Outdoor Artwork

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Outdoor Artwork

At Telus Spark Science Centre

TELUS Spark is a registered not-for-profit organization founded in 1967 by the Calgary Science Centre Society. Opening doors for over 375,000 visitors annually, TELUS Spark has taken the leading role in providing interactive learning experiences in science for Calgarians and visitors for more than 40 years.

As a key entry point that influences and encourages people to engage with science, the organization promotes curiosity, inquiry, innovation and collaboration to build on the foundation for Canada’s future economy. In the fall of 2011, the new TELUS Spark opened on St. George’s Drive and became Canada’s first new science centre in nearly 30 years.

The purpose of Calgary’s science centre is to entertain people of all ages in creative encounters with science, technology and engineering. Through visits to Spark, and encounters with Spark in the community, people are lifted up by the positive power of curiosity and experimentation.


Collaboration: Spark encourages debate and dialogue. Diverse perspectives are considered interesting and healthy. Different points of view make the world a better, stronger whole.

Curiosity:  Spark inspires people to wonder, question and learn. Staff walk the talk of experimentation. Staff and visitors learn, play and create together.

Courage:  Spark supports action and experimentation. Permission is heartily granted to staff and visitors to explore without judgement. Unintended results are surprising opportunities to learn and try again.

Commitment:  Spark is fuelled by a passion for purpose. Spark is committed to training itself and others in ever-evolving ways to delight people in the science of everyday life. It matters that Spark does this work well because it allows everyone to find a way into the powerful world of science, engineering and technology.

Creativity: Spark values the role of art and creativity in sharing science with broad audiences, where culture and emotion kick start conversations.


Spark is currently undergoing an exterior renovation project through its property owner, the City of Calgary, in collaboration with the Renfrew community that will transform Spark’s existing parking lot into a functional solar car port, filled with hundreds of solar arrays. This project is headed into construction for early fall 2021, with construction slated to conclude before December 31, 2021.

The Renfrew Solar Carport (the Project) is intended to support direct community involvement in the development and operations of a solar photovoltaic power project through the financial support of the Alberta Municipal Stimulus Program. The Project is a solar carport that will be located at the parking lot of the TELUS Spark Science Centre. This multifaceted project will establish small scale & community solar while reducing GHG emissions. The Project will also help address Calgary’s Council approved Climate Resilience Strategy by providing shelter to vehicles from the elements, while serving as a beacon for the community of Renfrew and the Science Centre by contributing to the local economy through job creation, technology advancement and the environmental stewardship.

As part of this initiative, and Spark’s commitment to science communication, Spark in collaboration with the City of Calgary would like to invest in the installation of an exterior guest experience that can share the story of solar energy and its relationship to the land/planet through dynamic digital artwork that continues an important science conversation beyond Spark’s walls, and connects back to the science and engineering story of solar energy. As part of this RFP Spark is requesting for proposals for initial concepts related to themes connected to solar energy.


The objective of the project is to communicate a science story related to solar energy through the compelling installation of a large outdoor permanent artwork. The artwork materials and construction must be able to withstand outdoor conditions for five or more years. The artwork as a whole must incorporate a narrative related to solar energy that is legible to Spark guests and a general public audience.

Bidders are encouraged to keep in mind that Spark aims to engage guests in an understanding of science that is delightful, emotional, powerful, meaningful. Multiple ways of knowing are important and respected, as is the connection to the land on which the science centre sits.

Spark is looking more for a bold outdoor installation than an object. The surface scrim of building itself or portions thereof on the parking-lot facing surfaces can be considered and/or physical or conceptual connections to the carport itself are possible, providing the engineering approvals would be feasible, reasonable and within budget.

The installation date is spring 2022.


The Calgary Science Centre Society, operating as TELUS Spark (hereafter referred to as Spark) is the legal entity hiring the artist or artist collective creating this exhibit. Spark invites artists to submit a full fee proposal including quotes for this project. Your proposal should include the artwork concept, a description of the artwork, images of the proposed artwork, a budget and project timeline for design review, and installation of the proposed project. Please follow submission requirements provided in section 1.4. There will be one project awarded.

RFP Artwork Response Requirements

The proposal shall include the following items. If the Bidder does not have capabilities for one or more aspect of the work, please indicate collaborators or preferred vendors or service providers that could accomplish this work:

  • Artist/company information and contact details
  • Examples of relatable previous work, in 10 pages or less. Weblinks to video samples of samples of artworks or designs may be included.
  • Written description of the artwork concept (ideas and meaning)
  • Written description of the artwork (materials, size, colours, shapes, methods for production and attachments, etc.)
  • Proposed artwork images

Price quotation including:

  • Artist fee
  • Any related copyright or image acquisition/use fees
  • Engineering and consultants
  • Any required multimedia, integration, installation or other support services
  • Any digital training, integration training or safety training sessions required by artists for undertaking this work
  • Fabrication
  • Installation
  • All travel, administrative expenses
  • Contingency (minimum 10%)
  • Other (if applicable)
  • Project schedule including: design development, fabrication, and installation. Approvals are required between stages.
  • List any collaborators or sub-contractors and their roles
  • Spark’s responsibilities, outlining specific work or equipment Spark must provide, within the scope of work requested

Please email proposals to Roderick Tate and Vince Iannelli, keeping attachments to less than 10MB in total.

The Calgary Science Centre reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. All decisions are final.

Project Budget

Project budget is $90,000 CAD inclusive of tax. All of the scope of work covered must be delivered within Bidder’s proposed budget in Canadian funds.

Project Schedule

The following project schedule is proposed:

RFP Live: Friday, October 22, 2021
Question Period: Friday, October 22 to Friday, November 26, 2021
RFP Closes: Friday, November 26, 2021
Artwork Selection: Between Monday, November 29, to Friday, December 3, 2021
Installation Timeframe: Spring 2022
Public Opening: Spring 2022

If you have any questions regarding the project scope of work or site details, please submit them no later than Friday, November 26, 2021.

Contact Roderick Tate, Chief Experience Officer, by email roderick.tate@sparkscience.ca or call 403.829.1865.

Or contact Vince Iannelli, Production Manager, vince.iannelli@sparkscience.ca or call 403.370.1203.

For more information visit sparkscience.ca.

To review all the RFP details see the attached PDF.

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