Burlington City Arts is seeking qualifications from artists for the Main Street Project

Vermont Business Journal Burlington City Arts is issuing a request for qualifications from artists or artistic teams for public artworks to be included in the Great Streets Initiative – Main Street Project in downtown Burlington. Selected public artworks will reflect the diversity of Burlington residents, explore the city’s history, create meaningful landmarks in our built environment, and connect people, land and lake. The RFQ period begins on November 1st.

The Great Streets Initiative is the culmination of many years of planning and project development to ensure Burlington residents have a downtown that is a vibrant, walkable and sustainable urban center. The Great Streets Initiative involves developing standards for downtown streets that provide a palette of urban elements that are beautiful, practical, accessible, sustainable and appropriate for downtown Burlington, including provisions for public art. The initiatives have now been completed for St. Paul Street (2018) and are included in the City Hall Park project (2020).

Main Street is Burlington’s next application of Great Streets design standards. Main Street serves as an important gateway to downtown Burlington and a vital link between the waterfront and the University of Vermont campus. The Main Street Concept Plan balances all uses of our public right-of-way, improves pedestrian and bicyclist access to the corridor, and encourages the use of our streets as dynamic public spaces. Plans introduce wider sidewalks, appropriately sized tree belts to support tree health and stormwater management, and a protected bike lane. Each intersection includes opportunities for a combination of outdoor seating, public art and amenities, lake views, and bicycle parking.

Main Street design documents for all six blocks will be completed by spring 2023. Implementation will be split into two timeframes, with Lower Main Street (Church St to Battery Street) completed by 2025 and Upper Main Street ( S Union St to Church St) completed by 2026, expected.

This Great Streets initiative – The Main Street Project will commission a range of public artworks to be distributed across six newly designed Main Street blocks. The proposed budget for all public artworks commissioned for this project is up to $500,000 to include artist fees for proposals and all fees associated with the design, production and transportation of final selected public artworks. To achieve the design goals for the six blocks, multiple public artworks of varying budgets, scale and scope will be selected; separate work for the full budget will not be considered.

Artists from all creative disciplines are encouraged to submit and assemble teams that include technical expertise and professionals who bring the skill set necessary to craft and install permanent artwork.

A public art strategy was developed by the design team following extensive public engagement on the High Street project. The process led to the development of a design approach that focuses on three distinct characters of the high street: mountain, city and lake. Each emphasizes a different palette of materials and allows for individual opportunities for public art. The Public Art Strategy highlights areas that have been identified as potential locations for public art and ‘types’ of art that have been identified for various points in the plans, but other proposed locations will also be considered as long as the concept does not impede the functionality of the site. Proposed public artworks may include, but are not limited to, stand-alone sculptures, artworks integrated into the design of existing infrastructure such as granite curbs or storm water features, or other amenities such as bike racks, planters and seating .

The project will be divided into three characteristic zones that ground users in the surrounding ecological and urban fabric, which are described in more detail in the attached strategic document. This framework reinforces and extends existing areas through subtle changes in planting, seating and flooring. The lake is close to Lake Champlain and with a steep slope, this area is less dense than the city core. The landscaping here is all about coastal ecology, while the furnishings allow for playfulness and relaxation. The city is the urban core, it is a lively area with active showcases and cultural purposes. Planting and furnishings here maximize sprawling spaces and activation. The mountain is perceived as a transition or threshold to the center, this steep sloping area has great long views of the lake and the city. The landscaping and furnishings here reinforce the roughness and topography of the city.

The proposed project schedule is as follows:

11/1/22: Call to Artists released
12/16/22: Final Contractor Qualifications 12/16/22 11:59 PM
01/13/23 (estimated): Finalist Notifications
02/17/23 (estimated): Final Offers, Interviews with Artists/Artist Teams
2/28/23 (estimated): Finalist Selection Completed (estimated)
3/27/23 Burlington City Council Contract Review
3/30/23 (estimated): Public art contract
05/30/23 (expected): Integration of public art work plans into construction documents is complete for the entire project
June: Project to bid
(2025): Public art installation Lower Main Street
(2026): Upper Main Street Public Art Installation

Questions related to any stage of this call for artists should be emailed to [email protected] All questions will be posted with answers at http://greatstreetsbtv.com/main-street.

About Burlington City Arts
Burlington City Arts is dedicated to connecting the community to the arts through creation, experimentation and education in all forms of contemporary art. BCA offers exhibitions, special events, classes, workshops and many other activities in Burlington.

10/31/2022 Burlington, VA—Burlington City Arts

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