Made You Look

Request for Qualifications from Mural Artists for the Baltimore Underline North Wall Mural

Made You Look Baltimore, Formstone Castle, and the Station North Arts District under the management of Central Baltimore Partnership, seek a Baltimore-based artist or artist team to design and produce a unique, site-specific, blacklight mural on the north wall of the I-83 underpass along North Avenue.

north wall of the I-83 underpass at North Avenue

North wall of the I-83 underpass along North Avenue. 

This mural is part of The Baltimore Underline, an initiative to illuminate the underpass infrastructure to increase the visibility of pedestrian zones and encourage safe behavior by both drivers and pedestrians. This is one part of a holistic approach to making North Avenue a more thoughtfully designed and inviting public space. 

This area is a busy transportation hub, with sidewalks connecting pedestrians to several transportation services: the Baltimore Light Rail at the North Avenue Stop, and the BaltimoreLink Gold Line, and new North Avenue bike lanes. This section of North Avenue also physically connects three neighborhoods of Central Baltimore; Charles North and the Station North Arts District, Bolton Hill, and Reservoir Hill, and serves as an important thoroughfare between the Maryland Institute College of Art's main campus to the Station North Arts District to the east, and  The Black Arts District to the west. 

A key component of The Baltimore Underline is the use of overhead blacklight effect lighting, provided by Formstone Castle Collective. The selected muralist will work with Formstone Castle Collective to incorporate blacklight enhancements into the design. 

Historical Context:

On the south wall of the I-83 underpass, is Jerry Butler’s “Social Justice” mural - painted in 2010 in collaboration with local school students from the surrounding neighborhoods. Over the years, it has been tagged and painted over. 

Jerry Butler’s “Social Justice” mural in 2010 and 2020.

As part of the Baltimore Underline, we will be restoring the original mural in collaboration with Jerry Butler. When applying for this RFQ, the artist should consider ways to tie in their mural design for the north wall with the existing “Social Justice” mural across North Ave, so that it continues the conversation with a thematic connection. 

There will be an extensive community engagement process in relation to the mural installations during Fall 2021. The goal of the community engagement process is to organize a reunion with the original artists (then primary school students) and facilitate a discussion about what has changed since 2010. What does social justice look like in 2021, after the Freddie Gray Uprising in 2015 and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020, versus 2010? 

RFQ Process:

Artists are invited to apply for the north wall mural by submitting samples of past work and qualifications. Artists are encouraged to have some experience working on large-scale exterior murals and working with community input. Experience fabricating work intended for high traffic outdoor environments will be useful as well. Blacklight mural experience is not required, but the artist is expected to experiment and implement effects using the blacklight paint medium. They will have support from Formstone Castle for this technique and should be open to collaboration. 

The artist's vision for the mural should be informed by the discussions taking place in the reunion of students and Jerry Butler discussed above.  

Once the RFQ closes, all complete applications will be shared with an Artist Selection Panel composed of project staff, advisory board members, neighborhood stakeholders, and artists. 

After reviewing all of the applications received, the Artist Selection Panel will select 2 - 3 Finalists who will be asked to develop and submit a full proposal for mural installation on the north wall. Finalists will be offered a stipend of $500 to develop their proposal. 

Timeline:

  • September 2021: RFQ released
  • November 1st: DEADLINE to submit materials for this RFQ via this form (11:59 pm) 
  • Nov-December: Artist Selection Panel reviews submissions (RFQ)
  • December 1st: Finalists contacted and announced to develop site-specific proposal
  • January 15, 2022: Finalist Proposals Due 
  • January - Feb: Artist Selection Panel reviews proposals and provides feedback
  • February 15: Final Selected Artist(s) announced
  • March-May 2022: Install 
  • June 30, 2022: Deadline for finished artwork (artwork will be installed within the location for at least 5 years)

RFQ Application Requirements: 

All applications must include the following, saved as one multi-page document (PDF preferred - if that's not possible, you may upload images separately but please label the files with title names)

  • Applicant information: Name(s), phone number, address, and email contact information. 
  • Statement of Interest: A brief statement describing the applicant’s interest in this project and why they believe they are a good fit for this particular public art opportunity (300 words max). Please focus on how YOU would respond to Jerry Butler's Social Justice mural with a contemporary perspective, and how you might remain open to responding to community input. 
  • Samples of Previous Work & Description: Please submit  3 - 4 examples of previous artwork that illustrate the artistic approach and ability to finish and install a public art project. Work samples may be photographs or video  (JPG or MOV format accepted, please save video for web viewing). You may include descriptions underneath each project, or if submitting images separately, include one-page describing previous work samples and processes. Each piece should include title, location, year, material, overall budget, and any maintenance plan and/or community process if applicable for each work sample provided. 
  • Resume(s): Please include a resume or CV (3 pages max) listing relevant past projects, or include a link to an online resume/CV.
  • References: Please list one to two references who can speak on previous work and the ability to complete a similar project.
  • Budget Details: $15,500 + Materials

Please refer to the Rubric below to understand how our Artist Selection Panel will be assessing materials. 

Each artist selected to develop a site-specific proposal for the north wall mural will receive a proposal stipend of $500. The artist or artist team selected to complete the mural will have an artist fee budget of $15,000, with an additional budget for materials. Material budgets and agreements will be negotiated individually with selected artists.

Rubric

The following criteria will be applied when narrowing down artists to develop site-specific proposals: 

  1. All requested information is included in this RFQ application
  2. Lead artist shows work samples that demonstrate experience in creating exterior public art that includes all requested description information (Each piece should include in list format:  title, location, year, material, overall budget, and any maintenance plan and/or community process if applicable for each work sample provided.)
  3. The Statement of Interest clearly states why the artist is interested in this project and shares what may inform their idea of Social Justice currently,  in addition to ways their idea could remain flexible to incorporate community input. 
  4. Priority will be given to Baltimore-based working artists. 

To submit an application click here.