Call for Entries: MLK JR Dr. Gateway at Northside Drive public art project (Atlanta, GA)

MLK JR Dr. Gateway at Northside Drive

Entry Deadline: 2/20/18
Number of Applications Allowed: 2
Images - Minimum: 5, Maximum: 10 
Total Media - Minimum: 5, Maximum: 10 

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•The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs invites artists and artist teams to submit qualifications a site-specific Gateway artwork that will be installed near the entryway of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive at Northside Drive in Atlanta, Georgia (opposite the Mercedes-Benz Stadium).  The artwork will be 170 feet from the entryway of the 7.2 mile east-west corridor that connects points of interest such as the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, the Atlanta University Center, the Atlanta BeltLineWestview Cemetery, and several MARTA bus stops. The sculpture foundation, design and constructions costs including lighting must be integrated into the budget of the artist selected.

•The area’s culture is internationally significant. It was home to intellectual leaders of human rights, including W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

•The Renew Atlanta initiative that is sponsoring this installation along with several others along the corridor will address vehicular and pedestrian safety concerns, provide additional pedestrian and bicycle access through the implementation of new multi-use trails, and introduce a new linear park along the corridor in addition to several public art installations.  The goal is to transform MLK, Jr. Drive into an art filled pedestrian and bicycle friendly corridor with improved access to the Atlanta BeltLine and MARTA bus service.

•Years of community-driven planning, detailed analyses, stakeholder support, and political and financial commitment have come together and integrated social justice to transform the corridor in the heart of Atlanta into a world-class “boulevard.” The goal of the coming together of these entities is to transform through tailored, multi-modal improvements and complementary workforce capacity building, business recruitment, socio-cultural preservation, and green infrastructure.  This  will not only honor the name of Atlanta’s most famous resident, but further the City of Atlanta’s vision to preserve its historical past, maintain the livability of the present, and transform its future through the highest quality of implementation to enhance the level of service it provides to all people of Atlanta. The initiative is a global showcase for the community-based deployment of recent innovations in transportation safety, delivery, and risk management practices, in a high visibility, internationally significant cultural context.

•Mobility & Access: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive corridor carries some 28,000 motorists a day and MARTA, which provides local bus service on and parallels the corridor with four heavy rail stations, provides 438,000 trips per weekday. Users of the corridor will benefit from improved operations, more multi-modal options and connections, and reduced conflict between modes.


•MLK Jr. Drive is a heavily used east-west corridor linking points of interest such as Downtown Atlanta (which includes the government center), Philips Arena, the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta University Center (Morehouse CollegeSpelman CollegeClark Atlanta University and Morehouse School of Medicine), historic Westview Cemetery, four MARTA heavy rail stations, and the Fulton County Airport-Brown Field. Suburban and historic urban neighborhoods line the corridor alongside notable parks such as Mozley Park and Washington Park and other community facilities such as the historic Booker T. Washington High School,Adamsville Recreation Center, the Atlanta BeltLine, and the Lionel Hampton Multi-use Trail. The corridor also parallels I-20, the region’s major east-west freeway and crosses I-285, the region’s perimeter freeway. At the intersection of Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, MLK Jr. Drive becomes State Route 139 going westward past historic Westview Cemetery, through the Adamsville community and eventually to the Atlanta city limits and Fulton Industrial Boulevard in unincorporated Fulton County. The corridor is served by 14 local and one express bus route and is located near portions of regional multi-use trail systems that currently have limited connectivity. The eastern end of the corridor intersects with the Atlanta BeltLine Southwest Trail that is currently under construction.

•There are three MARTA Heavy Rail stations within one quarter of a mile of MLK, Jr. Drive and one located on the street.  There are 14 MARTA bus routes and three core and secondary bicycle routes on the Drive. I-20, an east-west expressway and I-285 an interstate highway loop encircling Atlanta both intersect MLK, Jr. Drive.


•The City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) was established in 1974 to encourage and support Atlanta’s cultural resources. The initial mission was to solidify the role that arts and other cultural resources play in defining and enhancing the social fabric and quality of life of Atlanta citizens and visitors.

•Today the OCA understands that the arts play an essential role in defining the cultural vitality of the city and is working to enhance Atlanta’s reputation as a cultural destination. The OCA aims to provide programs that contribute substantially to the city’s economy and quality of life.

•The Office of Cultural Affairs’ programming is executed in four key areas: Public Art, Arts and Education Services, Contracts for Arts Services and Performing Arts.  The OCA also manages the Chastain Arts Center/City Gallery at Chastain and Gallery 72.


•The City of Atlanta’s Public Art Program (PAP) focuses on the conservation and maintenance of Atlanta’s Public Art Collection and produces ELEVATE, an annual free Public Art festival featuring local, national and international artists throughout the city.  ELEVATE has been named one of the Top 50 Public Art Projects in the Country by Americans for the Arts and has also been nominated for the Livable Cities Award.  The PAP also manages City of Atlanta Public Art Audio Tours which focus on educating the residents and guests about Atlanta’s Public Art Collection located in the central downtown Atlanta area.


•The Gateway monument will be installed the intersection of MLK, Jr. and Northside  Drives. and  will be highly visible  from nearby Mercedes Benz Stadium.   The Gateway monument will activate the width of the  roadway and should stand a minimum of 20’ tall  and span 85’.  Electricity will be provided at the site so that the statue can be lit from the foundation.  The site is approximately 180’ from the intersection of MLK, Jr. and Northside Drives in Atlanta, Georgia (at the intersection is the Mercedes Benz Stadium).  The site around the installation will be landscaped assuring that the site is accessible and complementary to the gateway.   It is anticipated that the designed gateway will span the entire distance of the width of the roadway .  Lighting and sculptural elements that enliven the entry point to the MLK, Jr. Drive corridor is mandatory.  The gateway artwork will be contemporary, innovative, and  transformative as an artwork that elevates the visibility to the  entrance into  Atlanta’s newly renovated streetscape corridor.  There will be a large scale bronze statue in the likeness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


•The City of Atlanta is seeking applicants who are professional architects, designers, and sculptors with portfolios that demonstrate monumental scale public art sculptures.  The artist portfolio will demonstrate monumental scale  sculptural architectural work. All applicants, regardless of race, sex, religion, nationality, origin or disability will be considered.


The all inclusive budget is $250,000.00

•The all inclusive budget will include all artist fees, engineering, fabrication, foundations, lighting, pedestal design build, installation, insurance, permitting, and travel costs.


Payment Schedule:

•First payment draw:   $50,000

•Second draw, 50% complete:    $100,000

•Third draw, on completion:  $100,000


Artwork will be selected based on the following criteria:

•Artist merit and technical expertise

•Demonstrated successful, innovative and effective approach to public art projects of a similar scope

•Ability to successfully execute a public art project in a culturally rich and complex area

•Express interest in creating artwork for the opportunities presented by this request for qualifications


1.Statement of Interest. In one page using no smaller than 10pt font, address the conceptual approach of the project; aspects of the site that are of interest; how you would engage the public; and, how the project will contribute to your existing body of work.

2.Résumé that outlines professional accomplishments (maximum two pages per person). Include three professional references (name, affiliated organization, email address and phone number).

3.List of works submitted for review that includes title, location, date completed/performed, media, brief description of the project/conceptual information, and budget (if applicable).

4.Past Work Samples. Submit work samples in one or more of the formats listed below. If a team consists of performance artists and visual artists, the submission would include images of past work. 



•It is contemplated that the term of the contract shall be for a period not to exceed twelve (12) months for the design and fabrication services required.


•Questions and requests for clarification regarding this RFP must be directed in writing via email to the contact persons listed below. The deadline for submitting such questions/clarifications is shown below. All responses that are material in nature will be shared with all registered firms/artist teams.

     For Questions, Please Contact:    Robert Witherspoon

     Public Art Manager at

How to Apply:  Photos, drawings and the RFQ can be viewed at

Proposals due:

•Electronic  qualifications must be received no later than the date and time and at the location specified on the cover page of this solicitation. Proposals received after the time or date listed herein shall not be considered. Proposals received after the scheduled deadline for filing will be opened.

Schedule Dates

•January 19, 2018:   RFQ issued

•February 9, 2018:   Deadline for submitting questions

•February 20, 2018: Qualifications due

•February 23, 2018:   Evaluation of qualifications with stakeholder committee

•March 1, 2018:  Top three artists or artist teams are notified

•April 2, 2018:  Finalist team presentation/ interviews

•April 12, 2018  Artist or artist team selected and announced

•January 27th, 2019:    Anticipated completion and installation of final artwork