City of West Hollywood
ART ON THE OUTSIDE PROGRAM
Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Can You Dig It?
Temporary Land Art Exhibition
RFQ released: July 15, 2015
Deadline to apply: August 26, 2015

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The City of West Hollywood’s Art on the Outside program is seeking qualifications from artists and/or artist teams to establish a pool of qualified artists to create temporary, site-specific, land art installations in Plummer Park and along Santa Monica Boulevard in an exhibition titled Can You Dig It?, a response to the current California drought and how the City may reimagine its landscape as a result. Art on the Outside is the City’s temporary art program that installs rotating temporary artworks on the City’s medians and parks. These works include sculpture, murals and other outdoor works, most of which remain on display for between 6 months-3 years.

The temporary, site-specific, land art projects commissioned for this exhibition will fall within one of the following categories:

  • Three-dimensional: Artwork created in nature that uses natural materials and/or introduces manmade materials to highlight nature
  • Performance-based: Artworks focused on process, site and temporality, created by individuals acting in a one-on-one relationship with the land

Land Art, Earthworks or Earth Art is an art movement which emerged in the United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, in which landscape and the work of art are seamlessly linked. The artworks frequently exist in the open, left to change and erode under natural environmental conditions (Jeffrey Kastner, Land and Environmental Art, survey by Brian Wallis. Phaidon Press. 2010). Examples of notable land art projects include: Andy Goldsworthy, Woven Branch Arch; Maya Lin, The Wave Field; Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels; Michael Heizer, Double Negative; Buster Simpson, The Hudson Headwaters Purge; Christo and Jean Claude, Surrounded Islands. 

The City will host an informational question and answer meeting on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 6:00-7:30pm, at the Plummer Park Community Center (7377 Santa Monica Boulevard) to answer any questions about the RFQ. This meeting is not mandatory. Artists who have never applied to a public art opportunity are encouraged to attend. The meeting may also include members from the Facilities & Field Services, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives, and Environmental Services departments to discuss any concerns and/or limitations that artists may need to be aware of. To RSVP for this meeting please email Rebecca Ehemann, Public Art Coordinator, rehemann@weho.org, with the names of the artist(s) who wish to attend.

ELIGIBILITY
The Request for Qualifications is open to professional artists/artist teams residing in the United States.

BUDGET
Budgets for individual projects will range from $5,000 to $12,000. Project budgets are all-inclusive and intended to cover the cost of design, fabrication and installation. It is anticipated that a group of ten (10) semi-finalists (individuals and/or teams) will be identified during the selection process to prepare proposals for the installation. Semi-finalists will be awarded a $500.00 honorarium for their proposal.

SELECTION PROCESS
A selection committee composed of, but not limited to, Arts Commissioners, a Public Facilities Commissioner, and City of West Hollywood Staff will convene to review submissions through this request for qualifications. Artists will be selected for the qualified pool according to the following criteria:

  • Proven artistic merit and strong professional qualifications as demonstrated through previous public art experience or gallery and/or museum exhibitions (public art experience not required)
  • Ability to execute a high quality artwork
  •  Experience working with sustainable, recycled or natural materials (desirable but not required)

The selection committee will identify a group of semi-finalists from the pre-qualified pool of artists to develop proposals for the exhibition. Semi-finalists will be paid an honorarium for their proposals. Semi-finalists will present their proposals to the selection committee for consideration.

SEMI-FINALISTS PROPOSALS
Artists who are invited to submit a proposal will be asked to provide two concept sketches and/or renderings, a preliminary budget and a 150-300 word narrative to incorporate three or more of the following concepts into their land art proposal:

  • Utilize sustainable or natural materials
  • Express ecological concerns to educate the public about the California drought
  • Inform and interpret nature and it’s processes
  • Reveal environmental forces, such as wind, water, and/or light.
  • Re-envision our relationship to nature, propose a new way for us to co-exist with our environment
  • Reclaim and remediate a damaged environment, restoring ecosystems in an artistic way

Artists will be asked to consider the local setting for the artwork and weigh the impact that the proposed material(s) may have on the immediate environment. The length of the exhibition is anticipated to be 12 months.

BACKGROUND
In the wake of the water crisis in California the public has been forced to reconsider how they use water in their everyday lives. The City of West Hollywood has already begun to take action by enforcing water usage restrictions and encouraging residents and businesses to conserve water (http://www.weho.org/city-hall/city-departments/public-works/environmental-services/water-conservation). Through the Can You Dig It? exhibition of temporary, site-specific, land art installations the City invites artists to reimagine its dry and arid public landscapes.

The California Department of Water Resources estimates that California would need much more rainfall to replenish its 12 major reservoirs and bring an end to the drought. Currently, the major state reservoirs stand at 54 percent of total average storage. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) estimates California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to recover from the drought.

The threat of a severe water shortage is a serious one for the City, where daily existence depends largely upon water piped in from sources outside the region. West Hollywood residents and businesses are served by two water utility companies: Beverly Hills Public Works and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Both utility companies urge customers to cut back water usage and to consider installing water-conserving fixtures.

CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD
The City of West Hollywood, known as the “Creative City,” was incorporated in 1984. It is 1.9 square miles in area and is bounded by Beverly Hills to the west, Hollywood to the east, and Los Angeles to the north and south. West Hollywood is home to approximately 37,000 residents and over 3,500 businesses. Sixty percent (60%) of adults are college-educated, and 54% are employed in managerial and professional occupations. Approximately 40% of the City’s residents are gay or lesbian, 10% are Russian-speaking immigrants, and close to 20% are senior citizens.

PLUMMER PARK
Plummer Park (8.5 acres) was formed around a farmhouse and outbuildings that were originally part of Rancho La Brea (later Plummer Ranch). This park is the City’s oldest park, dedicated in 1938 by the County of Los Angeles along with the Plummer Park Clubhouse (now known as Great Hall and Long Hall). Fiesta Hall, featuring an auditorium for community events, was built in 1951. These buildings are still located on the site today, along with the more recently built Community Center and child care center. After West Hollywood’s incorporation in 1984, the park became a City of West Hollywood park and the City took responsibility for its operation and maintenance.

Today Plummer Park is actively used by the community. Off-street parking is provided for park users and every Monday morning the Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market is held in the north parking lot. The tennis courts are well used, and there is open space with grass, trees, and paths for walking. Fiesta Hall has an auditorium that is available for community and civic events. One of the most visible groups of users in the park is seniors, especially from the Russian-speaking community, who are often seen playing chess, walking, and socializing in the park. Senior Citizens are regularly provided educational and health lectures as well as opportunities for socialization through card playing, literature clubs, folk dance, fitness and yoga classes, and language classes

SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD
Until 1998, Santa Monica Boulevard was owned and operated by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as State Route 2. Since incorporation, West Hollywood had continually disagreed with the State agency about maintenance and operations of the street. Finally Caltrans agreed to relinquish the street to West Hollywood, and the City developed a master plan to redesign and reinforce the identity of the City’s main street.

Almost 1,200 new evergreen elm, jacaranda, silk floss, and queen palm trees, together with shrubs and grasses, were planted on the sidewalks and in the new median islands as part of the project’s landscaping plan. The City also created a variety of green spaces, landscaped areas around bus stops, and areas to showcase public art. Specifically, existing medians were redesigned to provide landscaping and pathways, new medians were installed, and the Sal Guariello Veterans’ Memorial was developed at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Holloway Drive. The median at the City’s western border for West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard was enhanced with palms, walking paths, and lighting. The vision for this median was a showcase of major arts commissions, to allow for pedestrian exploration and an art experience that was visual and tactile, and fully integrated with the landscape.

DEADLINE
Applications must be submitted online by 5:00pm (PST), August 26, 2015.

IMPORTANT DATES (subject to change)
July 15, 2015     RFQ released
August 5     Information meeting at Plummer Park (optional)
August 26     RFQ deadline
September 14     Semi-Finalists invited to submit proposals
October 30     Proposals deadline
November 5     Semi-Finalists presentations; Finalists selected
November     Finalists meet with Facilities to discuss logistics of proposal
TBD     Installations begin
January 2016     Opening Reception          

QUESTIONS
For all questions related to this call to artists contact Rebecca Ehemann, Public Art Coordinator, City of West Hollywood, (323) 848-6846, rehemann@weho.org.

  • The City of West Hollywood reserves the right to cancel or postpone this Request for Qualifications at any time.
  • The City of West Hollywood reserves the right to photograph, videotape and distribute images of the temporary artwork for non-commercial purposes.
  • The City of West Hollywood reserves the right to retain, remove, and relocate all artworks commissioned as a result of this RFQ.

For additional information on City of West Hollywood arts projects please visit www.weho.org/arts or www.facebook.com/WeHoArts.