Call for artists: Emerging Artists can apply now!

The Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee and the South District Neighborhood Association are issuing a call for emerging artists to design, fabricate and install a new bus stop bench along Highway 6 East, just east of Heinz Road, across the street from Amazon at stop 7126. The Emerging Artist will lead the project with assistance from a Project Mentor. The Emerging Artist will also include neighborhood feedback into the bench design and install the bench by Fall 2023. 

Project Details


Location of public art bench project.

Design Requirements:

  • Highlight the South District neighborhood’s rich cultural diversity
  • Gather public input from the neighborhood
  • Respond to or capture the diversity of: language, background,culture
  • Grab the public’s attention
  • Must be functional as a bus stop bench
  • Must be ADA accessible
  • Must withstand outdoor conditions for a minimum of three years
  • Emerging Artist will be responsible for the working order of the bench for three (3) years
  • Damage due to weather, accidents or vandalism is the responsibility of the City

Location of public art bench project.

The South District Neighborhood Association desires community direction on the bench design, so gathering public input will be part of the design development process. This can be accomplished in person at a neighborhood meeting or through an electronic meeting like Zoom.  A South District representative will help get the word out to the neighborhood and the Project Mentor will ensure public input is considered in the design. The neighborhood is excited to offer themes and lend support to the project with the goal to install a unique, attractive, artistic bench in spring/summer of 2023.

The Project Mentor will assist in all aspects of the project including:

  • Gather public input from the neighborhood
  • Select appropriate materials for fabrication
  • Fabricate the design
  • Install the bench
  • Instruct the artist on construction techniques


The $12,000 budget for the project includes Project Mentor compensation of $2,000, and $10,000 for the complete the design, fabrication, installation, and Emerging Artist’s compensation. The Project Mentor and the Emerging Artist will draft a budget for the project that falls within the $12,000 limit.

Submission requirements

  • Submit an application online: Emerging Artist Application
  • Outline your history as an artist
    • Maximum two-page resume or curriculum vitae (C.V.)
    • OR maximum of three (3) additional supporting materials, such as:
      • A link to your most-prominent social media feedA visual representation of your process, for example a page of: sketches, brainstorming, works in progress, process photos, mood board or similar
      • Must be at least 18-years of age
      • Applicant’s contact information
      • Statement of Interest illustrating your passion for the neighborhood and your personal connection to this project.A minimum of three (3) and maximum of five (5) images of past works.  Identify images with project title, location, date completed, media used, size, budget, and brief description of the project/conceptual information. Please view the online application before preparing your images. Each work will be uploaded and posted separately within the online application–no need to include a Portfolio page in your C.V.

      Note: This is not a design contest. Best practice for artists is not to submit original designs before being selected for the project.

      Review Process/Criteria

      A sub-committee comprised of South District Neighborhood residents, the Project Mentor and the Public Art Advisory Committee will be responsible for reviewing responses and recommending an Emerging Artist based on the following criteria:

      • Minimum age of 18
      • Understanding of the project goals as indicated in the statement of interest
      • Creativity & strength of past work submitted in the application materials
      • Relevance of submitted materials to the project
      • Commitment to participate with agency/community as part of concept development.

      Preference will be given to artists living in the South District neighborhood, Iowa City artists, or those who create art or exhibit their art in Iowa City.

      Project Schedule

      • January 9, 2023: Opening the Call for Artists
      • Jan 23, 2023: Application deadline for Artists
      • By Jan 31, 2023: Selection of Artist by Neighborhood representatives (SDNA)
      • Feb 2, 2023: SDNA proposes Emerging Artist selection to PAAC
      • April 29, 2023: SDNA Approves Final Designs
      • May 4, 2023: SDNA shares final design with PAAC
      • Sep 30, 2023: Installation Complete
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