Mayor Elorza, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, and the Providence Art in City Life Commission announce:

CALL FOR ART for PVDFest 2019

PVDFest 2019 is a free, four day festival in downtown Providence on June 6–June 9.

PVDFest 2018 Public Art

Kristina Brown, Apeiron, 2018

Photo courtesy Scott Lapham.

May Babcock, Great Saltcove Macroalgae, 2018

Photo courtesy Scott Lapham.

Sam White, The Selfie Center, 2018.

Photo courtesy Sam White.

Nick Carter and KYLE, Shadow Farming, 2018.

Photo courtesy Nick Carter.

Public Art @ PVDFest 2019

The temporary public art projects at PVDFest 2019  will announce the start of PVDFest activities and will remain on site throughout Summer 2019. These new and original works should enhance pedestrian-level interactions by making the streetscape more vibrant, interactive and playful, surprising, or beautiful.  Projects will be selected as the most appropriate to the site with the caveat that the installations will be on view prior to, during, and for up to four months after PVDFest 2019 (the estimated exhibition period is May 31 – until October 31, 2019). The Art Selection Panel will review proposals for projects that maintain structural and visual integrity, remain responsive and interactive, and generate excitement for the entirety of its exhibition.

Notes on Locations and Siting

Public Art @PVDFest will be sited at the three locations listed below. We are NOT looking for a full proposal during the Qualifications round, but do want to know what site you are most interested in and what media and format you may choose should you make it to the next round. Take a look at our notes on successful past site-specific projects, including media and format, and site conditions.  All projects must be made fireproof, graffiti proof (washable) and waterproof (unless the material exposure to rain/water damage is deliberate and safe).

Civic Center Garage

Washington Street Facade(165 Washington Street)  

In the past, successful projects have included 2D works such as murals, billboards, designed signs, and mosaic fabrics.  We also think 2D glassworks, luminary art such as projection and/or reflection, and 3D add-on works such as sculpture and pottery would be successful. Moving Image such as short film, video, an animation could work well at this site, though it is important to remember a summer installation means more daylight hours.  We ask that you think about height and placement on the facade so that the work can call the attention of both pedestrians and drivers. Note the PVDFest parade happens along Washington Street and there will likely be stages across the street during the festival.

City Hall Apron

(25 Dorrance Street, corner of Washington and Dorrance)

This site is ideal for 3D sculpture, however, we hope that you will wow us. We think freestanding murals, billboards, designed sign, mosaic fabrics, and glassworks may work well here. Moving image such as short film, video, an animation could work well at this site, though it is important to remember a summer installation means more daylight hours. Note the PVDFest parade will end at the corner of Dorrance and Washington – and there will likely be a stage at the foot of the City Hall steps during the festival.  Any free-standing structure will require at least 3 feet of clearance in all directions for ADA accessibility. The apron cannot withstand the weight of a truck. Anything located here will be exposed to pedestrian level interaction before, during and after PVDFest. Large public events occur downtown throughout the summer and projects should be welcoming and responsive to the diverse wealth of public gatherings that our City welcomes.

Alex and Ani City Center

(facade and entrance at the corner of Washington and Dorrance)

This site is new to the Public Art at PVDFest program. We invite artists to imagine work on the ground at the Washington Street entrance to City Center, the Washington Street building facade, and above the center (yes, we would love to see proposals for aerial installations).  Potential projects may include 2D works such as murals, billboards, designed signs, mosaic fabrics, and glassworks, 3D sculpture or add-ons, and aerial works. Note that the City Center is animated throughout the summer with cultural festivals and programming.  Any free-standing structure will require at least three feet of clearance in all directions for ADA accessibility.


This round is by invitation only.

No more than 12 artists will be shortlisted and offered a chance to submit a full proposal. Finalists will be notified in mid-November and required to submit a full design proposal no later than January 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm.  Finalists may submit up to a total of three proposals, no more than one proposal per site.  Design proposals must include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • A brief narrative summary of the work you want to create for Public Art @ PVDFest that include thoughts on how your work will be integrated into PVDFest and celebrated downtown for the summer months (350 words max).
  • Design concept drawing, a sketch, render or visual image that represents the idea of the proposed project.  Provide a hi-res color image and a scaled site rendering that can be printed to 24” X 36”. Work must be site-specific and consider pedestrian and traffic patterns, events, weather, and safety.
  • An installation plan that includes a brief description of your anticipated technical needs and installation / deinstallation timeline (i.e., how long will it take to install).
  • Projected budget up to $10,000, including materials and artist-fee. Installation costs must be noted in the budget separately.  (Installation costs are limited to a small budget and spread across all commissioned proposals; the costs of feasible installation may affect your score.
  • High-resolution headshot (jpg) and artist bio (max 300 words) to be used in the press.

NOTE: All proposal materials must be submitted as separate PDF documents organized in one shareable google drive folder. All files must be clearly named and include the name of the artist and the name of the proposed project.  We will not consider incomplete or late applications.

Commissioned artists will be notified in late January and can begin fabrication as soon as they are able. Revised design drawings will be due in late February and final design drawings will be due April 30, 2019. The installation will begin in late May.

Artist Scope of Work

Commissioned artists must adhere to the following responsibilities:

  • Execute a contract and adhere to deadlines within.
  • Attend press events and/or participate in promotional activities leading up to the festival
  • Submit final design concepts no later than April 30, 2019.
  • Design, fabricate, and purchase materials to contractual deadline.
  • Be present at and participate in the Installation of the work.
  • Be present at and participate in the removal or de-accessioning of the work.
  • Restore the site to its original condition.

Note: Applicants will retain copyright and receive credit for their work; the City of Providence and Producing Partner reserve the right to reproduce images of commissioned works for non-commercial purposes.

The artist selection method

Artists will be selected through a competitive, two-tiered process. Qualified artists may submit their Artist Statement, Resume/CV, and three to five examples of relevant projects to ACT by  November 1, 2018.

The Art Selection Panel will review complete applications and score the submitted qualifications, limiting the selection pool to no more than twelve artists.

The twelve finalists will be invited to submit design proposal(s) by  November 16, 2018. Each artist will receive a modest stipend for their design work and a detailed Request for Proposals to guide their thinking.

Artists will have until January 7, 2019, to submit their full design proposals to ACT, which will include a project narrative detailing their proposed design, a project budget, and a project timeline.

The Art Selection PPanel will reconvene to review full proposals and upon ACL approval will notify the commissioned artists no later than January 31, 2019.  

The commissioned artists will be publicly announced in Spring 2019.


Public Art @PVDFest has a total budget of $36,000. $30,000 is reserved for artist fees + materials ($10,000 per artist/project) and $6000 is reserved towards installation and deinstallation costs and additional as needed tech.

Project Schedule

  • September 14, 2018: RFQ is live  
  • November 1, 2018: RFQ deadline
  • November 16, 2018: Finalists are notified
  • January 7,  2019: RFP Deadline   
  • January 16, 2019: ACL Commission reviews Art Selection Panel recommended artists
  • January 31, 2019:  Artists are engaged
  • February 28, 2019: Artists submit revised design drawings (subject to change)
  • March 2019: Press event tbd
  • April 2019: studio visits, tbd
  • April 2019: meet the artist event tbd
  • April 30, 2019: Final design drawings due (subject to change)
  • May 21, 2018:  Final City Service review  (subject to change)
  • May 28 – June 2, 2019: Installation period, schedule tbd (subject to change)
  • May 28 – October 31: Exhibition period  (subject to change)
  • November 1-10, 2019: Deaccession period  (subject to change)