RFQ: Rain Campaign Public Art


Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District and Group Creative Services

Rain Campaign Call for qualifications

Eligibility: All artists with demonstrated ability to complete projects of similar scale

Apply by submitting:

  • three to five images and descriptions of related work
  • two page CV
  • Artist’s statement
  • Statement of experience, intent, or direction with regard to this project
  • send to [email protected]

Deadline to submit or timeline of the project 5/10/2019

Group Creative Services is a public art consultancy specializing in facilitating public art calls and conducting master planning and artist-led assessment based in Des Moines, IA. We are especially interested in supporting the work of artists whose work actively builds community and drives novel, thoughtful interactions.

Three respondents to this RFQ will be selected to develop proposals. Each proposal is paid in two installments of $500 for a total of $1,000 per proposal.

Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District (Polk SWCD) is broadening awareness of its urban watershed improvement program and municipal cost-share programs to help residential landowners save money on stormwater-related home upgrades while improving and protecting Iowa rivers and streams. The program supports city payment for 50% of stormwater Best Management Practice (BMPs) home improvement projects including installing lawn soil health improvements, rain gardens, permeable paver drives and patios, rainwater barrels, planting natural prairie grass, restoring topsoil quality, or building streambank stabilizations. Some municipalities may not offer support for all BMPs and not all BMPs are listed here.

Artist-built tools support strategies that go beyond educating Polk County’s urban residents on their local watershed; we want to create curiosity that incites action using cost share program dollars as a compelling offer to benefit their homes and neighborhoods by enhancing soil health and water quality.

Our focused call to action is support of Soil Quality Restoration projects in the context of watershed understanding.

The artists’ job is to create two collaborative components.
A highly compelling “Event tool” will attract attention at city festivals and home expos while demonstrating the importance of urban watersheds and benefits of BMPs. This may be large in scale and must be portable.

Additionally, the artist is asked to create a hands-off program to drive word of mouth referrals. A “Signal Tool.” An unusual and fun community-building version of a yard sign.

Use of novel experiences to educate on the environmental importance of watershed and stormwater stewardship by homeowners is a requirement of this project.

The art work developed must

  • address the goals of the project in two dimensions: in the larger public setting and in the homeowner’s circles of influence
  • communicate the benefits of urban watershed stewardship
  • encourage social interaction around urban watershed management activities
  • realize high visual appeal
  • Ideally include methods for objective measurement of program outcomes.

With the help of Group Creative Services, Polk SWCD is issuing a call for artists to submit their qualifications for consideration for proposal development.

Three artists (or groups) will be asked to prepare a detailed proposal for the Polk SWCD project. Participating artists are contracted for this work and are paid a fee for the proposals.

Artists are invited but not required to present their proposals in person at a date to be determined.

A product launch event in early Fall of 2019 begins the art outreach component of a larger coordinated effort. Public Relations are ongoing and will adapt to incorporate the artwork into the program’s messaging. The initial grant cycle completes in May of 2020.

Project Goal
The core of this work is informed by a Natural Resources Conservation Service case history affirming the need to focus on event-based engagement, using trusted civic voices to deliver a simple request for direct, personal action.

We also want to make this campaign easy to share ‘across the fence’, as behavioral change modeled among peers delivers exceptionally efficient reach. We can reflect owners’ aspirations in the practices they find among friends and neighbors.

Problem identification is a primary feature of education. Drainage issues, patchy grass, trouble growing trees, etc. attract likely users and educate them on the associated solutions through watershed care. We want this to feel simple and personal to make watershed conversations accessible.

Work will drive a building strategy and be integrated with other messaging campaigns uniting partners from homeowners to contractors to governments.

Two sites must be considered and both are abstract. Artists may want to search for Springboard for the Arts’ Ready Go projects. A central tool for this campaign with be a remarkable experience that can be shared across the metro.

Event Tool
Our proposed concept is development of a mobile, participatory structure that attracts attention -- something that makes people ask “what the heck is that thing?” The tool serve as a focal point at events and other venues that attracts people and then prompts conversation, participation and interaction. The value of this approach, beyond direct engagement, includes strong potential for earned media as it travels and as residents inevitably capture and share their experience online.

Signal Tool
We’re also interested in materials that let people take credit for their watershed work and broadcast their actions to peers.
These could be as simple as yard signs or more involved like color-changing lights, and there will be simple message tools for interpersonal use, too. We are eager to develop and test a range of collateral to support this campaign.

Digital Tools
Our experience igniting word of mouth points to the need for social media content and other digital tools for shared use. Our budget reflects the development of images, video and other assets to foster networked reach among homeowners, spreading from as many partners as possible. Pride, absurdity, and intrigue are encouraged.

Dates at this writing are tentative and subject to change.

5/10/19: Artist RFQs due

5/13: Selection of three candidates
—RFP and briefs distributed

6/10: Artists’ proposal presentations    

6/13: Selected artist(s) notified

6/24: Final art, revisions + production plan

8/15/19: Project completion and final installation

5/1/20: Completion of grant cycle

Design Criteria
The primary consideration for this project is to create a highly compelling and entertaining watershed-related experience and to devise a related mechanism that shares that experience with neighbors and friends.

Successful proposals will include aspects of diversity and an insightful awareness and unique perspective. The character of the artwork should be authentic to the artist’s typical mode of work.

Total project budget is inclusive of time, labor, materials, travel, insurance, engineering, power, permits, security, etc. The budget for full project realization is $30,000.

The artist(s) selection will be based on:

  • Demonstrated experience on projects of similar size and prominence
  • Success translating/expressing the concept/goals through their work
  • Quality of sample work
  • The durability of previous artwork relative to environment, including theft and vandalism
  • Ability of the artist to meet deadlines
  • Expression of vision, as expressed in the cover letter

Evidence of Artist’s Experience

  • Eligible artists must have attained a level of expertise and recognition in their
  • medium, as demonstrated by one or more of the following:
  • Works included in private, public, corporate or museum collections;
  • Receipt of awards, grants or fellowships;
  • Completion of public commissions on a similar scale
  • Participation in exhibitions at museums or galleries.

Proposal Development Fee
Up to three proposals from selected artists will be funded at $1,000 each. Proposals are paid with two $500 installments—one at the beginning and one when the proposal is submitted. Completed proposals may be retained for consideration in future, similar projects in the region. Artists are encouraged to attend and present their completed proposal to the selection committee.

Proposal Requirements
IF SELECTED FOR A FUNDED PROPOSAL, the artist must provide a proposal including at least one fully developed concept communicated with appropriate visualization, an estimated budget, and estimated timeline, along with information on any anticipated needs for professional services or installation. These needs are the artist’s responsibility.

Complete budget, timeline, and plans are expected as part of a revised proposal and implementation plan after selection.

Proposals must also include the following:

  • artist statement of intent
  • description of project
  • concept and approach
  • proposed timeline
  • proposed budget and materials site plan or analysis, appropriate visualization and planning documents such as drawings, models, or CAD
  • presentations, or videos
  • maintenance needs and proposals

Contact Information

The artist(s)’ primary contact will be through representatives of Group Creative Services at the direction of Hanser & Associates and Polk County Soil and Conservation.

Opportunity Opens

Tuesday, Apr 16th 2019

Opportunity Closes

Friday, May 10th 2019, 11:45pm

Application Location

External Site
MN Artists