Call for Artists: Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Public Art Project





DATE ISSUED:  July 1, 2012

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  July 29, 2013; 11:59 p.m. PDT

Applications are available through SlideRoom (, an on-line application system for calls for entry. There is no charge to artists for using SlideRoom. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline. Please allow adequate time to submit your application as technical difficulties can occur.

Please note that Arts Commission staff will only be available to answer questions about this call until the deadline date, July 29, 2013, 5 p.m. (PDT).

SlideRoom technical support is available Monday – Saturday by phone until 5 p.m. (CDT) and by email until 8 p.m. (CDT). (866) 249-7350,

ELIGIBILITY: Eligibility is open to professional, practicing artists residing in the United States.  Entries not meeting eligibility guidelines shall be withdrawn from consideration.

DESCRIPTION:  In conjunction with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the San Francisco Arts Commission will commission an artist to design an integrated art program for the Van Ness –Bus Rapid Transit line (VN-BRT). The VN-BRT will extend from Market Street to Union Street, and eliminate the Van Ness Avenue sidewalk bus stops. The VN-BRT will create nine boarding stations (18 platforms) between Market and Union streets.  There are three major stations expected to have high volume located at Market, McAllister (across from City Hall) and Geary streets. 

ARTWORK OPPORTUNITIES:  In compliance with Federal Transit Authority regulations, the art component for the stations must be integrated into the design of the stations.  There is a desire for the artwork to help provide a unifying factor throughout the system, or to help distinguish the high profile stations. This may be through design elements in the wind screens, possibly pole mounted identity sculptures, lighting, or other features. The art program may address design features integrated into all the platforms, or focus attention on the Market, McAllister, and Geary street stations.

APPROACH:  Due to the integral nature of the artwork for this project, an artist (or Artist Team) will be selected to work directly with the design team architects in order to have the greatest influence on the overall design of the station and incorporation of artwork.

BUDGET:  The Art Enrichment (AE) budget allocation is $952,600 (inclusive of proposal fee). The AE budget must cover all artwork costs including artist fees, insurance design consultants, materials, fabrication, transportation and installation of the artwork. The budget is inclusive of any work that may be performed under a separate agreement with the city on behalf of the artwork, whether that is the BRT design team, general contractor, or other contractors or consultants. Likewise, the artwork may take advantage of any architectural credits gained by virtue of its enhancement of base bid materials or features.

DESIGN PROPOSAL: The selected artist will be paid an initial fee of $25,000 (inclusive of travel and other expenses) for working with the design team to develop a system-wide proposal. Additional fees will be negotiated based on future scope of work. Artist should anticipate 2 trips to San Francisco during the proposal phase to meet and work with the project design team.

VN-BRT Schedule:

July 29, 2013, 11:59 p.m. PDT            Application Deadline

August 6, 2013                                    Selection Panel 1st meeting (select finalists)

August 13, 2013                                   Selection Panel 2nd meeting (interview finalists and select                                                            project artist)

August 21, 2013                                   Approval of selected artist; approval to enter into contract                                                              by Visual Arts Committee (subcommittee of the full Arts                                                                Commission)

September 9, 2013                               Approval of selected artist; approval to enter into contract                                                              by Arts Commission by Resolution

September – October 2013                   Contracting (note: design work may be initiated prior to                                                                 contract certification through direct payment voucher)

April 2014                                           Completion of VN-BRT Schematic Design (30%)

February 2015                                     Bid Documents for VN-BRT complete

Spring 2018                                        Construction complete


1. Artist Qualification Panel:  The applications will be reviewed by an Artist Qualification Panel consisting of representatives from Arts Commission staff and arts professionals to identify a list of qualified artists to be considered for the project opportunity. The Artist Qualification Panel will evaluate the applicants on the following criteria:

  • The Artist’s portfolio demonstrates artistic excellence, innovation and originality as evidenced by documentation of completed past work and other supporting material.
  • The Artist’s portfolio and resume demonstrates past experience implementing public art projects, whether for governmental agencies or private entities.
  • The artist’s work is judged to be appropriate to the goals of the project.
  • The artist’s professional skills and experience are adequate to meet the demands of the project.
  • The artist is available to participate in the design, approval and implementation of the project as required.
  • Assessed ability to meet project deadlines, and to perform work in a timely and professional manner.

2. Project Artist Selection Panel: This slate of qualified candidates will be presented to the Project Artist Selection Panel. The Selection Panel will consist of representatives of the Arts Commission, SFMTA, two arts professionals and two community representatives. The Selection Panel will further evaluate the applicants using the above criteria in order to identify finalists for further consideration.  Selected finalists will be asked to attend an interview in San Francisco. Each finalist will be paid $500, plus travel for the interview.

3. Arts Commission Approval:  The Artist Selection Panel’s recommendation will be submitted first to the Visual Arts Committee (VAC), a subcommittee of the Arts Commission and then to the full Arts Commission for approval. All Arts Commission meetings and Public Art Selection Panel meetings are open to the public and are posted on the Arts Commission website at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting.  To check the meeting schedule for public art projects, please go to our website at


All application materials must be submitted online via SlideRoom. There is no application fee to use the SlideRoom online application system. To view the application, go to (no “www”) and sign up for an account.  Applicants can receive support by emailing: or by accessing a help desk here:

Application materials include:

  • Letter of interest, outlining past relevant experience (one page maximum).
  • Artist’s professional resume.
  • 10 images of past completed work.  Artists may only submit images for which they either hold, or share, the copyright.  Artist teams must submit one application and are limited to 10 images total.
  • Annotated image descriptions including project cost or purchase amount.
  • Optional:  List of potential project subcontractors (i.e. structural engineer, possible fabricators and other consultants).

In accordance with federal procurement requirements, all prime contractors and subcontractors must be selected as part of a competitive process. Any consultants/subcontractors not identified as part of this application process must be selected as part of a future Request for Proposals issued by the City and assigned to the artist (see Subcontractor Assignment, below.) Listing sub-consultants at this phase does not compel the Artist to use these consultants, it merely allows the Artist to subcontract with these consultants directly.


If you are an artist who is currently in our 2013/14 Prequalified Artist Pool and you are interested in this opportunity, you are required to submit a new application in response to this Request for Qualifications.


For questions about the RFQ, contact Zoë Taleporos, Public Art Program Associate by email at, or (415) 252-3215.

Arts Commission staff is available to answer questions about this call 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (PDT) until the deadline date, July 29, 2013.

SlideRoom technical support is available Monday – Saturday by phone until 5 p.m. (CDT) and by email until 8 p.m. (CDT). (866) 249-7350,


Artists interested in other public art commissions are encouraged to visit the San Francisco Arts Commission’s the Public Art Program website Information is updated whenever new opportunities arise.



Rights Reserved by the Arts Commission

The City reserves the right to: 1) not accept any applications, 2) not to accept any artist recommended by the selection panel, 3) to initiate an alternate Selection Process, or 3) to reissue the RFQ for additional qualified artist candidates.

Arts Commission Approval

Projects continue at the discretion of the Arts Commission and may be cancelled at any time. All proposed design concepts, artworks, expenses and all other aspects of the Project are subject to approval by the Arts Commission throughout the term of the project.

Proposal Board and Maquette Policy

In the event that you are asked to develop a proposal, the following policy shall apply. The Arts Commission shall:

  • At its sole discretion, have the unconditional right to own proposal maquettes or drawings selected for implementation as part of commission awards or may alternatively choose to retain all such maquettes until the project is complete.
  • Retain first right of refusal to purchase proposal maquettes and drawings submitted by the artists not selected for implementation.
  • Be given credit upon display and/or reproduction of any maquette or proposal commissioned, whether selected for implementation or not.
  • Require that all proposals and/or maquettes submitted are original and unique.


In addition to the proposal agreement, as part of the City’s contracting process, the artist selected and approved by the Arts Commission will be asked to enter into contract with the City and County of San Francisco for the entire duration of the project.  Artist applicants should review the Arts Commission FTA template contract which can be found on the Arts Commission website: Link to contract. While some items specific to individual project such as scope of work, payment schedule and schedule of deliverables may be negotiated, the terms of the contract will not be changed. (Please note that the FTA Artist contract differs from the standard City of San Francisco Artist Contract Template.)

Subcontractors; Assignment of Subcontractors

In compliance with federal procurement requirements, all contracts, including subcontracts, must be competitively bid. Unless the Artist identifies potential subcontractors (structural engineer, fabricator, etc.) in the initial application, the City must issue an RFP for these consultants or services. At the City’s discretion, the City may assign, and the Artist shall accept assignment of necessary subcontracts either prior to or after the Commission’s final approval of the Design Development or Construction Documents.  As requested by the Commission, the Artist shall assist the Commission in the selection of subcontractors.  and shall consult with selected subcontractors to ensure that their work on behalf of the Artwork conforms to the design intent.

Required Forms

Depending upon the specific scope of the project, prior to the issuance and throughout the duration of the contract, the artist will also be required to maintain a San Francisco business tax license, complete the Vendor set-up process, fill out specific documents from the Human Rights Commission. The required forms may be viewed on-line at:


Prior to the issuance and throughout the duration of the contract, the contracted artist will be required to maintain and provide current certificates for various types of insurance, including Automobile Liability, General Liability, and other insurance as required by the City. To view the insurance requirements, see Section 15 (starting on page 19) of the FTA Artist Contract.  Contract may be viewed at this link. Link to contract.

Constructability Requirements

Projects must be designed to meet the requirements of the Unified Building Code, Americans for Disability Act (ADA), and all other federal, state, and city mandates and ordinances.

Non-Discrimination and Equal Benefits Ordinance

The City and County of San Francisco, in its effort to provide equality of opportunity and equality of benefits, requires that individuals and businesses doing business with the City comply with Sections 12B and 12D of the Administrative Code.  This requires that if you are an employer, and if you provide health or other benefits to the spouses of your employees, you must provide equal benefits to the registered domestic partners of your employees.  This section also requires demonstration of good faith efforts to hire local disadvantaged business enterprises.  More information on these policies may be found at:

Minimum Compensation Ordinance (MCO)

(This requirement only pertains to artists who have over 20 employees, or artists who may have their artwork fabricated by a company with over 20 employees.) The selected artist(s) will be required to agree to comply fully with and be bound by the provisions of the Minimum Compensation Ordinance (MCO), as set forth in S.F. Administrative Code Chapter 12P. Generally, this Ordinance requires contractors to provide employees covered by the Ordinance who do work funded under the contract with hourly gross compensation and paid and unpaid time off that meet certain minimum requirements. Currently, the hourly gross compensation is $9.00 an hour. For the contractual requirements of the MCO, see paragraph 42 of the Ordinance. Note that the gross hourly compensation for covered employees increases to $10.00 for For-Profit entities on January 1, 2002 and increases 2.5% annually thereafter for 3 years. For Nonprofit entities and public entities, this increase is required only if the City makes the finding required by Section 12P.3(a)(ii) of the San Francisco Administrative Code. Additional information regarding the MCO is available on the web at:

Health Care Accountability Ordinance (HCAO)

(This requirement only pertains to artists who have over 20 employees, or artists who may have their artwork fabricated by a company with over 20 employees.) The selected artist will be required to agree to comply fully with and be bound by the provisions of the Health Care Accountability Ordinance (HCAO), as set forth in S.F. Administrative Code Chapter 12Q.  Artists should consult the San Francisco Administrative Code to determine their compliance obligations under this chapter. Additional information regarding the HCAO is available on the web at

Project Funding Regulations

The work described in these specifications is to be financed with the assistance of a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, and all work described in these specifications shall be performed in accordance with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines and regulations.

FTA Regulation Regarding Debarment and Suspension

The selected Artist(s) will be required to verify that none of the artists, its principals, or affiliates, are excluded or disqualified from participation in federal assistance programs.  If selected to create a proposal, the Artist shall certification his/her eligibility to receive federal funds. The certification form may be viewed at this link: Link to Debarment Certification Form.

FTA Regulation Regarding Lobbying

No Federal appropriated funds may be paid, by or on behalf of the selected Artist, to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of an agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with the awarding of any Federal contract, the making of any Federal grant, the making of any Federal loan, the entering into of any cooperative agreement, and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement. All selected Artist(s) are required to complete and submit along with their Proposal Materials, a certification form regarding lobbying. The certification form may be viewed at this link: Link to Lobbying Certification Form.

Protest Procedures

A. Protest of Non-Responsiveness Determination: Within five working days of the City’s issuance of a notice of non-responsiveness, failure to become a Minimally Qualified Candidate (“Notice”), or failure to become a Qualified Candidate, any Artist that has submitted a Qualifications Statement and believes that the City has incorrectly made such a determination may submit a written protest.  Such written protest must be received by the City on or before the fifth working day following the City’s issuance of the Notice.  The protest must include a written statement specifying in detail each and every one of the grounds asserted for the protest.  The protest must be signed by the Artist and must cite the law, rule, local ordinance, procedure or RFQ provision on which the protest is based.  In addition, the protester must specify facts and evidence sufficient for the City to determine the validity of the protest.

The City reserves the right to proceed to the next stage of the qualifications or selection process with the responsive Candidates during the five-day protest period.  The City will cease the process only when it receives a notification of decision that is in favor of the protester.

B.   Delivery of Protests: All protests must be received by the due date.  If a protest is mailed, the protester bears the risk of non-delivery within the deadlines specified herein.  Protests should be transmitted by a means that will objectively establish the date the City received the protest.  Protests or notice of protests made orally (e.g., by telephone) will not be considered.  See Protest Procedure for details at the following link: Link to Protest Procedures.


All information contained herein does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract, and these provisions are subject to change.



San Francisco Arts Commission

401 Van Ness, Ste. 325
San Francisco, CA 94102

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