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REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  October 31, 2015, 11:59PM PST
APPLICANT NOTIFICATION: November 30, 2015 (subject to change) 

• INTRODUCTION

Sites Unseen is a fiscally sponsored project of the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD) that is partnering with public, private, not-for-profit, and community sectors to enhance the Yerba Buena neighborhood’s reputation as an arts hub by developing its alleys as internationally recognized arts destinations. The project will activate these neglected areas by fostering social interaction, community pride, and economic opportunities, while increasing visitors’ safety and exposure to the arts. 

With a visionary curatorial framework, Sites Unseen will program seven alleys within the Yerba Buena neighborhood—Annie, Clementina, Jessie East, Lapu Lapu, Minna, Natoma, and Shipley Streets—with public art that celebrates San Francisco and responds both to the specific conditions of the sites as well as to artistic and cultural values that engage local, national, and international communities. The alleys will provide a platform for both local and national artists at all career stages to showcase work within the curatorial framework. They will offer opportunities for performance and happenings to activate the spaces as destinations for sustained collaborative discourse, innovation, and discovery. 

The arts programming in the alleys will take place in four phases. The goal is to place at least one permanent or long-term temporary artwork per alley along with temporary installations, exhibitions, and events in each alley. Phase One will activate Annie Street and Clementina Street East and will launch in Spring 2016, when SFMOMA is slated to reopen. Phase Two consists of Minna and Natoma Streets and will be executed by Fall 2016. Clementina Street West and Jessie Street East comprise Phase Three and will be completed in Spring 2017. Phase Four, which focuses on Lapu Lapu and Shipley Streets, will conclude the project at the end of 2017.

Sites Unseen is currently seeking submissions from artists or artist teams who are interested in proposing temporary activations for Phases One through Four and/or permanent installations for Phases Two through Four (permanent installations for Phase One alleys have been pre-selected by the Sites Unseen Artist Selection Panel). Artists are invited to submit a letter of interest, a bio/CV, and examples of past work. Submissions will then be considered by the Panel for a range of permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary installations, performances, screenings, events, and other happenings that will activate the alleyways in innovative ways. Selected artists will be invited to submit a full proposal for their project.

Sites Unseen aims to include artists working in a variety of media and artistic approaches, especially those artists whose concepts are based on site-specific investigations involving lighting and/or greening of spaces, and who are interested in having their design concepts implemented in durable and maintainable materials conducive to outdoor exhibition. Sites Unseen is particularly focused on engaging artists residing and/or working in the San Francisco Bay Area, though submissions from artists working across California and nationally will also be considered. 
 
• CURATORIAL FRAMEWORK

Living Space: Art in the Yerba Buena Alleys

Alleyways play a unique role in the urban landscape. They are secondary places, existing on the periphery of daily life, at times leading somewhere, at times leading nowhere, removed from the insistent pace that characterizes the thoroughfares and sidewalks of downtown districts. Most of us pass the mouth of an alley or side street and keep walking, staying on the main roads that will take us where we need to go as directly as possible. Alleyways evoke a sense of digression, mystery, and sometimes danger. They conjure up ideas of covert encounters and hidden histories, and also suggest the potential for discovery and new experiences off the proverbial beaten path.

Living Space reconsiders the role of the Yerba Buena neighborhood’s alleyways, positioning them as places of respite and reprieve where one can elect to opt out of the collective forward momentum and take a moment to simply exist in place. The project will bring together a variety of artists and cultural producers to explore what this kind of ‘living space’ can mean in the contemporary urban environment, inviting them to create site-specific works that in some way respond to the needs of place. Living Space encourages the exploration of ways in which various forms of artistic practice can inhabit neglected public spaces, transforming them from ‘leftover’ or ‘lost spaces’ into dynamic, multi-use ‘living spaces’ that foster social interaction and community pride as well as offer exposure to the arts for diverse audiences.

Living Space is based on the central idea that art does not merely respond to place; it is also essential in producing a sense of place. The project is shaped by concepts including the (re)integration of the natural environment in urbanized spaces; the resurrection of forgotten local histories via the investigation of cultural, sociological, and architectural vestiges of the neighborhood’s many past incarnations; and the creation of new site-specific narratives informed by recent shifts in local demographics and by the proliferation of development initiatives in the area. Local and national artists will be asked to respond both to the specific conditions of the sites as well as the cultural values and dialogues that inform these sites’ identities.

• ARTWORK BUDGETS

Budgets for commissioned permanent and semi-permanent public artworks range up to $250,000. Budgets for temporary installations and events range up to $20,000.

• ELIGIBILITY 

Practicing artists or artist teams working across a variety of media residing in the US. 

• LOCATIONS [*see map]

Public art will be commissioned in seven alleys in the Yerba Buena neighborhood. The arts programming in the alleys will take place in four phases. The goal is to place at least one permanent or long-term temporary artwork per alley along with temporary installations, exhibitions, and events in each alley. Phase One will activate Annie Street and Clementina Street West and will launch in Spring 2016. Phase Two consists of Minna and Natoma Streets and will be executed by Fall 2016. Clementina Street East and Jessie Street East comprise Phase Three and will be completed in Spring 2017. Phase Four, which focuses on Lapu Lapu and Shipley Streets, will conclude the project at the end of 2017.

• ARTIST SELECTION PROCESS

Submissions will be reviewed by an Artist Selection Panel consisting of the Sites Unseen curatorial team, with input from the Advisory Board and Committee. 

Applicants will be screened for the following minimum qualification criteria:

  • Application is complete.
  • The application submitted represents the artist’s own original creative work.
  • The artwork submitted reflects basic professional quality of craftsmanship, mastery of skills and techniques, professional approaches to processes and presentation, and/or communication of a unique vision or perspective.
  • The artist’s resume reflects evidence of professional competence. Qualifying activities would include some combination of the following: education and training as an artist; an exhibition record in museums, commercial galleries, and/or other presenting institutions and non-profit art spaces; previous public or private commissions; participation in artist-in-residency programs; or other related activities indicative of a professional practice.

Once artists have been selected from the initial pool of submissions, they will be invited to submit and present a full proposal for a project specific to Sites Unseen to the Artist Selection Panel, which will use the following criteria to evaluate all eligible proposals:

  • Artistic excellence
  • Consideration of curatorial framework and site-specificity 
  • Engagement with local narratives, architecture, infrastructure, history, community organizations, institutions, etc.
  • Appropriate imagery, style, and materials for public space. A broad range of styles may be considered, ranging from figurative, representational, abstract, or non-objective.
  • Professional experience


• APPLICATION PROCESS

TO APPLY: 
Email materials to Jessica Shaefer, Project Director, at jessica@sitesunseen.org by October 31, 2015, 11:59PM PST.

1). LETTER OF INTEREST

  • 500 words maximum
  • Indicate if you are interested in proposing permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary installations, performances, screening or events.
  • Brief description of the inspirations/interests reflected in your artwork and how they might apply to a site-specific project in the Yerba Buena alleys
  • Executive summary of your professional experience as an artist, particularly with regard to how that experience may quality you for public projects
  • If you have not previously executed a public art project, or worked in permanent outdoor materials, we suggest that you address how you envision making this transition.
  • If you are applying as a team, address the justification for the collaboration.

2). RESUME

  • 2 pages maximum per artist
  • If you are applying as a team, please include your team/studio resume or combine individual resumes into one document.

3). IMAGES

  • Up to 10 images and/or videos of previous work and/or renderings of proposed work as a low-resolution PDF, zip file, or via a Dropbox link
  • Images should be no larger than 5MB each and videos no larger than 250MB 
  • Images should be at least 72dpi and no larger than 1500 x 1500 pixels
  • Video files should be less than 3 minutes each and should be used to show work that is kinetic or time-based. Please do not submit video documentation of static work or artist interviews.
  • For team applications, indicate the lead artist for each project. Teams should submit one application limited to 10 images total; if applicant is not the lead artist, describe your role.
  • Submit only images of your own original artwork, or collaborative work for which you share copyright credit.
  • Do not include more than two images of the same work.
  • Include all applicable caption and credit information for submitted images and video, along with a brief 1-2 sentence description of each work.

• ADDITIONAL POLICIES

Sites Unseen reserves the right not to accept any submissions, to not accept any artist recommended by the Artist Selection Panel, to initiate an alternative selection process, or to reissue the request for submission in order to identify additional qualified candidates.

In the event that an artist’s full proposal is selected, Sites Unseen will, at its sole discretion, have the unconditional right to own proposal maquettes or drawings selected for implementation as part of commission awards or may alternatively choose to retain all such maquettes until the project is complete. Sites Unseen will be given credit upon display and/or reproduction of any maquette or proposal commissioned. Sites Unseen requires that all proposals and/or maquettes submitted are original and unique.