neighborhood art initiative | request for proposals

Release Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019

Budget: $120,000 for three selected projects (per-project amount will vary)

Deadline: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Eligibility: Any neighborhood association, CDC, community group, non-profit, or arts organization within the Memphis metropolitan, statistical area. (Individuals may not apply.)


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. UAC also manages and is a leading partner on City-led initiatives such as Blight Out, Memphis 3.0, and the District Mural Program, and manages grant-funded and privately-funded public art projects. Examples of past and in-progress UAC projects may be viewed at

UAC is proud to launch the first Neighborhood Art Initiative with generous support from the Assisi Foundation. We believe that creative expression has the power to unlock opportunity and transform communities, and the Neighborhood Art Initiative will enable community organizations to incorporate public art into their ongoing initiatives. This pilot program will award three public art projects (totaling $120,000), which will be produced in partnership with a neighborhood association, CDC, community group, non-profit, or arts organization. In addition to funding the production and installation of the artwork, UAC will provide project management support throughout the process (please see Project Expectations below).

scope of work

The Neighborhood Art Initiative pilot program provides funding from the Assisi Foundation to implement public art projects in Memphis neighborhoods. UAC and the selection committee expresses an interest in:

  • Proposals from neighborhood associations, CDCs, community groups, non-profits, and arts organizations with a record of engagement within a specific neighborhood.

  • New public art project opportunities that support an ongoing program or initiative.

    • For example - a mural for an existing community garden; public sculpture to enhance a greenspace renovation; creative signage for a public health campaign.

  • Public art projects which enliven public spaces, highlight neighborhood identity and history, and address the needs of residents.

  • Applicants who have identified possible project partners, including other organizations, neighborhood leaders.

Note: It is not necessary to submit a fully developed idea for a public art project. Applicants may choose to submit rough ideas, to be developed in detail with UAC.

UAC is committed to equity and inclusion in our work, both in the artists and neighborhoods supported through the development of public art. UAC is especially interested in applications from neighborhoods which have not recently received city public art projects. People of color, differently-abled persons, indigenous peoples, youth, LGBTQ+, seniors, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.

project expectations

Finalists will be selected based on the expressed support of their partners and community members, the strength of their application, and the potential added value of public art to ongoing neighborhood initiatives.

Applicants may propose a site in their neighborhood, or work with UAC to find an appropriate site following the acceptance of their application. The site must be publicly visible and accessible. Applicants may propose a specific artist/s to produce the project, or work with UAC to identify artists or facilitate an open call.

The selected community group shall be expected to participate in a committee that will work closely with UAC on all phases of the project.

UAC Staff will:

  • Host public art workshops and meetings for the selected neighborhoods

  • Provide guidance to the community group in selecting the artwork, artist, and site

  • Organize an artist selection process (announcing a competition, managing submissions, etc.) if desired

  • Pay for administrative materials, site preparation, the final artwork, insurance, and maintenance.

selection committee

Ashley Cash, City of Memphis, Office of Planning and Development

John Paul Shaffer, BLDG Memphis

Darlene Newman, Memphis-based artist

Nefertiti Orrin, Community Lift

Imani Jasper, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc.

Jeremiah Watson, Innovative Engineering Services

application guidelines

Applications may be submitted online OR on paper.

  • Paper: Mail or deliver all materials to:

    • Urban Art Commission / 422 N. Cleveland St. / Memphis TN, 38104

Please submit the following materials:

  • Completed application form

  • Letters of support from partners or community members (up to 5)

If you have difficulty accessing the website, need additional forms, or require assistance with your submission, please contact Brett Hanover at or 901.454.0474 ext. 102.

information sessions

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

  • Wednesday, March 27 from 1-3 PM, UAC offices, 422 N. Cleveland St.

Additionally, applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting with UAC staff to discuss their submission materials. Appointments are available:

  • Monday, April 8 from 3 - 7 PM, UAC offices, 422 N. Cleveland St.

  • Wednesday, April 10 from 3 - 7 PM, UAC offices, 422 N. Cleveland St.

Contact A.M. O'Malley-Miller at 901.881.8205 or to schedule a meeting.


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.

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 RFP and support materials may be downloaded at