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Artist Lead

Utility Box Mentorship Program

A collaboration between the City of Calgary, and Indefinite Arts Centre.

The intention of this Call to Artists is to select artists based on qualifications, experience and references. Design concepts and prices are not required.

The City of Calgary Public Art Program in collaboration with Indefinite Arts Centre are seeking a professional artist with established community engagement experience to lead a six-week workshop series resulting in the development and execution of temporary utility box artworks in a select community.

The 2018 Mentorship program will work with artists participating in the Indefinite Arts Centre. A lead artist will be hired upon his/her ability to bring new ideas, skills and expertise to the selected mentees. This mentorship program will support the mission of Indefinite Arts Centre to provide artistic training, creation and exhibition opportunities for people, of all ages—with developmental disabilities, and shares the power of their creativity by advocating for their inclusion in the contemporary arts.

The Public Art Program has a vision to build a diverse collection and encourages artists working in suitable media to apply. Safety, durability, low maintenance, vandalism resistance and exposure to sunlight and variations in temperature and weather conditions must be considered due to the public nature and usage of the boxes. Artists should have experience working in public spaces, be able to work within the existing parameters of the site, be able to work collaboratively and have a history of working within set budgets. Previous experience with successful community engagement is required.

The all-inclusive lead artist budget for this project is $20,000.

The submission deadline is Thursday, July 12, 2018, at 4:00pm MST. No extensions will be granted and late submissions will not be considered.

Please read the full call to artists to ensure compliance with submission requirements. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Disbursements will be made throughout the project as per a negotiated schedule of deliverables. The project will be awarded through a two-stage selection panel process. Stage one to shortlist based on qualifications and stage two for interviews.

Utility Box Program Background

The Utility Box Program started in 2010 as a pilot project initiated by The City of Calgary Roads. Initially conceived as a highly successful graffiti abatement measure, widespread popularity enabled the program to grow and become permanent in 2011. The City is now expanding the opportunity to include community partners and engage more artists and citizens. Since 2010, over 200 utility box public artworks have been created by local artists throughout Calgary. In 2015 the program took a corridor approach to create a stronger presence in communities. Those corridors are selected by the project team on a priority and accessibility basis.

The Utility Box Program is designed to use the funding for regular lifecycle maintenance of City assets in a creative way. Working with student artists, professional artists and community groups, the program allows for these street-level artworks to add vibrancy to our cityscape while creating a sense of place and identity for communities. These public artworks are not intended to be permanent but as a temporary canvas through which artists and community members can express themselves and their identity.

Utility Box Mentorship Background

To develop capacity and interest among local artists to create public artwork in Calgary, the Public Art Program, and Indefinite Arts Centre are joining efforts to create a mentorship program. A lead artist will be hired upon his/her ability to bring new ideas, skills and expertise to the selected mentees.

The lead artist will be responsible for implementing workshops and programming, and will also develop the theme, medium and concept for a utility box cluster in the communities of Fairview and Acadia (10 to 15 boxes) creating a consistent body of work. Artist mentees will participate in the workshops and, once complete, the lead artist and participants will work together as a group to design the utility box artworks for the chosen communities. The artist group will engage with the communities where the utility boxes are located throughout the design period in order to create works of art that are meaningful to these communities.

Public Art Project Goals:

  • Support a diversity of artistic practices by exploring new mediums for the Utility Box Program.
  • Support artists at Indefinite Art Centre by offering a thoughtful and meaningful workshop and mentorship opportunities.
  • Understand the communities along the selected communities and their identifying features, values and character.
  • Involve the communities, in some way, in the development of the artwork.
  • Interpret these elements into public artworks for the utility boxes assigned.

Public Art Project – Objectives:

  • Lead artist will develop a series of workshops for the selected mentees in order to explore concepts and content for the artworks while teaching new skills and/or techniques.
  • Lead artist will develop programming that creatively engages a sense of place for the communities along the selected corridor. The lead artist may choose to invite the public at large to programming opportunities
  • Lead artists’ team will develop a consistent body of artworks on utility boxes for the selected corridor.


  • Artwork should last 3 to 5 years.
  • Artists should ensure that the materials used and the designs created are graffiti deterrent.
  • Artworks created by the artist group should be related in some way (by theme, concept, materials, etc.)
  • Artwork should be easy to view by car as well as on foot.

Submissions must be sent electronically via email in PowerPoint or PDF format to with Utility Box Mentorship-Print or Utility Box Mentorship-literary in the subject line. Complete submission package must be smaller than 10MB.

All requests for clarification and questions regarding this call to artists must be submitted in writing via email to All clarifications and questions must be received no later than 72 hours prior to the submission deadline. Although every attempt will be made, The City cannot guarantee that questions received beyond this time period will be answered prior to the submission deadline.

Read the full submission details in the PDF attached.