Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Public Works "Bicycle Bloom"

The deadline to submit proposals for 3-5 sites needing Public Art Sculptures was Tuesday at 4:00 pm. I kept the e-mail announcement and RFP that I had received in August live in my in-folder but wasn’t too serious about applying but decided, kind of at the last minute, to apply. Submitting a proposal for the 1% for Public Art can be daunting because there is a lot of prep work that needs to be done, separate from

 coming up with a good design. What prompted me to apply was a call from a first time applying artist who wanted to submit a design but while the RFP encouraged first time artists to apply, they should list the support of a more experienced “mentor.” I think this is a great idea and hopefully this will encourage more artists to apply for Anchorages 1% for Public Art projects. The very talented first timer and I met and I think we encouraged one another. I reviewed his designs and showed him mine –his are better! He also raised some VERY GOOD questions while putting together his proposal that couldn’t even be answered by the projects listed contact person… not a good thing. After a little research, an e-mail or two and a couple of phone calls, I THINK we were able to find out the answers to his questions (which also became my questions) –we’ll see. This whole process had my mind in over-drive since last week with everything from needing to revamp my portfolio, the public art processes, budgets, cool designs for outdoor art and to the importance of encouraging emerging artists. My head hurts and I’m much busier in my head than my production schedule shows.

Some positive steps that did result in forcing myself to go through this process were that I hired Heather Thamm to shoot some of my recent installations. I’ve been el-cheapo lately and haven’t kept up on my portfolio, as I should. My quickie digital photos just don’t cut it. My works are too large and I never have the appropriate backgrounds nor photographic expertise –or time. Just putting the shot list together for Heather took all weekend, deciding which installed pieces to shoot, get a quote from Heather, logistics, contacting the various businesses to get permission to shoot, figuring out the locations, coordinating the times etc. was a job.  I remembered why I’ve put this off for so long. Another necessary component for the RFP was to update my resume, something else I’ve put off but tidied up and it felt good to cross off my to-do list. The RFP also required a Narrative Description, Materials and Budget for artists design. I included in my budget; -Design and Project Management, -Architectural Scale and Concept Model, -Fabrication of Sculpture Components, -Structure Fabrication and Assembly, -Powder Coat Finish, -Installation, -Plaque and Documentation, -Insurance and  -Project Contingency

…all of which left very little for my actual design. Again, though difficult, it was a good exercise even to write the narrative of my idea, thinking through why I had the idea I had and why does the design work. I don’t do rejection very well which is why I don't submit proposals for the majority of Public Art Opportunities. Needing to do all of the prep work left me feeling a bit unqualified.  I reminded myself that the thought of being rejected is a distinct possibility and one that artists know comes with the profession. As far as dealing with the rejection, as I tried to encourage the first time applicant (and myself), we can't be selected if we don't submit and let's just keep moving forward and learn from each project. It seems that the smallest part of this latest process was the easiest part for me, and that was to come up with the design!

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