or British Columbia. Residents of Washington State and whose work reflects the diverse make-up of the UW Tacoma campus community and the South Sound are preferred. Neither ArtsWA nor UW Tacoma discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, or gender identity.

Artists currently on the ArtsWA Public Artist Roster will also be considered and need not apply; those with active or recent projects are ineligible for this call (please contact Mike Sweney at ArtsWA with any questions).

Site Visit Requirements

None required for submission; however, interested artists are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Mission, Vision, and Values of the university, as well as the history of the Tacoma Paper and Stationary building, the surrounding historic warehouses, and the Prairie Line Trail:

UWT Mission and Values

Tacoma Paper & Stationary Building

UWT Camupus Map

Prairie Line Trail

History of the Prairie Line


Digital materials to by 5pm, December 4, 2017. You should receive confirmation of your submission within one business day. If you are unable to submit electronically, contact Mike Sweney to discuss possible accommodations.

Background on the Project

Founded in 1990 as one of the three campuses of the University of Washington, UW Tacoma is an urban-serving university providing access to students in a way that transforms families and communities. UW Tacoma’s diverse student body includes a broad range of ethnic and family backgrounds, ages, interests and experience. Set in the historic Union Station District, UW Tacoma owes its charm to century-old, brick buildings that were built to last by businesses that depended on the railroad in the late 1880s and early 1900s. The university has earned architectural awards for transforming these buildings into modern classrooms. In the design of its beautiful campus, UW Tacoma honors the traditions of the Northern Pacific Railroad and its part in establishing Tacoma as the City of Destiny.

Originally built in 1904 by the Tacoma Biscuit and Candy Company, the 40,000 square foot “Tacoma Paper and Stationary” building was designed as a state of the art production facility and was widely regarded as one of the finest facilities of its type on the West Coast.  The building, however, was only occupied by the company until 1910, when the Tacoma Paper and Stationary company took over the site, where it remained in residence until 1953.  By the 1970s, the building had fallen into disrepair, and it remained largely vacant (aside from the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant which opened in its ground floor) until 1990 when UW purchased the site as part of plans for the Tacoma campus. The building recently underwent extensive renovations for use as an academic building, celebrating its grand re-opening on October 4, 2017.  On the ground floor, opening out to the Prairie Line Trail, is an open multi-use space that will serve as a student-commons, an area for informal meetings and gatherings, an event venue, and a “tinker” lab.


The project budget will be roughly $60,000 inclusive of design, travel, structural engineering, materials, fabrication, installation, artist fee, and other associated project costs.

Selection process

The Art Selection Committee is made up of members of the UW Tacoma Art Committee and a selection of additional members from the campus community, with representatives from faculty, staff, and students.  The process is facilitated by ArtsWA.  The Art Selection Committee will review portfolios and materials of all applicants and select three artists or artist teams as finalists for interviews before making a final selection.

The review criteria used by the selection committee will include:

Appropriate Materials: Evidence of the artist’s ability to execute artwork utilizing durable materials that are appropriate for an exterior, public space;

Site Responsiveness: Evidence of the artist’s ability to create artwork that addresses the
physical and/or community context of its placement, including the stated goal of the project; and

Artistic Excellence: 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.

The Art Selection Committee may opt to not select an artist from this submission process, if, in its collective opinion, no applications meet its expectations.

Commission and Agreement

The artwork will be commissioned through the Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places program. Artists will coordinate work with ArtsWA and the UW Tacoma Art Committee.  An agreement between ArtsWA and the artist or artist team will formalize budget, schedule and artwork design.

The selected artist will be expected to:

Design and propose an artwork for review and approval by ArtsWA staff and UW Tacoma representatives;

Travel to the project site up to three times during the proposal/design process to meetwith the Art Selection Committee and ArtsWA project manager; 

    Work within the fixed budget; 

Maintain registration as a Washington State vendor and adhere to applicable statepermitting and licensing requirements, including those relating to contracting and the paying of Prevailing Wages; and

Enter into contracts with ArtsWA and fulfil those requirements, including paying applicable taxes.

Submission Requirements

Artists interested in this project must prepare and submit the following set of documents (DOC or PDF; images in JPG format):

A letter of Interest outlining your artistic vision and your approach to public art, as well as detailing how your experience has prepared you for a project on a campus with UW Tacoma’s unique mission, historic setting, and diverse community. Not to exceed 600 words.

A professional resume/CV (limit 3 pages). Artists submitting as part of a collaborative team should include a resume/CV for each member of the team.

10 images of relevant past work, preferably created within the past 5 years. 1000 pixels on the long side, 72 pixels/inch minimum, file size less than 1 MB, each named uniquely.

An annotated image list in one document with a limit of 10 images in jpeg format of past works. Please indicate the title, dimensions, materials, date of work, and locations, as well as project budget and commissioning entity, if applicable. 

References: A list of at least three professional references from past projects. The list must include complete addresses and telephone numbers.

Anticipated Project Timeline

December 4, 2017:                 Applications due

December 18, 2017:               Finalists notified

January 31, 2018:                    Interviews completed / artist selected

February - July, 2018:              Design development

Aug., 2018 - April, 2019:         Fabrication and installation

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