Guidelines: Art Bus RFQ 2024 Guidelines

Guidelines: Art Bus RFQ 2024 Guidelines

May 13, 2024:  Full guidelines published and applications open 
May 28, 2024: Info session 
June 12, 2024: Application deadline (no applications accepted after 4:30pm MT) 
June 2024: Evaluation of applications 
July 8, 2024: Notification of results 
July 15, 2024: Artwork development begins 
August 30, 2024: Final artwork files submitted 
Mid-September: Busses wrapped with artworks 
End-September: Celebration event in front of City Hall

Applications must be submitted by 4:30pm MT on the deadline date. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible. Please see the Deadline Extension Policy for information about extensions. 

Need help applying? 

If you experience challenges with applying, such as language, cultural or accessibility barriers, please let us know.  There are two policies available for anyone who may need support to apply to this program, such as translating program guidelines and applications. These policies are available to applicants even if they decide not to apply. 

  • An Accommodation & Accessibility Policy for potential applicants who experience barriers. This provides support that suits their individual abilities and needs. 
  • An Application Assistance Policy available to eligible applicants. This reduces some of the financial costs associated with preparing and submitting an application. 

If you have any questions or need help completing an application, please contact Natasha Jensen, Project Lead, at natasha.jensen@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 119, or Tiffany Wollman, Project Lead, at tiffany.wollman@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 106. Staff can provide feedback on your application up to 10 days before application deadlines.

Please refer to each section below for important program details. You will find links to all our policies and other relevant information at the end of this document.

Calgary Arts Development invites artists and artist collectives to submit qualifications for an opportunity to wrap the exterior of one of five public transit busses with new artwork. These busses will be in service for 12 weeks in fall of this year. In addition to the exterior bus wrapping, there are interior display opportunities that could share information about the artist and reproductions of their pre-existing work. We welcome artists in any stage of their career residing in Calgary/Mohkinsstsis or surrounding communities and who have a connection to Calgary/Mohkinsstsis to apply. 

Up to five artists/artist collectives will be selected through this Request for Qualifications. Selected artists will work with Calgary Arts Development to develop and refine an original artwork in response to one of the following themes that considers the multiple contexts of Calgary and the communities the busses will connect with. 

  • Honour Indigenous stories and perspectives  
  • Public transit as social space 
  • Share stories of your community 
  • Bring beauty, joy, whimsy and hope 

The artwork will then be enlarged and printed onto vinyl to wrap the exterior of a bus. All artworks must adhere to The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and be approved by Calgary Arts Development, The City of Calgary and Calgary Transit. In addition, artwork will not be approved if: 

  • Artwork does not comply with or respect cultural protocols. 
  • Artwork that uses or present Indigenous cultural material, traditional knowledge or stories without express permission from the community and/or clear connection to the originating community. 
  • Artwork that willfully or in bad faith promotes intolerance, hatred or hate speech to incite violence or harm. 
  • Artwork that encourages activity that is illegal or contravenes provincial or federal law, or municipal bylaws. 
  • Artwork promoting contests and competitions, or fundraising activities (e.g., undertaken to raise funds on behalf of a political party or charity). 
  • Artwork related to campaigning for a specific political candidate or party in an election. 
  • Artwork that would be construed as advertising.  

The artworks will be installed on busses for about 12 weeks from mid-September to mid-December. 

This initiative provides opportunities for the public to engage with public art in unexpected spaces, bring temporary art into a wide variety of communities, and showcase the talent and diversity of local artists. It is estimated that 55 per cent of Calgarians will see the artworks four times each over 12 weeks.  

Successful artists/collectives will be paid $9,000 (not including GST) per art bus. This total, all-inclusive amount includes all costs associated with engagement, creation and communication for the artwork.  In addition, selected artists/collectives will be provided with transit passes for the duration of the project (July – December). 

This initiative provides opportunities for five artists or artist collectives to share their artwork on public transit. This involves creating new artwork to wrap the exterior of a bus and the option to select images of pre-existing artwork for display in the interior. 

Selected artists will create new artwork using the template provided, designed specifically to wrap the exterior of a bus. Additionally, artists may submit existing artworks that will be reproduced for display inside the bus. The artwork will be installed for approximately 12 weeks.  

Artists must create original artwork for the bus exterior in response to one of the following four themes. 

Honour Indigenous stories and perspectives  

  • Share stories of Indigenous culture, traditions, and history. 
  • Share contemporary Indigenous perspectives and ideas 
  • Explore paths toward reconciliation and inspire dialogue, understanding and change.

Public transit as social space 

  • Explore the social dynamics of public transit as a shared space where people from diverse backgrounds come together to create moments of interaction, connection and community-building. 
  • Reflect on the role of transportation in shaping urban landscapes and connecting communities.  

Share stories of your community 

  • Delve into your experiences of how you relate and connect to the community around you.  
  • Celebrate diverse communities and rich cultural histories.  

Bring beauty, joy, whimsy, and hope 

  •  Share a sense of whimsy, surprise and joy with Calgarians and visitors. 

Artists are expected to work closely with the Calgary Arts Development public art project team, staff from The City of Calgary, and Pattison’s design team. Artworks will be subject to approval at various stages throughout development by Calgary Arts Development, The City of Calgary and Calgary Transit. 

Selected artists must use the provided template and work closely with Pattison’s graphic designers to ensure they are preparing files that can be successfully converted into an exterior vinyl bus wrap. Final files must have a resolution of 900 ppi, be in CMYK format, and be delivered in either a .tif or .eps file format. If fonts are included, they must be supplied in Mac Postscript Type1, TrueType or Open Type format or convert all text to outlines. If colour match is critical, accurate proof that matches the desired colour rendering or Pantone colour references must be provided. 

For reference only. Template design for the bus wrap artwork dimensions.

For art displayed inside the bus, five to 10 images of pre-existing artwork will be selected. These images are not required to respond to a proposed theme and are instead a way to showcase your body of work. Selected images can be reprinted up to 34” Width x 10” Height (86.36 cm Width x 25.4 cm Height).  Files must have a resolution of 150 ppi, be in CMYK format, and be delivered in either a .tif or .eps file format. If fonts are included, they must be supplied in Mac Postscript Type1, TrueType or Open Type format or convert all text to outlines. If colour match is critical, an accurate proof that matches the desired colour rendering or Pantone colour references must be provided. 

All artworks must be original and belong to the artist. 

The selected artists will: 

  • Participate in an engagement activity facilitated by Calgary Arts Development.  
  • Create and refine an original artwork that responds to one of the proposed themes. 
  • Submit their artwork for comments, revisions and approval. Artwork must be original to the artist and created for the purpose of this call. 
  • Work with the Pattison design team to adjust their artwork to fit the bus and address parts of the bus that need to be vinyl free. 
  • The bus interior may also display reproductions of the artist’s pre-existing artworks, subject to approval by Calgary Arts Development, The City of Calgary and Calgary Transit. Artists will supply an installation layout that identifies the order of the artwork and accompanying text for each interior card.  
  • Develop and provide an artist bio and artwork statement that may be used in communications about the project.  
  • Work with Calgary Arts Development staff to communicate project development. 
  • Participate in a celebration event in front of City Hall and provide a brief artist talk about their artwork and involvement in the project.  

Note: The artist’s scope of work and budget does not include printing, installing or maintaining the bus wrapping and artwork reproductions. These tasks will be financed separately and managed by Calgary Arts Development. 

  • Provide opportunities for artists of all levels to share their artworks and stories. 
  • Bring public art into a variety of areas and communities that may not historically have as much public art.  
  • Educate Calgarians about what public art can be and how it can change a landscape. 
  • Create connections between different areas in our city. 
  • Provide pedestrians and drivers with an engaging visual art experience. 
  • Enhance the overall experience of people who use public transportation. 
  • Celebrate Calgary’s cultures, communities, histories, geography and diversity. 
  • Provide a temporary and impactful public art experience for all Calgarians.  

We acknowledge that the land we gather on, Mohkinsstsis, is the ancestral territory of the Siksikaitsitapi — the Blackfoot people — comprising the Siksika, Kainai and Piikani Nations, as well as Treaty 7 signatories, the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Îyârhe Nakoda Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations. Today this land is home to Métis Nations 5 and 6 as well as many First Nations and Inuit from across Turtle Island.

We acknowledge that there has been art, music, dance, storytelling and ceremony on this land since time immemorial and it is in the spirit of this land and its people that we do our work. 

Calgary Arts Development is committed to the process of eliminating institutional racism, ableism and barriers in our programs, policies and practices by centring the creativity and leadership of those communities most impacted by structural inequities. Read our full Commitment to Equity statement on our website. 

We welcome artists in any stage of their career residing in Calgary/Mohkinsstsis or surrounding communities and who have a connection to Calgary/Mohkinsstsis to apply. 

We encourage submissions from artists who are typically underrepresented, including: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour), LGBTQIA2S+ identifying individuals, D/deaf persons and persons with disabilities.

Calgary Arts Development supports The City of Calgary’s response to the federal Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Call to Action, as documented in the White Goose Flying Report. All applicants are encouraged to reflect on their journey and understanding of Truth and Reconciliation and how it may relate to their proposed projects. If your work includes Indigenous content, involves work with Indigenous people or you would like to include Indigenous knowledge or ways of knowing and doing, it is recommended that you read the report. 

Successful applicants will be selected by a committee made up of artists, arts professionals, community representatives and subject matter experts. If you are interested in participating on an assessment committee, please apply through this link.

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

Letter of Interest (50 points) 
(Max 500 words)

  • Explain your interest in this opportunity and your connection to Calgary/Mohkinsstsis. 
  • How will your experience and art practice contribute to this project? 
  • Talk about your selected theme and why you chose it. 
  • Describe how you would respond to that theme.  
  • How will this opportunity support your practice? 

Curriculum Vitae (20 points) 

  • Demonstration of relevant experience in public art, visual art or design, including experience providing digital artwork files. 

Images (30 points) 

  • Minimum of five (5) and up to ten (10) images of existing finished artworks uploaded as individual media files. The following information must be included for each image: title, date, size, materials and a brief description. 
  • Demonstration that this artist’s work lends well to this medium. 
  • Demonstration of artistic skills and approach needed to deliver a compelling design for this project. 

Only selected artists will be asked to create a new artwork for the bus exterior based upon the themes indicated in the call. 

Artists are responsible for ensuring that submissions are received by the deadline. Any application not received by the closing date and time will not be considered. Only send images of artwork for consideration, do not send materials that have not been requested, as they will not be reviewed. 

The application process is competitive. The assessment panel will review all eligible, complete applications, and assess qualified applicants. Decisions of the selection panel are final and the panel reserves the right to select no applications.  

Scoring Process 

Committee members will review applications and rate the level to which they agree or disagree the information meets the project criteria listed in the section above based on the following scale.  

  • Strongly Agree 
  • Agree 
  • Disagree 
  • Strongly Disagree 

Applications are accepted through our online platform. The application form will be available on the date the program opens. Applicants must create an individual artist profile to apply.

If you need support or have any questions when creating your artist profile and/or need help applying due to accessibility concerns, please contact publicart@calgaryartsdevelopment.com

The City of Calgary will continue to fund public art by setting aside one per cent of eligible capital project budgets. This model remains responsive to upturns and downturns in the economy.

Both Calgary Arts Development and The City adhere to the Public Art Policy which directs how taxpayer dollars are used to commission new artworks, acquire existing artworks, deliver public art activities and events, provide access to the public art collection and maintain and conserve the collection.

Contact Information 

If you have any questions or need help completing an application, please contact Natasha Jensen, Project Lead, at natasha.jensen@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 119, or Tiffany Wollman, Project Lead, at tiffany.wollman@calgaryartsdevelopment.com or 403.264.5330 ext. 106.

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