Request for Qualifications – Outdoor Wall Art Project

The Burke Arts Council is seeking qualifications from professional artists, or artist teams, to design and install a piece of wall art for the new Arts Council building at 506 S. Sterling Street in downtown Morganton, N.C. All mediums will be considered – murals, mosaics, ceramics and iron or metal sculpture.  The theme for the art piece, “Looking Forward,” builds upon Burke Arts’ mission of promoting the arts and building a better community for people of all abilities and cultures. The artwork’s unveiling will coincide with a celebration at the Burke Arts Council.

The goals of this project are:
▪ To develop and install a timeless embodiment of the theme, “Looking Forward,” guided by the power and potential of creativity at work in Burke County.
▪ To enhance the cultural connectivity and economic vitality in downtown Morganton through engaging artwork and creative placemaking.
▪ To provide opportunity for community engagement and ownership.
▪ To position the new Burke Arts building as an anchor among the growing business district on South Sterling St,

There are two areas to be covered at the Burke Arts building. The North Side of the Arts Council building is 25’W x 15’H, or approximately 375 square feet. There is also an event space at the back of the Art Council building with wall space of approximately 300 square feet.

Community Profile:
Morganton sits on the Catawba River in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hailed as “Nature’s Playground,” Morganton is surrounded by scenic rural landscapes, abundant outdoor adventure venues, and a thriving downtown music and art scene. Morganton is home to many important state health institutions including the North Carolina School for the Deaf; Broughton Hospital and J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center, which serve the mental health needs of Western, North Carolina. A popular destination on the Blue Ridge Music Trails, Morganton was home to Etta Baker, a National Heritage Award winner, and renowned Piedmont Blues guitarist. Burke County’s rich textile traditions have been expanded in recent years with the large Hmong and Guatemalan communities. Both cultures add exquisite handwork to the cultural traditions of the county. Morganton’s downtown is rapidly transforming with several significant development projects including the Broughton District, a private partnership to re-imagine the 800-acre tract campus of Broughton Hospital. In Fall of 2022, the North Carolina School of Science and Math will welcome their first class of students in the Broughton District.  The city recently developed their historic courthouse square with a new amphitheater, enhanced landscaping, and art and engagement spaces for the community.

Artist Eligibility & Submissions
Preference will be given to North Carolina and local/regional artists or artist teams that have prior experience in the creation of public art and large-scale artworks. You can submit your application and materials here.

Submission Guidelines
▪ An artist statement of interest in the project
▪ Three references with e-mail and telephone contact information
▪ Artist resume or Bio
▪ Examples of other relevant works and/or reviews of similar work. Maximum of five (5) images.
Each image submitted as a .jpg and label with the artist’s last name, image number, and image title.
For example: Smith_01.jpg, Smith_02.jpg, etc. Images must be 1028 x728 pixels (or smaller) and at least 72 dpi.
▪ Suggested plan for community engagement activities

The total amount to be paid to the artist is a stipend is $28,000, inclusive of travel, community engagement events and the design, fabrication and installation of the art piece. The artist’s fee is also inclusive of all materials and installation equipment necessary to complete the project. Artist will need to provide scaffolding/equipment for installation and insurance.

Artist’s Responsibilities
The project will be developed with a commitment to include people of all abilities and inclusive of the county’s rich cultural diversity.
▪ The artist must complete an orientation with the Burke Arts Council to 1) understand Burke County’s unique socioeconomic make-up, 2) to draw inspiration from the history of the Burke Arts Council building, 3) and engage key community institutions and allies to inform the design of the mural.
▪ In collaboration with Burke Arts, the artist must provide opportunities for community engagement and participation in the project.
▪ The selected artist will create a detailed color drawing/design for the wall that reflects the artist’s proposal for final approval by a local selection committee.
▪ Artist will coordinate with Burke Arts Council on installation schedule.
▪ Artist will attend formal dedication.
Selection Process and Schedule
This project has a two -step selection process. After applications are received, the selection panel will invite up to three artists to visit Morganton and interview. Finalists will be paid a stipend of $500 for their proposals. The selected artist will return to meet with the community and key stakeholders and create a proposal.

Evaluation Criteria – Step #1
Three finalists will be selected based upon:
▪ Artistic accomplishment as demonstrated by images of previously completed artwork.
▪ Technical competence and comparable scale of past works.
▪ Experience with collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
▪ Demonstrated ability to create artwork that reflects the distinctive characteristics of place.
▪ Demonstrated ability to complete projects on time and within budget.

Evaluation Criteria – Step #2
The selection of an artist, or artist team, will be based upon:
▪ Artistic merit of the design
▪ Concept reflects stated goals of the project
▪ Appropriateness of the design the location, including the scale, content, color and design in relation to the site
▪ Artist’s qualifications
▪ Originality of the design

Timeline (Subject to change)
March 28, 2022 RFQ submission deadline
April 25, 2022 First artist selections
May 23, 2022 Finalists submit proposal
June 1, 2022 Notification of selected artist
June -July 2022 Community Engagement activities
October 2022 Project complete & dedication/celebration

Artist Selection Committee
The committee is comprised of representatives from the public and private sector, public art experts, and stakeholders in the community as well as artists and art professionals from the area. The selection committee will review all material properly submitted. Finalists will be selected based upon the competitiveness of the applicants’ qualifications.

For additional information on this project: contact:
Deborah Jones, executive director, Burke Arts Council,

This project is made possible with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of             Natural and Cultural Resources.