(Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
While Founders Park remains under construction, members of the Public Art Committee of Johnson City are already making plans to incorporate art in the finished product.
On Wednesday, a request for proposals for the Founders Park Entryway Art Project went live, calling on all artists 18 and older nationwide — excluding city employees, art committee members and selection committee members — to submit proposals for a permanent project for the park.
“We are looking for artists or designers who can design a large-scale project that will incorporate signage for the new Founders Park retention pond project,” Catherine Murray, Public Art Committee member and professor of sculpture and chair of the department of art and design at East Tennessee State University, said. “The goal of the project is to identify the park and also to enhance the entrance of the park and to welcome people to the park. We’re looking for original ideas.”
According to the RFP, Founders Park will have native plants on the grounds and will serve as a nurturing environment, and the public art projects will be judged on how they will animate the space and work with the plans already in place for the park, such as musical events, family picnics and dog walking.
One requirement for all submitted proposals is that each one must display and use the name “Founders Park” in their project.
“It has to say Founders Park on it (and) has to be visible from the road,” Murray said. “We didn’t put restrictions on the scale (of the art pieces). (The) materials (used) could be anything like stone or brick or concrete or stainless steel or bronze, anything that is durable outside. Whatever project goes in will have to be able to withstand some water conditions.”
According to the RFP, electricity will also be made available for the site.
She said those applying will have to submit at least 10 examples of previous artwork, with some artwork demonstrating that they can handle a large-scale project.
The deadline to submit proposals is Dec. 20 and then a selection committee will judge them and narrow the list to three finalists.
“We will select three finalists and the finalists will be invited to create a model of their idea,” Murray said.
According to the RFP, each artist will be given $1,000 to build a scale maquette of their plan for the entrance and will submit their models on Feb. 5. Finalists will present their projects on Feb. 21 and 22 and one of the artists will be selected on March 1.
A formal unveiling for the art project is tentatively scheduled for early December 2014.
The city of Johnson City will also provide on-site assistance for the installation of the project.
Another RFP will soon go live for a Public Art Corridor Exhibition.
“The corridor project will be a competition in which we will lease 11 outdoor sculptures,” Murray said. “We’ve identified sites along the corridor, between Johnson City downtown and ETSU, basically along State of Franklin Road. Unlike the Founders Park (project), which is going to be a brand new sculpture, we’re asking for examples of existing sculptures that sculptors could bring to Johnson City and lease them to us for 18 months to two years.”
She said the art corridor exhibition will be an ongoing program and every 18 months to two years, the art committee will re-publicize the competition to bring new sculptures to the area.
“It will be a constantly changing display of outdoor sculptures,” Murray said. “We hope to invigorate the corridor to bring interesting and vibrant public art for the community to see. It will be very visible. We hope to invigorate the connection between downtown and ETSU. We hope to stimulate the conversation about the place of art in the larger community.”
Like the Founders Park guidelines, the sculptures placed at each of the sites for the exhibition must be able to withstand the varying weather conditions and electricity will be available at some of the sites, according to the RFP. The exhibition is open to artists 18 and older from throughout the U.S. and submitted sculptures must have been created since 2003.
Tentatively, the deadline to submit applications for the exhibition is Dec. 1 and projects are anticipated to be up at the different sites around the first of June.
For application details for both the Founders Park and Public Art Corridor, visit www.johnsoncitytn.org/art or call Phil Pindzola, public works director, at 434-6080, or email email@example.com.