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Request for artist qualifications: Rio Salado underpasses

Rio Salado Underpasses (McClintock/Priest): Tempe Public Art Opportunity

The city of Tempe invites artists to submit qualifications to create permanent artwork along two walls at the underpasses along the Rio Salado Multi-use pathway system. The Rio Salado Multi-use Path (MUP) is a bike and pedestrian path that connects the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. It travels from Mesa Riverview to the Chicago Cubs Training Facility, SR143, Tempe Town Lake, Downtown Tempe, Tempe Marketplace and connections to other shared use paths. The intent of the artwork is to compliment the experience for users and to create a beautiful, engaging experience for those using the path.

The newly designed underpasses at both Priest and McClintock drives includes a10-foot wide concrete path, pedestrian level lighting, landscaping.  The underpasses are intended to provide a unique, comfortable and safe way to travel to and through the city of Tempe by eliminating conflicts with vehicular traffic. There are two opportunities for artwork as listed below.

  • Priest Drive underpass: The wall is 345 feet long and 5 feet, 6 inches high.
  • McClintock Drive underpass: The wall is 187 feet long and 8 feet high.

A separate artist may be selected for each location. The selected artist(s) will be tasked with creating artwork that can be wall mounted and made of permanent materials (ceramic, metal, concrete). This is not an opportunity for painted murals.

The underpass at Priest was recently completed. Both underpass projects were identified in the Transportation Master Plan and will provide a convenient and attractive link in the city’s non-motorized network. The intent of the artwork is to compliment the experience for users and to create a beautiful, engaging experience for those using the path.

Completed Priest Underpass

webunderpass1  webunderpass2


This Call to Artists is open to professional artists or artist teams residing and eligible to work the United States.  Artists must demonstrate experience in design, fabrication and installation, and have knowledge of durable materials appropriate to the Sonoran Desert climate.

Accepted artist will be required by Arizona State Law HB 2008 to sign a statement verifying that they are lawfully present in the United States. City of Tempe employees, steering committee members, and their immediate family members are excluded from participating in this project.


Up to $45,000 per underpass

The current budget covering all costs associated with design and construction of the public art elements at each site is up to $45,000.The project budgets must include all costs related to the artist’s project management fees; the artwork’s final design, fabrication, transportation, delivery and installation costs; subcontractor and consultant fees including any engineers or fabricators; permit and license fees; General Liability and other insurance required by the City, and all other costs associated with the art project. 


Friday, October 13th, midnight (11:59 PM) Mountain Standard Time

Pre-Submittal Session

Bring your draft submittal materials and/or project questions for an optional, informal one-to-one session. Please arrive anytime between the two-hour block of time. If have questions about the project, but are unable to attend a pre-submittal session contact Rebecca Blume Rothman, 480-350-2827

  • September 29 from 9-11 a.m. at the Press Coffee Roasters, 601 W. Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe 85281

How to Apply

The entire submission must be completed on Submittable at . All requirements listed below must be met or the application will be removed from consideration. Specific proposals are not requested at this stage in the process and will not be accepted.  NOTE: All written documents (resume, letter, image list) should be saved into a PDF format and uploaded to the Submittable site.

  • Digital Images: 6 images of previously completed work. Specific proposals will not be accepted. All images should be jpeg format.
  • Letter of interest: (Maximum 1 page) Describe why you are interested in this canal project and explain previous relevant experience. If you are applying as a team, the letter should clearly describe the contribution of each collaborator.
  • Resume: (Maximum 2 pages) Outline your recent experience and accomplishments as an artist including any public art experience. If applying as a team, each member may submit a one page resume.
  • Image List: (Maximum 2 pages) A separate document listing information about the 6 digital images. For each image submitted list the title, date, size, location, and budget with a thumbnail of the image.

Artist Selection Process

Applications will be pre-screened by City staff to ensure that the submissions meet the minimum qualifications as described in the eligibility section. An artist selection committee will review artists’ submissions and select 2-4 finalists. The finalists will be provided with a stipend to create a proposal and be invited to interview with the selection panel. The steering committee is comprised of members from the Tempe Transportation, community stakeholders, arts professional and associated city staff. The selected Artist will work with Tempe Transportation and Tempe Public Art throughout the project.

Estimated Project Schedule

Presubmittal Coffee Chat           September 29, 2017

Submission Deadline                 October 13, 2017

Finalists notified                        early November 2017

Proposals and interviews           December 2017

Contract issued                         January 2018

Artwork installed                        late summer/early fall 2018


Tempe Transportation is responsible for the design of signage and pavement markings as well as barricading and traffic control projects, maintaining streets, alleys, sidewalks, storm drains, traffic signals and street lights and providing bus, bike, pedestrian and light rail facilities. transportation

Tempe Public Art aspires to cultivate a unique community identity that advances Tempe as a vibrant and progressive destination. Tempe's diverse collection of permanent and temporary public art complements the natural and built environment through innovative place-making, installations and infrastructure enhancements. Tempe Public Art promotes artistic expression, bringing people together to strengthen Tempe's sense of community and place.

We are here to help, contact: Rebecca Blume Rothman, Director of Public Art 480-350-2827

This Call to Artist does not commit the city to enter into any agreement, to pay any costs incurred in the preparation of the proposal to this request or in subsequent negotiations, or to produce a contract for the project. The city reserves the right to reject any or all applications, reissue the Call to Artist, revise the project terms or procure any service by other means. While all reasonable care will be taken, the city is not responsible for loss of or damage to materials included with applications.

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