Call for Entries: Bart Plaza Sound Installation (Berkeley, CA)

Bart Plaza Sound Installation
For California artists

Prospectus: The City of Berkeley Civic Arts Program is partnering in a public/private partnership with the Berkeley Downtown Business Association to begin programming the new “Constitution” (BART) plaza with publicly accessible cultural projects. Civic Arts recognizes that the plaza will function as a city center and seeks to activate it with art. Through this RFQ, the Civic Arts Program will commission a series of sound/music composition artworks that will be programmed to be presented on eight new sound poles that are 21 feet high, erected on the Plaza. Up to 5 artists will be selected and each one will be commissioned for only one sound piece. These sound projects can be spoken word, electronic music, sound experiments, natural sounds, acoustic instrumentation, percussive projects, vocal projects and combinations of these elements. We are looking for fresh, relevant, forward thinking projects that will engage the public in surprising, inspiring and provocative ways. This is a multi-channel audio environment and applicants may wish to address an exploration of this versatile system. 

The selected artists will coordinate with the technical staff of the Bart Plaza to proceed with programming the appropriate sound files for the audio equipment.

Media: Sound, sound experiments, electronic, acoustic music, spoken word, vocal experimentation.

All genres of sound and music appropriate to a public environment will be considered. 

Specifications and Limitations:

Projects will be played over a yet unspecified period of time. Audio content will be played back on 8 discrete audio channels via an Alcorn McBride Audio Binloop 8 channel system. Audio will be heard on 8 Meyer Sound UPJ-1XP speakers. Audio content playback shall be prepared to be played back via digital media. An Alcorn McBride Vcore show playback controller is included in the system to enable scheduling of content playback.  Once the artist is selected coordination with the audio equipment installation consultant will be set-up. 


Open to professional practicing artists who reside in California. Artists must be U.S. citizens or have legal working status in the United States and be at least 18 years old.

Application Deadline:

Friday, February 1, 2018 by 5:00 pm. Entries must be uploaded to Submittable, including audio samples.

How to Submit:

Submit entries via Submittable at All required application materials must be submitted by the deadline. For Submittable technical assistance please email


Application Requirements:

  1. Audio Samples: Applicants must submit up to five examples of prior relevant sound works. Each sample should be a minimum of one minute in duration and not to exceed ten minutes. Submittable will accept the following formats of audio samples: MP3, MP4, WAV, AAC, AIFF, M4A, OGG, FLAC, and WMA.

  2. Audio Sample Index: Please include a written index for the audio samples identifying the title of the sound composition, year produced, total duration for entire work, and brief description.

  3. Letter of Interest: Maximum 3,000 character letter indicating interest in and potential approach to the project. The letter should provide a description of how your professional background relates to this art project. If applying as a team, include an explanation of your preference for working as a team.

  4. A current resume, per applicant, not to exceed 3,000 characters that highlights professional accomplishments, particularly as relates to this art project. Applicants working as a team will also be limited to 4,000 characters total.

  5. Three professional references, including phone and email contact information per applicant. Please do not include letters of reference.

  6. If applying as a team, indicate the name and contact information of the team’s representative. 


All applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed for completeness, and screened by a selection panel that may include City staff, arts professionals appointed by staff, Civic Arts Commissioners, art consultants and community members. After reviewing and evaluating the applicants’ qualifications, the selection panel will score and rank them in order to identify 10 project finalists.

The panel will use the following criteria to evaluate the applicants’ qualifications:

  • Artistic excellence, innovation and creativity as evidenced by past work and supporting materials.
  • The relevance of the applicant’s work to the scope and goals of the project.
  • The applicant’s professional experience.

The selected 10 project finalists will be invited to interview with the selection panel and for those who live out of the Bay Area interviews will be conducted by Skype.  The panel will consider the finalists’ project approach and concept and will select five artists or artist teams and two alternates for the project for recommendation to the Civic Arts Commission for approval. The 5 finalists will be awarded $4,000 each to commission an 8 channel sound project.    


When you apply to this Call for Artists you agree to allow the City of Berkeley to use the audio and information submitted with this application for their review process. You also agree that the work submitted is your own and does not infringe anyone’s copyright or ownership.

All information contained herein does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract. The provisions of the Call for Artists are subject to change. The Civic Arts Commission reserves the right to reject any entry submitted to this Call for Artists. 


$4,000 will be awarded to each artist selected for the project for the development of a unique sound piece.

Civic Arts Commission Guidelines

Artwork is selected on its aesthetic merits and its ability to be heard through the audio equipment.

Sound Art will be chosen with appropriate regard for the nature of the space and the audience. This exhibition space addresses the viewer directly on the public right of way. Art must exhibit consideration for viewers’ sensitivities to violence, sexual expression and negative portrayals of diverse populations. 

Contact Information for inquires and/or mail:

The Civic Arts Program and Civic Arts Commission of the City of Berkeley to assist with this process . Questions can be directed to Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, 510 981-7533,

Deadline: 02-01-2018
City of Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Contact: Chrystal O'Malley
Phone: 510.981.7539