City of Memphis' Percent-for-Art Program | UrbanArt Commission

the movable collection | call to artists

Release Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019

Budget: Works up to $5,000

Deadline: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Eligibility: Any artist living and working within the Memphis metropolitan, statistical area. Artists are invited to submit collaborative work if desirable.


The UrbanArt Commission (UAC) works to create opportunities for artists and neighborhoods to connect and shape spaces through public art. Since 2002, UAC has managed the City of Memphis’s Percent-For-Art Program, which allocates funds annually to develop public art in connection to capital improvement projects. A portion of these funds support the Movable Collection, a publicly-owned permanent collection of studio work by local artists.

The Movable Collection currently consists of 68 paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures by 38 outstanding local artists - among them Burton Callicott, Terry and Jerry Lynn (TWIN), Beth Edwards, Maritza Dávila, and Ted Faiers. The collection is displayed in municipal buildings, including City Hall, libraries, and community centers, where it can be appreciated by the public. Additionally, the collection serves as a cultural archive for future generations of Memphians, representing the diversity of local visual arts, craft, and design.

site specifics

UAC is partnering with the Memphis Public Libraries to create pop-up galleries of local art in branch libraries. New work acquired for the City of Memphis Movable Collection will rotate through galleries at 4 pilot branches - Frayser, Hollywood, Levi, and South. Additional branch galleries will be added in 2020. Selected pieces will be displayed at a temporary exhibition at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in December 2019. Artists may be invited to speak about their work in conjunction exhibitions and supporting events. Following these exhibitions, acquired artwork will be eligible for permanent installation at libraries or other city buildings.

Founded in 1893, Memphis Public Libraries have made it their mission to “satisfy the customer’s need to know.” In 2018, Memphians made nearly two million visits to the library’s 18 locations, making it one of the most-used public services in the city. In addition to books and e-books, the libraries offer career services, media production resources, literacy and ESL assistance, and daily programs for children and adults.

scope of work

UAC and the Memphis Public Libraries are seeking to purchase studio work by local artists for temporary display in branch libraries, and permanent installation in libraries or other public facilities. The selection committee is interested in building a collection that:

  • Includes a wide range of media (painting, photo, illustration, sculpture, etc.) and artmaking practices (fine art, design, craft and traditional arts, new media).

  • Features work by established, emerging, and non-professional artists.

  • Represents the demographic diversity of the Memphis arts community.

  • Consists of artwork that is well-crafted, visually engaging, and thought-provoking.

  • Is appropriate for display in all-ages public facilities.

The committee will select artwork based on artistic merit, professional or community recognition (if applicable), equity and inclusivity goals of the collection, and site-specific considerations. Applicants should submit existing artwork that is available for purchase; the committee will not consider unfinished work or proposals. Submitted work must be installation-ready, and ideally should not require framing. (Limited funding for framing and preparation is available.) Artworks should require minimal maintenance.

UAC and the City of Memphis are committed to equity and inclusion in our work. People of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, differently-abled and neurodiverse persons, indigenous peoples, youth, seniors, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.

selection committee

Tamika C. Richmond, Memphis Public Libraries, Teen Services Coordinator

Carol Crown Ranata , University of Memphis, Professor Emerita of Art History

Kimberly Jacobs, Independent Curator

Andrea Morales, Southern Documentary Project, Documentary Photographer

Melissa Sierra, Memphis Public Libraries, Head of Programming

Amanda Willoughby, Cloud901, Teacher / Indie Memphis, Mentor Coordinator

application guidelines

UAC posts all open opportunities and accepts applications online through Submittable. Follow the steps below to apply to an open UAC opportunity through Submittable:

  1. To apply to an open Request for Qualifications, go to Click on the opportunity that you are interested in to view more details.

  2. Clicking on the Submit button will redirect you to our Submittable page, which contains all of our current open opportunities. Click the Submit button next to the opportunity that you wish to apply for, or if you are already within an opportunity, scroll down to the Create your account / Have an account? Sign in form.

  3. If you already have a Submittable account, click the Have an account? Sign in tab to sign in to your account. If you don’t remember your password, use the Forgot? link.

  4. If you don’t have a Submittable account, you must create one to apply. Create your free account by filling out the Create your account form. Fill in all information and click the Create Account and Continue button to continue with the submission process.

  5. From there, you will be able to complete and submit your application. You can now use this account login when submitting to all future UAC opportunities. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email that confirms receipt of your full application.

Please submit the following materials online by following the “Movable Collection” link at

  • Up to 10 images of work currently available for purchase, including title, date, medium, dimensions, and price.

  • A cover letter introducing yourself, your work, and your involvement in the arts in Memphis (not to exceed 1 page)


    • Résumé or CV (not to exceed 2 pages)

    • Short artist’s statement (not to exceed 1 page)

If you have difficulty accessing the website, wish to submit in hard copy, or require any other assistance with your submission, please contact Brett Hanover at or 901.454.0474 ext. 102.

information sessions

UAC will host an information workshop for artists interested in learning more about this project:

  • Saturday, March 30, 1-3 PM UAC offices, 422 N. Cleveland St.

Artists may also schedule a meeting with UAC staff to review their application and portfolio. Appointments are available Monday, April 8 and Wednesday, April 10 between 3 and 7 PM. Contact A.M. O'Malley-Miller at 901.881.8205 or to schedule a meeting.

A workshop and portfolio review specifically for artists ages 13-18 will be held:

  • Thursday, April 11, 3-6 PM, Cloud901, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar


Applicants will be notified as to the status of their application. Commissioning of artists by UAC and the pursuit of all UAC activities are implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or age.

UAC reserves the right to modify this solicitation and to request additional information from participating artists.

UAC reserves the right to accept or reject, at any time prior to the commissioning of a work, any or all proposals when the acceptance, rejection, waiver or advertisement would be in the best interest of the project. In addition,

The staff of UAC will be responsible for all correspondence and communication by and between applicants and members of selection panels. Discussion regarding these projects by and between any applicant and any member of a selection panel outside of regularly scheduled meetings during the selection process may be grounds for the disqualification of the applicant. Such determination shall be in the discretion of UAC.

For more information about this project, please contact:

Brett Hanover | Project Manager

454-0474 ext. 102 |

This Call to Artists and support materials may be downloaded at: