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City of Elk River Economic Development Authority

Public Art

Location: MN — Central (St. Cloud)
Type: RFP / RFQs
Public Art

Deadline: 01/11/2024

Other Criteria:
Open to artists statewide
Paid opportunity (Up to $20,000.)


Request for Proposal
Public Art Installation
City of Elk River, MN

1. General Information

This document solicits Requests for Proposal (RFP) for a public art installation for the City of Elk River, Minnesota.

RFP Administration
Address all correspondence, requests for additional information, and proposal submissions to:

Joshua Mollan
Economic Development Specialist
City of Elk River
13065 Orono Parkway
Elk River, MN 55330

Please scan and complete the web form to register by 4:00 p.m. on January 11th.

Registrations will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on January 11, 2024.
Proposals from registered artists will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on February 15, 2024.

Acceptance of Proposal Contents
The contents of this RFP will be included in the contract between the selected artist and the EDA. All information in the proposal is subject to disclosure under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13 – Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

2. Background

On May 5, 2014, members of the Elk River arts community, city staff, and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Planning Team met to review opportunities and potential locations and partnerships for public art in the city. Participants also identified goals, strategies, and themes for the public art plan. Members of the Elk River Arts Alliance, the Regional Arts Council, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Central Minnesota Arts Board, Independent School District 728, the Elk River Economic Development Authority, and various theaters and other performance groups were all in attendance.

Attendees viewed a presentation and participated in discussions of public art opportunities and best practices as they applied to Elk River. They then defined the potential scope, goals, opportunities and approach to public art in the community. The input gathered at this meeting formed the vision for the Elk River Public Art Plan.
City History
Innovation has been at the heart of Elk River’s successes from its very beginning. Its roads and waterways are examples.
In the early 1840’s, Elk River was a welcome rest stop for travelers along the Red River Ox Cart Trail, a part of which is now US Highway 10. River boats brought people and goods to the town on the Mississippi River while travelers and settlers both navigated the Elk River. Today both these waterways remain places of relaxation and scenic adventures.

By the 1850’s and 60’s railroad trains brought commerce and industry as well. The town inevitably grew and continued to welcome visitors to its rivers and parks into the next century. Charles Merritt Babcock, an Elk River resident, saw the need for road improvement throughout the state and joined the Minnesota Highway Commission, serving as its department head from 1917-1932. He proved instrumental in securing legislative support and funding, and in constructing roads and highways in Minnesota. His legacy is the statewide development of the Minnesota highway system and authored the Babcock amendment (1920) to the state constitution, which funded building and maintenance of roads throughout the state, a plan still in use today. An irony is that when Highway 10 was built through Elk River, the Babcock home was destroyed to make room for the roadway.

Innovation has also been an earmark in Elk River’s energy resources, having earned the title, Energy City since 1997. The Elk River Reactor, which opened in 1960, was America’s first rural atomic power plant and was a pilot installation to provide small, inexpensive nuclear power to widespread areas. By 1989, The Great River Energy plant had been restructured to produce energy from municipal waste products. “Elk River is a hub of energy technology, energy manufacturing, energy demonstrations, recycling, use of green products, and the adoption of sustainable living practices,” says the Energy Commission. The City of Elk River is home to a 5kW solar installation, used to teach the value of using solar energy. The city also encourages the use of electric vehicles and has installed charging stations in town.

3. Overall Scope of Services

A. The artist shall incorporate the theme of their public art piece around history, community and/or natural resources in Elk River. The judging panel will also be open to interactive art that still meets the requested themes.

B. Artists are asked to develop a mockup, rendering, or sample of a public art installation (project) as an entry as an RFP. Entries may include photographs, drawings or renderings no larger than 24” x 36” or modeled on a base no larger than 2’ x 2’. Entries must include two- and three-dimensional renderings: 1,800 pixels wide in one PDF and include title, description and dimension.

C. Background
The Elk River Public Arts Plan states two elements must be discussed and defined in the proposal. One is the role of public art. The other is the role and management of the program to support public art. The plan concluded that successful public art meets the following characteristics.
a. It is accessible to the public (location and financially)
b. Has context specific to the site or community
c. Includes community involvement
d. Can express community values, enhance the environment, transform a landscape, heighten awareness, or question assumptions

D. Locations and Maintenance
The Beautification and Public Art Committee have identified two preferred sites for a public art installation:

Furniture and Things Community Event Center, 1000 School St NW
This facility is a community event center which features two sheets of ice, a field house, a senior activity center, and rentable spaces. The site has multiple interior concrete and drywall walls currently available for public art. They range in size from 64 to 276 square feet. Photos of the walls can be provided upon request. The piece could be proposed on one or multiple walls.

Orono Park, 18599 Gary St NW
This newly renovated flagship park features a beach, splash pad, playground, paved trails, dog park, pickleball courts, skate park, and a rentable pavilion. 3D and/or interactive art at this site would be preferred.

Other sites may be considered if they meet the following criteria: public space, well visited, and easy to access.

E. Vision & Overview
Project submissions must promote the role of public art in the following ways: Accessible to the public (location and financially), have context specific to the site or the community, include community involvement, express community values, enhance the environment and landscape, and heighten awareness or question assumptions.
a. Innovation – Create a project that defines the city, its businesses, residents, and tourists.
b. Economic Development – Create a project that enhances the city’s economic base and tourism.
c. Judging – The panel of judges will choose a winner to complete their project. The panel may include representatives from the Beautification and Public Art Committee, City Council, EDA, Multipurpose Facility Commission/Parks and Recreation Commission and residents at-large.
d. Purchase of Project – The selected artist will be compensated for their project, which shall cover design, installation, transportation and materials costs and an honorarium to the selected artist.
e. Location of Project – FT Center or Orono Park in Elk River are the priority locations of the public art project. Alternative locations will be considered. Artists must provide weight, height, and dimensions of their project in their proposal.
f. Future Maintenance – Define future maintenance costs to keep the project attractive and safe. Project maintenance and associated maintenance costs will be further defined in a meeting with the Artist.

F. RFP Timeline
1. Registration. All participants must register their interest in submitting a registration by 4:00 p.m. on January 11, 2024. Registration is mandatory and a prerequisite to submitting a proposal.
2. Proposals, renderings, mockups, or samples are due by 4:00 p.m. on February 15, 2024.
3. Proposals will be presented to the Beautification and Public Art Committee on February 20, 2024 and may include photographs, drawings, or renderings no larger than 24” x 36”, or modeled on a base no larger than 2’ x 2’.
4. The committee will make its recommendation to the EDA by February 20, 2024.
5. The EDA will review the committee’s recommendation. The EDA may request a presentation to the EDA of any or all projects recommended by the judging panel.
6. The EDA makes a recommendation to the City Council by March 4, 2024.
7. City Council chooses final project for submission to the Central MN Arts Board grant by March 4, 2024.
8. Participants whose projects were not selected have until 4:00 p.m. on March 29, 2024 to retrieve their proposals, renderings, mock ups, samples photographs, drawings, models, renderings or other related proposal materials from City Hall. The city will dispose of any unclaimed proposal materials.
9. The city will submit a draft application for review to the Central MN Arts Board by March 13, 2024.
10. The city will submit a formal grant application by April 3, 2024.
11. The Central MN Arts Board reviews all grant applications on May 9, 2024.
12. On May 20, 2024 the EDA will decide whether to move forward with the proposed project considering available funding sources.
13. Final Council action May 20, 2024.
14. Project construction must begin by Summer, 2024.
15. Project construction must be completed by May 9, 2025 with an unveiling celebration scheduled thereafter.

G. Project submissions are valid for 90 days from the date opened by the EDA.

H. In the event the EDA believes additional clarification regarding a project submission or additional information is needed, the EDA will submit a request for clarification to the submitting artist. That artist has two business days to respond to the EDA in writing.

4. Proposal

The project mockup, rendering, or sample submittal shall contain only the following information.

Proposal Format
The submittal should follow the Table of Contents listed below:
A. General Information
B. Artistic Merit/Quality
C. Project Understanding
D. Project Approach
E. Location, Installation and Future Maintenance
F. Additional Information
G. Total Project Cost

A. General Information
Provide a project mockup, rendering, or sample that defines the City of Elk River which may include photographs or drawings so long as they are no larger than 24” x 36” or modeled on a base no larger than 2’ x 2’. Entries must include two- and three-dimensional renderings: 1800 pixels wide in one PDF and include title, description, and dimension. Each artist must include a current resume.

B. Artistic Merit/Quality
a. Provide an explanation of how this project will enhance artistic, cultural, and educational values of the viewers of this piece of art.
b. Provide an explanation of how this project will advance the artist’s goals relating to public art and build upon past public art involvement.
c. Provide an explanation of how the artist’s entry will allow all community members a greater understanding and awareness of art.
d. Provide an explanation of how the public survey influenced your choice of project submittal.
e. How will your project create a broader understanding and appreciation of your chosen medium?

C. Project Understanding
Submit a one-page letter of interest describing how their project fits within the theme of history of Elk River, community, or natural resources. The EDA is seeking an impactful, memorable project that communicates one or more of these concepts.

D. Project Approach
Provide specific approaches, methods, and assumptions that will be utilized to accomplish each work item. Artists may submit as teams. The EDA, in its sole discretion, may contract with an individual artist or a team.

E. Location, Installation and Future Maintenance
Identify the location of the proposed public art project. Provide a proposed schedule from project initiation to final completion. The schedule should include a listing of key tasks within each phase, key milestones and approximate dates, and deliverables.

F. Additional Information
Include any other information that is believed to be pertinent, but not specifically requested elsewhere in this RFP.

G. Total Project Cost
The compensation to the selected artist(s) will be from $2,500 – $20,000. The artist shall be reimbursed between 25-50% of upfront costs for materials and the balance upon satisfactory completion and installation of the artwork.

The artist shall break out the estimated costs as follows:
a. Public art piece materials
b. Transportation costs
c. Installation costs
d. Future maintenance costs
e. Any other costs or charges deemed relevant by the artist

5. Selection

Members of the Beautification and Public Art Committee will evaluate, and rank all submitted proposals received by February 19, 2024. After the conclusion of this review, the panel will recommend the artist and project to the EDA. The decision will be based on a combination including, but not limited to: ranking, presentation of materials, and other qualifications. The EDA will review the recommendations making a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council will make the final selection of the artist and project to be submitted for grant funding. After determination of grant funding by the Central MN Arts Board, among others, the city will consider whether to move forward with the project considering available funding sources. The artist will be expected to assist in developing a final scope of services and contractual agreement prior to commencing the project.

Disclosure and Disclaimer
The city and the EDA reserve the right to waive any irregularity or defect in any submittal or reject any or all proposals. Receipt of responses to this RFP does not obligate the city or EDA to hire any respondent. Neither the city nor the EDA is responsible for any cost incurred by anyone in preparation for a response to this RFP including but not limited to costs associated with preparing a proposal or participating in any presentations related to this RFP. The city and the EDA reserve the right to modify and/or suspend any and all aspects of this RFP at any time by providing notice to responding parties.

The city anticipates applying for a grant from the Central MN Arts Board, among others, to finance all or a portion of a proposed project. If the city does not receive the grant funding, the city reserves the right to continue to move forward with the project using other funding sources or to decide that the proposed project is not feasible at any time in its sole discretion.

This RFP is for informational purposes only. Any action taken by the city and EDA in response to proposals made pursuant to this RFP, or in making any award or failing or refusing to make any award, shall be without liability or obligation on the part of the city or EDA or any of their officers, employees or advisors. This RFP is being provided by the city and the EDA without any warranty or representation, expressed or implied, as to its content, accuracy or completeness. Any reliance on the information contained in this RFP, or on any communications with the city’s officials, employees or advisors, shall be at the responder’s own risk. This RFP is made subject to correction of errors, omissions, or withdrawal without notice. This RFP does not constitute an offer by the city or the EDA. The city’s and the EDA’s determination as to the qualifications and acceptability of any party or parties submitting a response to the RFP shall be made at the sole discretion of the city and the EDA.

Ranking Criteria
A. Public Art Message – 20 pts
How the artist’s project fits within the theme of history, community and/or natural resources in Elk River.

B. Aesthetics – 30 pts
 How the artist’s project fits within the following parameters.
a. Motion
b. Texture
c. Color
d. Shape

C. Memorable and Impactful – 20 pts
D. Related Understanding – 10 pts
 Can the work be built and installed as proposed?
 Suitability of the artwork for outdoor display, including its maintenance and conservation requirements.
 Relationship of the artwork to the site and the host community, especially how it serves to activate or enhance economic development.
 Appropriateness of the scale of the artwork.
 How closely the proposed artwork meets the vision set out in the RFP and the Elk River Public Arts Plan.

E. Schedule – 10 pts
 How well the proposed schedule from project initiation to final completion (including key tasks within each phase, key milestones and approximate dates, and deliverables) works for the city and EDA.
 Evidence of the artist’s ability to work collaboratively and successfully complete the Project on time and on budget.

F. Cost – 10 pts
 What are the city and the EDA’s costs in the short and long term?
a. Artists’ materials
b. Transportation costs
c. Installation costs
d. Future maintenance costs
e. Any other costs or charges

6. Contract Terms and Conditions

Prior to commencement of the Project, an agreement shall be entered into between the EDA and the artist(s). It is expected that the agreement will provide for compensation for actual work completed on a not to exceed basis and include at least the following conditions: Any changes to the RFP would be communicated to the registered artists.

A. The EDA shall retain ownership of all renderings, mockups, samples, photographs, drawings, and the Project prepared pursuant to the selected artist’s proposal.
B. If, for any reason, the artist is unable to fulfill the obligations under the agreement in a timely and proper manner, the EDA reserves the right to terminate the agreement by written notice. In this event, the artist shall be entitled to just and equitable compensation for any satisfactory work completed to that point at the discretion of the EDA.
C. The artist shall not assign or transfer any interest in the agreement without prior written consent of the EDA and city.