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

south city | request for qualifications

Release Date: Monday, December 3, 2018

Total Budget: $200,000 (includes honoraria for three finalists to develop site-specific proposals)

Deadline: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Eligibility: RFQ open to invited artists Carl Moore, The Collective, Terry Lynn, Tootsie Bell, Tobacco Brown, Suzy Hendrix, Chuck Johnson, Christopher Reyes, Cat Peña, Gerard Harris and Arnold Thompson. Each artist or artist team must have an artist of color participating in a lead design role, as well as an artist with experience designing and/or fabricating public art.


The City of Memphis was awarded a federal Choice Neighborhoods grant in 2015 to redevelop the former Foote Homes housing development and revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. A critical component of the multi-strategy plan for South City is the development of mixed-income and mixed-use facilities that support greater service delivery for residents and connections between the adjacent neighborhoods of South Memphis, Downtown and the Medical District. The master plan supports compact development and density with stronger connections between sites through improved pedestrian and bicycle experience and enhanced green spaces.

Additional amenities and services supporting a strong and healthy neighborhood include high quality education, fresh and healthy food options, improved public infrastructure, commercial activity and safe and well-resourced public spaces. The South City project also supports greater connection to the rich African American history of the neighborhood and important cultural assets such as the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Heritage Trail plans, and Robert R. Church Park.

Key partners in the development include the Memphis Housing Authority; City of Memphis Housing and Community Development division; Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE, providing essential services for residents of South City; Shelby County Schools as a principal education partner; and McCormack Baron Salazar, leading the housing design.

site specifics

The boundaries of the South City area are Peabody Place to the north, Front Street to the west, Walnut to the east, and the Railroad to the south, including the Medical District and the South Memphis neighborhood. The South City development will include 712 new housing units in the larger South City footprint, and amenities such as community space, a fitness room, pocket parks and green spaces. Comprehensive case management will be available to residents including access to a network of medical care providers, employment programs and educational programs.

scope of work

UAC is partnering with the City of Memphis to produce a series of public art projects within the South City footprint. The selection committee expresses an interest in a public art piece that will: 

●      Explore ideas of neighborhood identity and resident connection in a period of change

●      Reflect the history of the South City neighborhood and its connection to the Memphis Heritage Trail

●      Create a landmark for the neighborhood

●      Engage South City residents in the design, and possibly installation, processes

●      Be durable, resistant to vandalism

The commissioned artist team will be selected based on the above eligibility requirements including previous experience with the design of public art projects and the participation of an artist of color in the lead design team. The finished project must require little to no regular maintenance. Final artwork should complement the characteristics and neighborhood identity of the site. The artists selected shall be expected to collaborate closely with site engineers, landscape architects, and any necessary party for the successful installation of the project, including the community. NOTE: Commissioned artists are permitted to work with outside contractors to fabricate the actual work of art. 

selection committee

Mairi Albertson – City of Memphis Housing and Community Development

LaTonya Taylor – South City resident

Eva Mosby – Urban Strategies

Mike Shaw – Advance Memphis

Yancy Villa-Calvo – Memphis-based artist

Kong Wee Pang – Memphis-based artist

LarJuanette Williams – Memphis Black Arts Alliance

Emily Bernstein – McCormack Baron

Elizabeth Thompson Bringle - City of Memphis Engineering Division (non-voting)

project timeline

Monday, December 3, 2018        RFQ released

Wednesday, January 30, 2019       RFQ deadline

By Friday, February 1, 2019        Notify finalists of RFP invitation

Monday, March 29, 2019                 RFP deadline

project budget

Total project budget is $200,000, including artist honoraria - up to three finalists will receive a $1,500 honorarium for a site-specific proposal. Design budget $48,875; Fabrication budget $146,625 all-inclusive.

finalists requirements

The artist selection committee will select three finalists based on their applications, professional qualifications, ability to work within a budget, meet deadlines, and successful completion of previous public art projects. Each finalist will be asked to prepare a schematic design, followed by a presentation to the artist selection committee. Each finalist will receive a $1,500 honorarium for an original design developed specifically for the site, leading to one finalist being commissioned to implement their concept.


UAC now posts all open opportunities and accepts applications online through Submittable. Note that you will no longer need to join UAC’s Artist Registry within to apply to an opportunity. Instead, follow the steps below to apply to an open UAC opportunity through Submittable:

  1. To apply to an open Request for Qualifications (RFQ) or Request for Proposals (RFP), go to UAC’s Opportunities page. 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 on the login form.

  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 “South City” link at

  • Include a typed letter explaining your interest in the project and your general approach/concept to its design and production. Please do not submit design proposals at this point.

  • Up to 20 images of past work including title of work, date, medium, budget and project partners, if any.

  • Résumé, not to exceed 2 pages.

  • List of three professional references, including current phone and email.

  • Complete applicant’s materials should be uploaded via the UAC website only. Hardcopy packets, digital files, and CD-ROMs will not be accepted.

UAC will host an information session for invited artists on Monday, December 17, 2018 from 5:30 to 7 pm. Notes from the information session will be taken and shared with all artists. Please contact Lauren Kennedy at or 901.552.3934 for more information.

For more information about the project please contact:

Lauren Kennedy, Executive Director

901.552.3934 / 


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.