Call for Public Artists – Minneapolis Art Wraps


City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places and Public Works

Art Wrap designs: Entwined by Gail Katz-James (left); Upper St. Anthony Falls Dam View From Beneath the Stone Arch Bridge by Kristine Heykants (right)

City of Minneapolis Art Wraps: Utility Box Designs
City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places and Public Works

The City of Minneapolis invites artists of all experience levels to submit unique designs that will be displayed across the city. The Minneapolis Art Wrap program is a collection of pre-approved utility box wrap designs, that are used by neighborhoods and business districts to wrap their local utility boxes. The wraps began as a pilot program in attempt to decrease tagging and graffiti on the boxes, and has become very popular across the City of Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Art Wrap program was initiated by the Minneapolis Arts Commission with the goal of creating a vibrant city-wide gallery that celebrates the range and talent of creative artists living and working in the area. Art on utility boxes has made a big impact on communities, and the City is eager to welcome and share this next generation of Art Wraps.

Optional Informational Meeting for Artists:

1) Tuesday June 4th, 2019; 4:30-5:30pm CDT; Washburn Library – Meeting Room; 5244 Lyndale Ave S
2) Thursday June 6th, 2019; 5:30-6:30pm CDT; North Regional Library – North Meeting Room; 1315 Lowry Ave N

Application deadline: July 2nd, 2019; 4:00pm CDT (Intent to Apply due 07/01)
This Call for Artists is available on the City’s website at

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats contact [email protected]
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

A. Next Generation of Art Wraps

The City is seeking 20 artists to create the next generation of Art Wraps. This new collection will consist of 12 single utility box designs, and 8 suite designs. Suite designs will wrap clusters of utility boxes found on one corner or on the same street and are intended to be a series of images similar in style and concept by the same artist. All the designs will be available to eligible organizations to use through the City’s Art Wrap application permitting process.

B. About Utility Boxes

This project’s primary focus is to wrap traffic utility boxes owned by the City of Minneapolis; however, boxes owned by other entities (Metro Transit, Century Link, etc.) may be wrapped using the selected designs, with their permission.

Utility boxes range considerably in size and shape; consequently, designs will need to be modified to accommodate a number of special features including: meters, windows, vents, handles, hinges, identifying letters or numbers, and other attachments.

Selected designs will be digitally printed on a high- quality vinyl product by a vendor. The vinyl is essentially a massive sticker that is then applied to a signal box by a professional installer. The process is very similar to applying graphic vinyl to vehicles. The vinyl includes a graffiti-resistant outer layer that facilitates future clean-up and simple graffiti removal.

C. Timeline

May 17th, 2019 - Call for Artists Posted

Week of June 3rd - Artist Informational Meetings (optional, same meeting)

  • June 4th, 2019 4:30-5:30pm CDT
    Washburn Library – Meeting Room
    5244 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis MN 55419
  • June 6th, 2019 5:30-6:30pm CDT
    North Regional Library – North Meeting Room 1315 Lowry Ave N, Minneapolis MN 55411

July 1st, 2019 - REQUIRED Intent to Apply Submission, 4:00pm CDT

July 2nd, 2019 - Application and Design Deadline, 4:00pm CDT

July 10th & 17th, 2019 - Applications Reviewed, and Designs Selected

Week of July 15th, 2019 - Finalists Notified

End of July 2019 - Contracting with selected artists

August 2019 - Design Finalization & Layout Options Created

August 2019 – October 2025 - Designs Available to the Public

D. Design Theme Requirements:

The City is seeking images that address the following question:
“What makes Minneapolis unique?”

Images should complement a variety of settings: commercial corridors (Lake Street, Hennepin Avenue, Broadway Avenue), small neighborhoods, shopping/dining areas, residential areas, green/park spaces, highway exit/entrance ramps, etc.

Design considerations:

  • The goal is to beautify, deter graffiti, and make positive emotional connections.
  • Avoid large areas of solid color and large areas of similar color as they are frequently tagged.
  • Consider the use of lines to create textures, and complex patterns over simple repeating patterns in order to help deter the amount of space available for tagging.
  • Appealing year round- what will it look like in the winter versus summer?
  • Consider how the design works in 3D, including how the sides and top interact with each other.
  • How does the experience of imagery differ for modes of transportation on the street versus those on the sidewalks?
  • Images and text that you include that were not created by you, will likely require copyright approvals.
  • Digital versions of existing artworks are acceptable, provided the artist owns the copyright and the artwork is not on display permanently in a public location in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
  • Designs cannot mimic or be mistaken for traffic control devices (stop lights, stop signs, etc.), or include advertising, branding, or commercial images.
  • A suite should have three designs of a similar style, concept, and/or color scheme that all relate to one another.

Can I Apply?

  • Open to artists, at every experience level, currently living in Minnesota.
  • Open to artists working in a broad range of media including but not limited to: painters, photographers, digital artists, collage artists, mosaic artists, quilters, etc.

Members of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, and the Commission’s Public Arts Advisory Panel, are NOT eligible to apply.

E. What do I have to submit?

Intent to Apply Form: Artists planning to apply should complete the Intent to Apply form here.
You will then receive an email that includes a link to a folder into which you will upload your application.

Written Materials: Artists should submit in one single 8 1⁄2” x 11” document. Please include the following, in this order:

  • Cover Sheet: A completed copy of the attached cover sheet. Please remember to sign it! Narrative Description: A brief narrative describing your design(s) or suite(s) and/or the
  • inspiration for your design(s) (1-page maximum).
  • Bio or Resume: Up to one page sharing your relevant and/or most recent work and life experience as it relates to this project. An Artist Resume is also acceptable.
  • References: The names, addresses, emails, and daytime phone numbers of three professional references from past or similar projects.
  • Permissions: If you are using pictures of people or text in your design, please be aware that you must provide a signed statement stating that you have the following below:
    • Images of people – 1) you, the artist, have the current contact information for these specific people, and 2) you have a verbal or written agreement that you have permission to use their image in your design.
    • Text – 1) You, the artist, own the copyright, or 2) the text is in the public domain, or 3) that you have contacted the copyright holder and they have given you a verbal or written agreement that you have permission to use the text.

Design(s): Artists should submit their design(s) as JPG image(s).

Image Guidelines:

  • Each image must be a separate file.
  • The image file name should be labeled clearly and include the applicant(s)’ last name and a number. (examples: Single Design – Smith_03; Suite Design – Smith_A_02) • Do not include explanatory text in the image file.
  • Printed photographs, brochures, slides, or websites provided instead of an image should not be submitted, and will not be reviewed by the selection panel for consideration.

Image Size: Your image should be of a reasonable size. Big enough to see, but small enough to open easily. We suggest you flatten the image and size to 1920 pixels horizontal and vertical. Do not submit progressive JPGs. If you are still unsure, we recommend going to using the guidelines on CaFÉTM

Note: The image guidelines above are only for the application and review process. The final image(s) provided by selected artists are to be of higher quality and are required to be submitted later on. The design quality requirements for selected artists are listed below under section K: Responsibilities of Selected Artists.

F. Submitting Art Wrap Single Designs and Suite Designs

An Art Wrap suite is a collection of three single images that are displayed together and make one design (like a tryptic). Each image will be mounted on a single box with the entire design suite covering a cluster of utility boxes, or multiple nearby boxes along a single roadway. A suite may have three designs of a similar style, concept, and/or color scheme that relate to one another.

Artists can submit up to three designs for either option – a total of three single designs or three suites. Artists may also choose to submit a combination of suites and single box designs; two suites & one single, or, two singles & one suite. Artists are not required to submit a total of three, but may not exceed three of either, or a combination of three.

If you are submitting designs for a suite, please submit three separate image files that make up one set of cohesive designs. The image file name should be labeled clearly and include the applicant(s)’ last name, a suite letter, and a number. (example: Smith_A_02)

G. How do I submit my application?

Submission Folder: Artists planning to apply should complete the Intent to Apply form here. You will then receive an email with a link to a folder where you can upload your application.

  • It is recommended that you complete the Intent to Apply form at least one day prior to the deadline. Staff need to create your submission folder and send you an invitation. This deadline is to ensure you have enough time to upload your application before losing access to the folder at 4:00pm. Please also be aware that many people often run into technical difficulties during their first time accessing the folder, or submitting using this method.
  • Do NOT email proposals or send links to file transfer or cloud programs, such as Drop Box. These will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Date and Time: Applications must be submitted on July 2nd, 2019 by 4:00pm CDT.
Warning: you will lose access to your submission folder at 4:00pm. Early submissions are encouraged!

Additional Information: Materials from the informational meetings will be posted online as an addendum with this Call for Artists. This Call for Artists is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Person: Talia Moorman; Public Arts Coordinator
Email: [email protected] ; Phone: 612.673.2149

H. Selection Criteria

The criteria listed below will be used for evaluating and selecting designs.


  • Stimulate excellence in urban design and public arts: Is the image engaging and high quality in concept? Is the image interesting and unique? Does the image work within or play with the box form itself?
  • Enhance community identity and place: Is the image meaningful and adaptable to multiple neighborhoods in the City?
  • Contribute to community vitality: Does the image draw people passing by on bikes, on foot or in cars? Does the image celebrate the City?
  • Involve a broad range of people/communities: Will a broad range of people connect with the image emotionally?

  • Value artists and artistic process: Does this image celebrate the range and talent of creative artists living and in the City. Does the image not include any branding or commercial imagery?

  • Use resources wisely: Is the Imagery detailed enough to prevent graffiti. Is the design adaptable to a range of box sizes and shapes.

I. Selection Process

The Artist Selection Panel for this project is the Minneapolis Arts Commission’s Public Art Advisory Panel. They will make the final selections totaling twelve single designs and eight suites. They will also determine three alternative single designs and two alternative suites.

The Public Art Advisory Panel includes:
Two artists, an arts administrator, a landscape architect, three Minneapolis Arts commissioners, two engineers, a city planner, and three community representatives.

The Minneapolis Arts Commission will review and approve all the designs recommended by the panel.

J. Responsibilities of Selected Artists

  • The final high-quality image(s) will be provided by the artist to the City once the artist has been selected. The chosen artists are responsible for all costs related to providing the final image in a high-quality format (see below), that can be resized and manipulated by vendors for individual boxes. These costs may include, but are not limited to, photography, scanning, and graphic design expenses.
  • Image Format: The final format for images should be at least 3000 pixels at the smallest dimension, set at a quality of 300dpi or better. PDF, JPEG, or TIFF files are accepted formats.
  • Approving Layouts: Artists will be required to work in collaboration with a wrap vendor to create and approve a series of semi-final layouts of their design(s) on various standard box sizes.
  • Artist Layout Intent Statement: Artists will need to provide a short explanation of their intent for the layout of the design on boxes. This information will be used by vendors when designs need to be altered from the semi-final layouts you created (see above- approving layouts).

Artist Contract: The Artist will contract with the City for the use of their design, for no more than 30 uses over a 5.5 year period. (Through 2025 wrapping season, ending in October 2025).

Permissions: If images of real people or text are included in your design, the artist must obtain proper releases for the use of them on Art Wraps (see section F-What do I have to Submit, Permissions).

Naming Design or Suite: Artists will be required to title their design(s) for easy identification. We suggest something that is five words or less, easy, fun, and creative.

K. Artist Compensation

Artist compensation includes all of the services listed above in section K- Responsibilities of Selected Artists. Artists whose final designs are selected will be awarded the following stipend upon completion of the artist responsibilities:

$1,100 for a single design or
$2500 for a suite

Please note that it is unlikely, but not impossible, for the panel to select more than one single design or suite PER artist, since they are committed to working with 20 artists.

L. Intellectual Property

Artist represents and warrants that the Artist is the author, creator, or sole copyright holder of the material submitted to the City of Minneapolis and that said material does not and will not infringe upon the proprietary or any intellectual property rights of any other persons or entities.

The City and its assigns shall possess and own a copy of the digital files of the image as well as any photographs or other physical image submitted by the Artist through this project (the “Public Artwork”). The Public Artwork will be manipulated by others, in consultation with the Artist, to facilitate installation on utility boxes and use in future publications, websites, communications, etc.

The Artist retains all other rights provided through the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. to the Public Artwork.

The Artist grants to the City and its assigns an irrevocable license to make three dimensional designs of the digital images and to reproduce the three dimensional designs on vinyl wrap for display on utility boxes in up to thirty locations to be displayed for the lifespan of the wraps. Prior to installation of the wrap, the Artist will have the opportunity to review and comment on the three dimensional design. The Artist also grants to the City the sole discretion to destroy these wraps at the end of their lifespan, when the vinyl wrap is in disrepair, when the utility box needs to be replaced, or for any other reasons.

The Artist also grants to City and its assigns an irrevocable license to post the digital images on the internet and to make two-dimensional designs of the digital images to be used for information and other purposes, such as in brochures, media, publicity and catalogs, or other similar non-profit publications.

All images used by the City and its assigns will credit the Artist and project name. Artists shall indemnify the City and its assigns against any and all claims related to consideration, ownership or use of the digital images.

M. Credit Box

All of the Art Wraps will include a credit box that will be made part of the final wrap. The credit box is usually black or brown with white text, and includes the following:


    Artist’s Full Name 2019

    This design was sponsored by the City of Minneapolis Art
    in Public Places program, Minneapolis Public Works, and [ names of applicant/ organizations] For more information, visit the City’s website and search for “Minneapolis Art Wraps” or call 311.

    Updated city language box, will also be included.

Opportunity Opens

Monday, May 20th 2019

Opportunity Closes

Tuesday, Jul 2nd 2019, 4:00pm

Application Location

MN Artists