Hamilton County has contracted ArtWorks to facilitate an international call-to-artists to find an artist or group of artists to design a mural for the soon-to-be newly constructed Findlay Market parking garage. This commission opportunity is a two-phase design process, beginning with a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that will expand to a Request for Proposals (RFP) at a later date, for selected finalists.
Overview & Guidelines:
Beginning in 2021 and concluding in 2023, Hamilton County is currently constructing a new multi-story parking garage adjacent to the historic Findlay Market in the historic Over-The-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. This 535-space public garage will include 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level that will be accessible to both Central Parkway to the west and Elder Street to the south. The perimeter façade aims to have the appearance of multiple buildings to provide scale to the overall building massing, while also relating to the surrounding neighborhood. Two of the south façade sections and two of the north façade sections will incorporate living walls. Additionally, as part of this planned development, the new garage will create dedicated space for a south-facing 4-story tall area, which is reserved for a unique and one-of-a-kind mural that will be designed by a professional Artist and produced on-site by a team of ArtWorks Youth Apprentices under the guidance of local professional Teaching Artists.
This mural aims to serve as a representation of what we want our City to be by illustrating and interpreting the beautiful activity of the OTR neighborhood, and the Market space, which brings together people from all walks of life. The ultimate artistic outcome should welcome and uplift residents and visitors of Findlay Market, and the artwork should provide a “punch” of visual impact against the backdrop of the parking garage structure. Successful artwork will be colorful and vibrant, depict movement and dynamism, and show the depth and intersection of people and place in OTR and Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Ohio. Applicants should note that a more detailed creative brief will be issued to those who are invited to participate in Phase II – Request for Proposals (up to three artists/artist teams), which will further guide artists in understanding the full scope of artistic goals associated with this design opportunity.
Ultimately, the artist/artist team selected to create the final design will produce and deliver design files that will be executed by a team of professional Teaching Artists and Youth Apprentices employed by ArtWorks. In ArtWorks’ 26-year history, the local non-profit has employed over 4,000 Youth Apprentices and 3,500 Teaching Artists to create over 14,000 pieces of community and public art. Of those 14,000 pieces, approximately 240 of those are large-scale, permanent murals, like the mural that will be produced through this opportunity. To see examples and learn more about ArtWorks, please visit the ArtWorks website to view the portfolio of completed murals. The on-site production team will paint the mural over the course of 8 weeks beginning in June 2023 and concluding in August 2023.
Key Words & Phrases
Welcoming & Aspirational
Iconic & Eye-Catching
Vibrant & Dynamic
Inclusive & Diverse
Community & Connection
Site Plans/Site Information:
Findlay Market Overview: Findlay Market is celebrating its 170th Anniversary this year! 170 years of fresh, high-quality foods, genuine human connection, and a supportive environment for diverse businesses to grow. A lot has changed about Findlay Market since 1852 (hello, indoor refrigeration!), but its essence remains the same. Findlay Market will always be committed to its role as a connector, a community builder, and a vital community asset. The original iron-framed market house is still standing, but it is the people inside–the vendors and the customers–that truly make Findlay Market the living landmark that Cincinnatians cherish.
Home to more than 60 full-time merchants and 100+ local farmers and weekend vendors, the market has always served as the neighborhood’s main source of fresh foods. Diversity in all senses of the word – socioeconomic, racial, price, and product offering – has been the driving force for Findlay Market continuing to be a welcoming, approachable and necessary place for people who live in the region. Generations of butchers, cheese mongers, produce vendors, bakers, markers, and artisans have made their mark on this historic place.
Findlay Market sees more than 1.2MM visitors each year, regularly in the top 5 most visited attractions in Cincinnati. The market hosts dozens of annual events, regular community programming, and is home to the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade (an unofficial holiday for our town). A full team focused on Food Innovation is ensuring that food entrepreneurs have everything they need to start, grow and scale. Programs such as Findlay Kitchen, Findlay Launch, and Findlay Learn have placed a special emphasis on supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, and immigrant businesses.
As the bell rings at the start and end of each market day, Findlay Market is proud to live up to their vision: A premier destination for local food and artisan products, a dynamic public gathering place, and a vital community asset.
Findlay Market History: Findlay Market is the only surviving municipal market house of the nine public markets operating in Cincinnati in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The market house is built on land donated to the City of Cincinnati by the estate of General James Findlay (1770 – 1835) and Jane Irwin Findlay (1769 – 1851). Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest surviving municipal market house. It was designed under the direction of City Civil Engineer Alfred West Gilbert (1816-1900) using a durable but unconventional cast and wrought iron frame, a construction technology that had been little used in the United States. Findlay Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The structure was among the first markets in the United States to use iron frame construction technology and is one of very few that have survived.
Built originally as an open-sided pavilion, the market was erected in 1852 but disputes with contractors and difficulties correcting problems with the new construction methods delayed its opening until 1855. The center masonry tower was added in 1902. Soon after, public health concerns about the market, which was open to the elements and exposed to increasing urban pollution, prompted the enclosure of the market house and the addition of plumbing and refrigeration. Merchants previously had used cool storage in deep cellars beneath nearby breweries.
The market house tower bell, rung at the start of each market day, was brought from Cincinnati’s Pearl Street Market when that facility was torn down in 1934. Findlay Market was renovated in 1973-74 as part of the federal Model Cities program. It was renovated again and expanded in 2002 and 2003.
Read more about Findlay Market at https://www.findlaymarket.org/history.
Note: Artists/artist teams that are invited to participate in the RFP phase will be encouraged to conduct their own/additonal research about Cincinnati, Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, etc.
- A design concept fee of $1,500 (USD) is to be paid to each selected artist/artist team for proposal/concept development for Phase 2 of the design process (RFP). Note: Selected artists/artists teams will be asked to create and submit two unique conceptual sketches for consideration as part of the RFP Phase.
- A final design fee of $8,000 (USD) is to be paid to the selected finalist for continued development and finalization of the selected design concept. Note: As part of the final design phase, artist/artist team should be prepared to move through 1-2 rounds of feedback and potential revisions from the project committee.
- A separate budget will be provided to the artist/artist team upon acceptance and approval of the final design for travel and lodging to Cincinnati for the project dedication celebration once the project is complete.
- Phase 1 (RFQ) launch: November 1, 2022
- Phase 1 (RFQ) closed: January 31, 2023
- Partners select up to three (3) artists/artist teams to advance for Phase 2 (RFP): Mid-February 2023
- Two concept proposals due from artists: March 31, 2023
- Selected artist/artist team and proposal contracted for final design: Early-April 2023
- Final design due from artist/artist team: May 1, 2023
- Review and approval of final design with committee: May 2023
- Production of artwork begins on-site with ArtWorks Youth Apprentice team: June 5, 2023
- Project complete: Early August 2023
- Project Dedication: TBD – Fall 2023
- Professional artists and teams of artists who have experience designing site-specific public art commissions within the past ten (10) years are eligible, or those who can demonstrate equivalent skills and experience.
- Artists of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the RFQ process.
- Demonstrates prior experience with:
- designing large-scale, site-specific, permanent public artwork (murals)
- incorporating community and/or committee feedback on design development
- conducting research to inform design
- collaborating with partners, design teams, communities
- Quality of work samples
- Artistic aesthetic
Note: Selected finalists will be required to attend an in-person (if local) or remote interview with the selection committee to further discuss the artist/artist team’s application materials, qualifications, interest, and vision for this opportunity.
Applications will be accepted through the Call For Entry (CaFÉ) platform/application portal (https://www.callforentry.org/).
- Sign up for a free account to submit your application on CaFe.
- Follow the direct link to the application and upload the required submission materials.
Required information for this application:
- Contact information*
- Previous relevant art commissions*
- Exhibitions, awards, grants
- References* – Please include at least three (3) art and/or design professionals who have detailed knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods, including fulfilling deadlines, working with the community, etc. Include contact name, organization, address, telephone, and email for each reference
* – indicates required materials
- Artwork Images
- Submit a minimum of three (3) and up to five (5) relevant images of completed artworks and/or commissions from the last 10 years.
- Submit an accompanying reference sheet detailing high-level information about each chosen piece including but not limited to: Title, Date, Location, Media/Material, Budget, etc.
- Letter of Interest
Please include the following information in a 1- 2 page letter of interest:
- Contact Information (name, address, phone number, and website for artist group and/or all individual artist team members)
- Description of your interest working on this project
- Description of most relevant comparable projects from the last 10 years
- Description of philosophy on public art and/or creative placemaking
- In reference to the Selection Criteria section, discuss your/your team’s eligibility for this opportunity
Representatives from ArtWorks, the Corporation for Findlay Market, Hamilton County, and residents from the Findlay Market/Over-the-Rhine neighborhood will lead the overall strategic input process for artist selection. This committee will review artist submissions and interview finalists prior to being invited to create a design proposal.
- ArtWorks: ArtWorks, now in its 26th year, is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that has pioneered public art and economic impact throughout the region with a mission to create community-based public art that provides career opportunities for artists of all ages. ArtWorks co-creates public art with community leaders that builds civic pride and beautifies the region, creating jobs for over 300 artists annually, including youth, ages 14-21, earning a living wage. Economic empowerment, mentorship, and upward mobility are critically important for youth and artists who are underemployed and youth come from a majority of underserved households. Since 1996, ArtWorks has employed nearly 4,000 youth and 3,500 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 14,000 public and private works of art that include over 240 permanent outdoor murals, as well as public sculpture, and light-based installations as part of BLINK, all contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination. ArtWorks is based in the neighborhood Walnut Hills in Historic Peebles Corner with a new storefront and youth gallery and is part of the burgeoning arts district in Cincinnati’s second downtown. www.artworkscincinnati.org
- Findlay Market: The Corporation for Findlay Market (CFFM) is a 501(c)3 private non-profit organization that manages and operates Findlay Market. This team keeps the market safe, clean, and beautiful, supports market merchants, and attracts a diverse group of new businesses to Findlay Market and the surrounding Market District. They help businesses start, grow and scale with Findlay Kitchen, a shared-use incubator kitchen, Findlay Launch, the region’s first Storefront Accelerator Training Program, and the Findlay Market Shopping App. CFFM preserves and expands the connection with the OTR neighborhood, the Cincinnati community, and its shoppers by cultural and income diversity at Findlay Market and ensuring that the Market District serves a diverse population. They host more than a dozen community events each year and have launched the Findlay CulinaryTraining Program and workforce development restaurant, Mighty Good: Meat n’ Three. https://www.findlaymarket.org/about
- Hamilton County: Hamilton County, Ohio is the home county of the Greater Cincinnati region. Like its namesake, Alexander Hamilton, it has a feisty spirit that has helped leave its indelible mark on America. In Hamilton County, strong Midwestern values – tough, hardworking, and polite – are present in the people that call this County home. Hamilton County is also a strikingly beautiful place bounded by rivers – the mighty Ohio, the Little Miami, and the Great Miami – whose valleys have created unparalleled vistas that surprise visitors expecting to see a flat landscape. Some might also say Hamilton County is a bit of an overachiever, “punching above its weight class,” when it comes to its world-class public libraries, children’s hospital, and parks – all ranked in the top 10 in the nation. Those rankings help explain why Hamilton County ranked No. 9 on Forbes’ list of “The Best Cities For Raising a Family.” And when it comes to opportunity in Hamilton County – whether a longtime resident or a relative newcomer – everything one could need and want is within reach. As the No. 1 least-costly location to do business in the U.S., (according to a study conducted by the audit, tax, and advisory firm KPMG) it’s no wonder that Fortune 500 giants like Kroger, Procter & Gamble, and Macy’s call Hamilton County home. https://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/about