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The City of New York seeks artists interested in creating a public monument for the Lyons Family to be installed in Central Park near the 106th Street west entrance. If you are such an artist, please apply to this open call by April 1, 2020.


On October 21, New York City announced the creation of a new monument in Central Park honoring the Lyons Family, an African American family who participated in some of the most seminal movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Consisting of Albro Lyons (1814-1896), Mary Lyons (1815-1894), and their daughter Maritcha Lyons (1848 –1929), these remarkable people led their community in the fight to make the City more, fair and just, especially as the nation struggled to overcome centuries of slavery before and after the Civil War. 

The monument, funded by the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund , represents another step toward fostering a more diverse and inclusive public art collection for the City.

The proposed location for the monument is the Park entrance at 106th street and Central Park West and the current goal is to install the new permanent public artwork in 2022.


This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is to solicit artists or artist teams who are interested in being considered to design a permanent public monument for the Lyons Family in Central Park. The artist chosen to design a monument will be determined through the City’s Percent for Art commissioning process. 


The Lyons Family monument is being funded by private foundations. The project budget is $1.15 million and must include all project costs, artist’s fees, design services, community engagement, site preparation, engineering, fabrication, travel, transportation of the work to the site, insurance, permits, installation, documentation of the artwork, and contingency. 


Professional visual artists or artist teams, working in any and all media, legally authorized to work in the U.S., and who are at least 18 years of age, are eligible to apply. Employees of the City of New York, Committee members (as defined in the following section) and their family members are not eligible to apply. If applying as an artist team, please identify the team member who will serve as the lead artist. 


This open call is organized into two phases: 

Phase One is the RFQ in which artists or artist teams may respond with samples of past work and supplementary materials to be considered for the Lyons Family commission. The City, in partnership with an advisory committee of outside arts and design professionals (the “Committee”), will select artists to proceed to Phase Two of the open call (the “Finalists”). 

Phase Two is a Request for Conceptual Designs in which Finalists will submit a conceptual design for final review by the Committee. Finalists will receive a $1,500 honorarium for completion of a conceptual design in response to the Request for Conceptual Designs. One artist will be selected by the Committee from Phase Two to finalize designs, fabricate and install the artwork in partnership with the City (the “Selected Artist”).

Phase One: Request for Qualifications 

As part of Phase One, the City invites artists or artist teams to submit examples of past work for the Committee to review. Eligibility is based upon artistic merit as evidenced in previous work, though the artist or artist team need not have completed a prior permanent public commission. There is no submission fee. Submissions must be made online through https://nyculture.submittable.com/submit. Submissions must be completed by 11:59PM on April 1, 2020. 

Submission Materials 

Artists must submit all of the following materials for consideration: 

· Statement of Interest (250 words max) Provide a narrative description of your interest in the commission and your qualifications for undertaking such a project; how your art practice and process can be translated to this project and how you might approach this project. If you are applying as an artist team, your statement of interest should reflect the work and approach of the team. 

· Artist’s Statement (250 words max) Provide a narrative description of your past work and current practice, including reference to submitted work samples, as relevant. 

· Resume or CV (2 pages max) Provide a current resume or CV, highlighting artistic excellence, any teaching experience, community engagement work, and/or experience working with multiple stakeholders. Be sure to include any relevant public or private commissioning experience. If you are applying as an artist team, combine your information into a two-page document that summarizes the team members’ qualifications. For example, a four-member team may choose to include a half-page bio for each team member. 

· References Provide the name, phone number and email addresses of two (2) professional references that have experience working with you as a partner or client on a creative project. Please indicate your relationship to each reference.

· Work Samples Provide 10 images of completed work. Images should be from 70 - 100 dpi. If you have video of your work that is relevant to this project (i.e. a kinetic sculpture or sound element), submit a PDF with a link to the video. Each video PDF link will count as one of your 10 images. Each video may be no longer than 3 minutes. If you are applying as an artist team, designate one artist to be the team leader to submit your information, along with team member(s) images and resume/bio(s). Submissions from artist teams should reflect samples from each artist on the team, and not exceed the overall submission limit of 10 images. 

· Work Sample List Provide a list of submitted work, including title, date, materials and dimensions, locations, and/or running times. Include 1-2 sentence descriptions as needed.

Phase Two: Request for Conceptual Designs 

As part of Phase Two, the City will invite the selected Finalists to submit conceptual proposals for review by the Committee. Finalists will receive an honorarium of $1,500 for submission of a conceptual proposal regardless of the number of concepts submitted. Percent for Art aspires to commission artwork of the highest caliber possible, and to set a national example for public art commissioning, while reflecting contemporary art practices and the vibrant communities where the work will be installed. The conceptual proposals will be judged against the following criteria: 

· Appropriateness of each artist’s approach to the site’s architecture, function, and users; 

· Skilled craftsmanship; 

· Clarity of artistic vision; 

· Consideration of the cost and durability of the artist’s chosen materials; and 

· That the artist’s public commission is true to his/her/their sensibility.


Please direct all inquiries regarding this open call to Percent@culture.nyc.gov.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.