The 2017 Downtown Gary Public Art Competition

About the Gary Public Art Competition

By bringing art outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, Public Art benefits the community and its visitors by increasing access to art and providing artists with opportunities to expand their artistic practice and market. The program has a commitment to work with both emerging and established artists to produce high quality, innovative, and creative art projects and exhibitions in public spaces in Gary, Indiana.

What is a Public Art Project?

A public art project is defined as a project conceptualized by an art or design professional for a public space. Historically, art that is accessible to the public has been in the form of freestanding artworks or objects that occupy a public space, such as sculptures or memorials, or architectural embellishments such as carved facades. Functional objects such as benches, trail markers, tree guards, or manhole covers may be commissioned works by artists. And now, in a growing number of cities, artists are working with architects, engineers, and landscape designers to create visually rich public spaces. All of these forms of public art make cities more interesting and unique places to live, work, and visit.

A public space is defined as a site that experiences a high level of pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic and is easily visible and accessible. A public art project may anchor and activate its site, enhance the overall environment, create a place of congregation and activity, or establish a new landmark and/or neighborhood gateway.

Competition Overview

The purpose of the Gary Public Art Competition is to give artists living in Gary and the surrounding region an opportunity to undertake the challenge of creating a work of art in a public space within Gary, Indiana. With the support of the City of Gary and the Legacy Foundation through the Knight Donor Advised Fund, funding has been allocated for the competition. Projects may be multi-disciplinary, multi-media, and/or collaborative. They may involve movement, sound, light, technology, and/or be multi-sensory, as long as it does not pose a threat to public safety. Prior to final funding the project must adhere to all relevant city permitting processes and ordinances.

Eight artists will be selected and awarded to design and execute their projects in the following categories and amounts:

Open $25,000
Open $10,000
Sculpture $10,000
Mural $10,000
Murals (x 4 awards) $3,000

See Exhibit A, for a map and images of potential of downtown sites. Artists may use creative discretion as to the category they propose for which site.

Categories are defined as follows:

  • Murals must be a one-of-a-kind work of art, which is hand-created and applied directly to the surface of a physical structure. It may be comprised of paint or a variety of mixed media, including three-dimensional elements, which are graded for exterior use, and harmoniously integrated into the physical structure.
  • Sculptures can take a wide range of forms, sizes, and materials. They can be visual, functional, or interactive.
  • Open concept can include elements of mural and/or sculpture art in addition to landscape, architectural, community art, digital new media, light, sound, and more! The design should be site-specific, meaning it is created in response to the place and community. The artist is be given the lot and space dimensions to use as a blank canvas – be creative!

In order to submit a project for consideration, applicants must create a user profile and log in to the Public Art Competition application at

The competition is designed to encourage innovative and experimental public projects by local and regional artists. Artists are encouraged to investigate the physical, social and psychological nature of the environment throughout the diverse areas of Gary, developing artwork that engages neighborhoods, community groups, and local businesses, and are relevant to the selected project site.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Have a demonstrated connection to the City of Gary (live, work, family, childhood, etc)

Final Projects must:

  • Be exhibited in a public space with great accessibility to a broad spectrum of the public
  • Demonstrate consideration of the diversity of Gary’s residents and visitors
  • Demonstrate a subject that connects Gary’s past with Gary’s future and potential

Selection Process

PHASE 1: Artist Submissions
This will be a request for qualifications (RFQ), not proposals:

All qualification materials must be submitted to no later than 5:00p.m. June 30, 2017.

  1. 5 images of relevant work for viewing. 1024 px x 768 px @ 72 dpi is optimal image size. File size should be under 1MB. Images over 1.5MB will be blocked. Saving as jpg is the key.
  2. Applicant information and statement of interest. The Selection Committee will be looking for why the artist is interested in creating a public art project in Gary. The artist should state general ideas, audience of interest, and other general information about concept and location.
  3. Name and contact information of 3 professional references.

PHASE 2: Qualification Review – Select artists to create formal proposals

  • A selection committee will review all submissions and select finalists. Finalists will develop a project narrative, schematic drawings, draft proposal of artwork to be completed, and present an accurate budget and timeline for the proposed project. All implementation and installation costs are the responsibility of the artist.
  • For the sculpture and open categories, up to three finalists for each award will be chosen by the Public Art Selection Committee. Each finalist will be given $300 to develop a formal proposal. Final artwork will be selected and funded from amongst the finalists based on public voting.
  • For the mural category, 5 finalists will be selected and given $300 each to develop a rendering of the final artwork. Projects will be selected and funded for fabrication and installation from amongst the finalists based on public voting. The finalist who receives the most votes will receive $10,000, all others will receive $3,000 to execute his/her public art. All mural submissions must be scalable to varying sizes of public space.

PHASE 3: Public Review and Voting

  1. Finalists will present their project proposals to the Public Art Selection Committee
  2. Proposals will be exhibited online for public review, comment, and voting
  3. The Selection Committee will formally adjudicate finalist project proposals, consistent with online vote totals, and artists will be commissioned

Selection Criteria

Qualification Review:

  • Demonstrates a history of high quality, creative, and innovative work
  • Strength and clarity of the artist’s statement

Proposal Review

  • Illustrates a high quality, innovative and creative art project that will enhance efforts to further art and culture within Gary
  • Exhibits the ability to create a feasible project, taking into consideration issues of budget & public safety
  • Demonstrates accessibility, and a positive impact to the project’s site
  • Subject matter must demonstrate connecting Gary’s past with Gary’s future and potential

Commissioning and Payment Schedule

All artists who are selected will be required to sign a standardized contract outlining the Commission Agreement. Payments will be made in two installments: 50% of total award upon signing of Commission Agreement, 50% of total award upon completed installation of public art project.


Qualifications are due by 5pm on Friday, June 30, 2017 to

PHASE 1: RFQ Submissions

June 30, 2017
Deadline for Artists’ Submissions of Qualifications

PHASE 2: Review

July 7, 2017
Notification of finalists

July 7–August 4, 2017
Preparation of public art project proposals

PHASE 3: Voting

Week of August 7, 2017
Public Presentations; Public voting begins

August 7–August 18, 2017
Public Voting on finalists

Week of August 21, 2017
Public Announcement of winners

PHASE 4: Installation and Exhibition

September 1, 2017–May 31, 2018
All projects must be complete and installed by May 31, 2018. Artists are encouraged to complete their project in fall 2017, if possible.

Contact Information

If you have a question concerning the Downtown Gary Public Art Competition, please contact Kelly Anoe, Vice President of the Legacy Foundation, at or (219) 736-1880.