Vermont Business Magazine Burlington City Arts is issuing a request for qualifications from artists or artist teams for public art works to be incorporated into the Great Streets Initiative–Main Street Project in downtown Burlington. Selected public art works will reflect the diversity of Burlington’s residents, explore the City’s history, create meaningful landmarks in our built environment, and connect the people, the land and the lake. The RFQ period opens November 1.
The Great Streets Initiative is a culmination of many years of planning and project development to ensure that Burlington residents have a downtown that is a vibrant, walkable, and sustainable urban center. The Great Streets Initiative included developing standards for downtown streets that provide a palette of urban elements that are beautiful, practical, affordable, sustainable, and appropriate for downtown Burlington, including provisions for public art. Initiatives have already been completed for St. Paul Street (2018) and included in the design of City Hall Park (2020).
Main Street is Burlington’s next implementation of Great Streets design standards. Main Street serves as an important gateway into Burlington’s downtown, and a vital connection between the waterfront and the University of Vermont campus. The concept plan for Main Street balances all of the uses of our public right of way, improves pedestrian and bike access to the corridor and encourages use of our streets as dynamic public spaces. The plans introduce wider sidewalks, appropriately sized tree belts to support tree health and stormwater management, and a protected bike lane. Each intersection includes opportunities for a combination of outdoor seating, public art and amenities, views of the lake, and bike parking.
Main Street design documents for all six blocks will be complete by spring 2023. Implementation will be divided into two timeframes, with Lower Main Street (Church St to Battery Street) completed by 2025, and Upper Main Street (S Union St to Church St) completed by 2026, estimated.
This Great Streets Initiative – Main Street Project will commission multiple public art works to be distributed across six newly redesigned blocks on Main Street. The proposed budget for all public art works commissioned for this project is up to $500,000, to include artist honorariums for proposals and all fees associated with design, fabrication, and transportation of final selected public art works. To meet the design goals for the six blocks, multiple public art works of varying budgets, scale and scope will be selected; a single work for the full budget will not be considered.
Artists from all creative disciplines are encouraged to submit and assemble teams that include technical expertise and professionals that bring the skillsets needed to fabricate and install permanent artwork.
A public art strategy was developed by the design team after extensive public engagement on the Main Street Project. The process led to the development of a design approach that focuses on three distinct characters of Main Street: Mountain, City, and Lake. Each emphasizes a different materials palette and allows for individual public art opportunities. The Public Art Strategy highlights areas that have been identified as potential sites for public art and “types” of art that have been identified for various points in the plans, but other proposed locations will also be considered as long as the concept doesn’t impede the functionality of the site. Proposed public art works may include but are not limited to standalone sculpture, artwork integrated into the design of existing infrastructure such as granite curbs or stormwater sites, or other amenities such as bike racks, planters and seating.
The project will be broken up into three character zones that ground users in the surrounding ecological and urban fabric which are detailed further in the attached strategy document. This framework reinforces and amplifies existing areas through subtle shifts in planting, seating, and paving. Lake is close to Lake Champlain and steeply sloping, this area is less dense than the City core. Planting here relates to the waterfront ecology, while furnishings allow for playfulness and rest. City is the urban core, this is a lively zone with active storefronts and cultural uses. Planting and furnishings here maximize spill out spaces and activation. Mountain is experienced as a transition or threshold into downtown, this steeply sloping area has great long views to the Lake and City. Planting and furnishings here reinforce the ruggedness and topography of the city.
The proposed project timeline is as follows:
11/1/22: Call to Artists Released
12/16/22: Artist Qualifications Due 12.16.22 11:59 pm
1/13/23 (estimated): Finalist notifications
2/17/23 (estimated): Proposals due, interviews with artists/artist teams
2/28/23 (estimated): Finalist Selections complete (estimated)
3/27/23 Burlington City Council review of contracts
3/30/23 (estimated): Public Art Contract issued
5/30/23(estimated): Integration of public art work plans into construction documents complete for entire project
June: Project to bid
(2025): Installation of Public art work Lower Main Street
(2026): Installation of Public art work Upper Main Street
10.31.2022. Burlington, VT—Burlington City Arts