Call for Entry: The Norfolk Public Art Commission and the Elizabeth River Trail Chelsea District Planning Committee (Virginia)

Entry Deadline: 5/31/18


Images - Minimum: 5, Maximum: 10 
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 2 
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 2 
Total Media - Minimum: 5, Maximum: 10 

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The Norfolk Public Art Commission

and the Elizabeth River Trail Chelsea District Planning Committee

seek to commission an artist to design and create artwork.


LOCATION/CONTEXT: Chelsea is located along the Elizabeth River on the west side of Norfolk. Sandwiched between the affluent residential West Ghent and industrial shipyards, the neighborhood has organically evolved into one of the city’s most up-and-coming business districts, with a gritty appeal. Chelsea is home to a shipyard, two acclaimed breweries, a rum distillery, a 91-year-old theater company, locally owned restaurants, a flower shop, a dog washing day play center, an art tattoo shop, a gym, and the historic International Seamen’s House, which is now a private residence.


The Elizabeth River Trail is an urban bike and pedestrian path providing recreational and educational opportunities as well as an alternate mode of transportation. The 10.5-mile trail was established in 1994 with Norfolk Southern’s donation of the Atlantic City Spur railroad line in Chelsea to create the first 3,500 feet of dedicated trail. It quickly expanded and now runs from Naval Station Norfolk through Chelsea, continuing to downtown Norfolk and east towards Virginia Beach. The Chelsea portion of the trail that weaves through a neighborhood is both industrial and natural. It is being renovated with new trees, a linear park with food-bearing plants, a managed meadow, a rain garden, and three areas of native grasses and flowers. Chelsea is a primary entry point for the trail since the site has parking for the 900 shipyard workers, commuters, bikers, joggers and walkers who use the trail every day.


PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The committee would like to commission an artwork that speaks to the progressive, creative vibe of Chelsea. It could serve as a gateway, or point of transition between the trail and the neighborhood. Kinetic or multiple artworks that create a sense of motion or direction to visually move people through the space would also be appropriate.


PROJECT SITE: The committee is open to all artists’ ideas and will consider artwork along the pathways and/or as a signature gateway. There is a large grass park on the corner of Raleigh and Claremont Avenues that is another ideal location for artwork. Please see site map of the trail as is goes through Chelsea.


SIZE/MEDIUM: The artwork should be pedestrian scale but also large enough to attract attention. We like the idea of using recycled durable materials such as recycled beer bottles, shipyard or cannery materials, or other items that reference the neighborhood. Artwork must be durable and of permanent materials that will stand the test of time. Materials must be safe and easily maintained.  


PROJECT FUNDS: Up to three finalists may be selected to be interviewed by the Public Art Planning Committee via Skype. The finalists are not expected to complete a design at this stage but will be interviewed about past work and creative process. There will also be a preliminary discussion of the site. The committee reserves the right to select the final artist without a finalist process.


The total budget for the completed, delivered, and installed artwork is $60,000. This will cover artist’s honorarium, fabrication, materials, shipping, insurance, and travel expenses necessary to complete the project, project plaque, final documentation and any incidental expenses. The artist must hire a Virginia licensed contractor to install the artwork(s). As part of this contract, the selected artist will work with a locally based apprentice artist and will make an educational presentation for artists and the community.


Please note that a city contract will be issued with a design phase requiring review and approval by the Public Art Commission prior to fabrication.


The selected artist must carry a Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy naming the City of Norfolk as an additional insured, and must provide certificates of insurance to that effect guaranteeing thirty (30) days written notice before any changes to the policies become effective. Insurance can be purchased and certificate presented after the first payment is made. If the artist employs anyone in connection with this work, the artist must carry a workers compensation insurance policy and an automobile liability insurance policy if appropriate. The artist shall also be responsible for assuring subcontractors, if there are any, meet the same insurance requirements.  


CALENDAR: This calendar is subject to change.

            May 1, 2018, 4:00 p.m. EST Site Review and Educational Meeting, 1231 W. Olney Road in front of The Birch

            May 31, 2018, 2:00 p.m. EST, submittal due date and time

            Summer 2018, selection announced

            Spring 2019, completion of art


SELECTION CRITERIA AND AWARD CONSIDERATIONS: The commission will be awarded based on many factors such as the aesthetic value, creativity and contemporary relevance of the proposed piece. The city will consider the diversity of beliefs and values and general standards of decency of the citizens who fund the commission and purchase public art for the City of Norfolk. Local artists are encouraged to apply. The award will be made to the responsible offeror whose submission is determined in writing to be the most advantageous to the City taking into consideration the evaluation factors set forth in this Request for Proposal.


The following criteria will be used in the proposal evaluation process:

• Artistic merit (excellence, originality, creativity and innovative approaches) as evidenced by submitted materials

• Professional artistic experience to fulfill the requirements of this project either in studio, educational, community, employment and/or art projects and the ability to undertake the design, creation and installation of the artwork

• Appropriateness of materials, style and concepts in relation to this prospectus


PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS: Submission must be submitted via CaFÉ website at or delivered to 810 Union Street, Suite 303, (City Hall Building) Norfolk, VA 23510 by 2:00 PM EST on May 31, 2018.  Artists are highly encouraged to apply through CaFÉ. There is no application fee to apply or use the CaFÉ online application system.


The following materials are required:


{C}1.      Statement of Understanding, online agreement of compliance to all State of Virginia codes. See last page of this document for Statement of Understanding.

{C}2.      Letter of Interest, not to exceed one (1) page, outlining your interest in this project and how you might approach the design and creation of this project.

{C}3.      Resume, maximum of two (2) pages, outlining your professional accomplishments.  If submitting as a team, please include resumes for each team member, with each resume not exceeding two (2) pages.

{C}4.      Artwork Images, selection of up to ten (10) images representing artworks most relevant to the scope of this opportunity. You may submit up to two (2) audio and two (2) video files if relevant to showing the artwork. Artists who do not have a portfolio of public art projects should consider submitting sketches of possible ideas for this project as part of the ten images. Instruction on how to format images for CaFÉ can be found at

{C}5.      References, three (3) professional references, including name, affiliated organization (if appropriate), email address, phone number, and relationship to each reference.   


QUESTIONS/FOLLOW UP:  Questions about this project may be directed to Melinda Fenton, Office of the Purchasing Agent, 757-664-4023 or

For assistance with the CaFÉ online application process, contact CaFÉ tech support at 888-562-7232 or, Monday-Friday, 8:30 PM to 5:00 PM MDT.


This Request for Proposals is governed in all respects, including but not limited to the award decision, by the Code of the City of Norfolk, 1979, as amended, especially Chapter 33.1, the Procurement Chapter, and its associated regulations.  For more information on doing business with the City of Norfolk or to become familiar with the City Code generally, its Procurement Chapter and regulations, or the ethics and non-discrimination sections of the Procurement please go to the city web site at City encourages women and minorities to submit proposals and for non-minority artist to participate with small businesses and women and minorities through partnerships, joint ventures, subcontracts and other contractual opportunities.  Please describe any planned use of such businesses in fulfilling this contract.


Before submitting proposals, please review the website for possible updates and addendums.