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Austin Fire Dept/Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service Embedded Artist


Budget: $100,000
Activated: 08/12/2020
Deadline: 10/01/2020
Call Summary
The City of Austin Art in Public Places (AIPP) program of the Cultural Arts Division, Economic Development Department seeks to commission multiple artists to create a permanent public artwork for services stations related to fire and emergency medical services.

AIPP seeks qualifications for professional visual artists, or artist teams, who live and work in the Austin metropolitan
area, defined as Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Burnet, and Blanco counties. Six artists will be selected to embed with the AFD and EMS station crews and engage in outreach to the surrounding community for inspiration in creating their artworks. Each artist will be paired with a station or stations to outline their time. AIPP will work with the six selected artists as an artist cohort to collaboratively support each other and collectively adhere to best practices in community engagement and public art. Artists will be expected to form a working relationship with each other as well as the AFD/EMS staff and AIPP staff. The artist budget for each of the six commissions is $100,000.
Budget Description
The funding for these Art in Public Places projects is generated by pooling 2% of the estimated construction budgets for renovations to the AFD/EMS stations. The AFD/EMS stations have been grouped together based on bonds (certified debt and 2018 bond) funding their renovations.

The awards for the artist opportunities are inclusive of embedded artist time, design, fabrication, and installation, including engineering and permitting fees, oversight time, travel and shipping expenses, insurances and other project-related costs.
Project Description
The artwork must reflect the mission of the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical
Services “to create safer communities through prevention, preparedness, and effective emergency response.”
The artists selected for these commissions will embed with the crews of the stations to better understand the work of Austin’s first responders and reflect their experiences with the men and women of AFD/EMS in their artwork.

AFD/EMS Residency Stations:
Three artists will be commissioned to work with these stations:
AFD Station 2: 506 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78705. Council District: 9
AFD Station 9: 4301 Speedway, Austin, TX 78751. Council District: 9
AFD Station 10: 3009 Windsor Rd, Austin, TX 78703. Council District: 10
AFD Station 12: 2109 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756. Council District: 7
AFD Station 16: 7000 Reese Ln, Austin, TX 78757. Council District: 7
AFD Station 32: 2804 Montebello Rd, Austin, TX 78747 Council District: 8
AFD Training Academy: 4800 Shaw Ln, Austin, TX 78744 Council District: 2

Three artists will be commissioned to work with these stations:
AFD Station 8 / EMS Station 7: 8989 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78758. Council District: 7
AFD Station 23 / EMS Station 13: 1330 E Rundberg Ln, Austin, TX 78753. Council District: 4
AFD Station 25 / EMS Station 10: 5228 Duval Rd, Austin, TX 78727. Council District: 6
EMS Station 1: 3616 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704. Council District: 3
EMS Station 5: 5710 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752. Council District: 7

AFD and EMS are committed to maintaining safe and equitable facilities for fire and paramedic staff. Bringing a total of 11 AFD/EMS stations up to a more useable and safer standard will allow personnel to better perform their duties of serving the City of Austin community. The renovations to the AFD and EMS stations address several objectives including:
» The creation of equitable locker and bathroom facilities.
» The addition of a second ambulance and quarters for personnel.
» Lead and asbestos abatement.
» Replacement of a failing station bay.
» Upgrades to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and fire code requirements.
» Remedy structural integrity issues, electrical work, refurbishment, general repairs, and updating.

Each artist will be expected to seek inspiration from conversations with formal and informal stakeholder groups as well as interviews (either in person or via online capabilities) with AFD/EMS staff. To allow the artists to be inspired by the AFD/EMS's role in serving the community, each artist will be paired and embeded with station staff. During the artists’ embedded time, they will:
»Spend approximately 10-15 hours per week observing and/or documenting the activities of their assigned stations over at a
minimum of 3 months.
»As allowed by the station, partake in ride-alongs with on-duty AFD and EMS staff as they respond to calls and work with the community.
»Document their experiences and show how this time informs the working designs. Documentation could include written narrative, video, photo blog, drawings, photos, video, recordings, journal notes, etc., in support of the artists' process. The documentation is part of the archival record of the project and will be submitted to the City before the project is closed out.
»The artist will share their documentation with AIPP staff and the AIPP Panel to support their Mid-Design presentation, as well as, the required approvals for Final Design phase including the AFD, EMS, AIPP Panel and the Arts Commission.
»Each artist’s final design submittal must include a summary of embedded artist work/findings, narrative description, images of the proposed artwork in situ, scope of work for the installation of the artwork, budget, schedule, and care/maintenance instructions. Upon approval of the final design, a separate contract will be negotiated with the artist to create and install the artwork.
Each artist is responsible for the fabrication and installation of their artwork. The proposed artwork must not impede the stations’ operations, or pose safety risk or harm, and must be approved by the AFD/EMS and other stakeholder groups before the artist proceeds with the fabrication and installation
Artwork Goals
The Art in Public Places program seeks to commission works of art of redeeming quality that advance public understanding of visual art and enhance the aesthetic quality of public places through the selection of qualified artists or artist teams who can innovatively and thoughtfully design within the context of this project. The goal of these AFD/EMS projects is to select an artist who will design artwork that:
»integrates with either the site, architecture, interior or exterior of the station;
»is relevant to AFD/EMS's role in how the station serves the community;
»is conceptually accessible to station staff and visitors;
»is easily maintained and;
»contributes to the depth/breadth of the City of Austin's public art collection.
Artwork Location Description
These public art opportunities are open to a wide range of ideas to be proposed by the selected artists, in consultation with the City staff and project stakeholders. Proposed artwork should be integrated into the available scope of construction, to the greatest extent possible. Artwork should be sited in areas accessible to the public. A range of materials and conceptual approaches are welcome for this commission as long as the parameters and goals of the project are met.

The selected artists will collaborate with City staff and project stakeholders to determine the exact location for their artwork. As the stations are highly specialized in order to deliver services to the public, there are limited locations where an artwork may be sited throughout the facilities. . AIPP staff retains the right to modify artists’ artwork location(s) as needed by the requirements of the project or the sponsor departments.

AIPP Staff will match the selected artists with station locations. Artists can expect to work with one to two stations each.
Possible artwork locations will be discussed during the Artist Information Meeting held by Art in Public Places staff.
Site History
The Austin Fire Department serves a population of more than 840,000 within a 308 square mile area in Austin, TX. 1,100 AFD employees respond from 45 fire stations and 7 other works sites to more than 85,000 calls a year. Like most fire departments, AFD is responsible for providing a multitude of services. This includes operations and support services, aircraft firefighting and rescue, maintenance shops, medical operations, emergency prevention, arson investigations, professional standards, community outreach, safety, special operations, and educational services. Known as a leader in the fire service, AFD is on the cutting-edge of technology and training.

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services serves over 1,300 square miles, including all of Travis County and parts of Williamson and Hays Counties. Eighteen cities are included in this service area, including the City of Austin. In 2015, EMS responded to over 120,000 calls from 37 stations in the service area. As with AFD, EMS is responsible for providing a multitude of services including operations and support services, cadet training academy, emergency management preparedness for man-made and natural disasters, professional standards, special event services, emergency communications, community outreach, and educational services. EMS innovations are world recognized and play a key role in earning a nationally recognized accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services.
This Request for Qualifications is reserved for:
»Professional visual artists or artist teams
»At least 18 years of age
»Live and work in the Austin metropolitan area, which includes Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Burnet and Blanco
Artists who have lived experience with a station location are encouraged to apply.
Application Requirements
Resume: 1 page(s) maximum
Work examples: 1 - 10
References: 3
Artists are allowed to apply in teams.
Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.
Additional Requirements
Demographics Survey: Communities
Demographics Survey: Gender
Demographics Survey: Pronouns
Demographics Survey: Race/Ethnicity
Demographics Survey: Veteran Status
Short Answer Question 1 Text
Short Answer Question 2 Text
Short Answer Question 3 Text
Selection Information
Selection Process
The City of Austin Art in Public Places Panel will convene a jury to evaluate the submissions. The jury and advisors shall review applications may and select up to nine finalists (three per opportunity) for inter-views unless there is consensus on the selection of recommending one applicant and one alternate per commission opportunity. The jury and advisors shall convene again for interviews with the finalists and select one artist/artist team and one alternate per opportunity.

This recommendation will be presented to the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Panel and Arts Com-mission for approval. All artist contracts will need Council approval for authority to negotiate, prior to contract negotiations. The approved artists will be put under contract to coordinate with the City and project team to develop a final design, which is subject to approval by the AIPP Panel and Arts Commission prior to fabrication and installation, which will be contracted separately.

The selection panel and project advisors will work together to review the applications submitted by each artist. A 5-member Selection Panel shall include at least 3 visual artists. Possible selection panel members include:
» Rachel Wolfson Smith – Local Artist
» Laura Hajar – Local Artist
» Beili Liu – Local Artist
» Xochi Solis – Local Artist
» Adrian Armstrong – Local Artist
» Martin C. Jones – Local Arts Administrator
» Rebecca Gomez – Local Curator
» Risa Puleo – San Antonio Curator
» Phillip A. Townsend – Local Curator
» Kelly K. Porter – Local Planner
» Wenjie Zhao – Local Landscape Designer

Project advisors will be invited to participate in the process to provide assistance and expertise to the selection panel. The project advisors to the panel may include:
» Alejandro Wolniewitz – Facilities Planning Manager, Austin Fire Department, City of Austin
»Wesley Hopkins – EMS Division Chief, Emergency Medical Services, City of Austin
» Alison Von Stein – Subproject Manager, Public Works Department, City of Austin
» TBD– AIPP Panel Liaison

No gallery owner, dealer, or art agent may serve as a juror due to the potential for conflict of interest. No juror may serve more than once in any two-year period in an attempt to bring a diversity of interest
Selection Criteria
The selection of an artist, or artist team, shall be based on whose qualifications best meet the requirements contained in this Project Outline. In addition to the standard AIPP project selection criteria found on the City of Austin's Art in Public Places website (, the Selection Panel will review and consider the following evaluation criteria:
» artistic merit and technical expertise;
» demonstrated successful, innovative and effective approach to public art projects of similar scope;
» ability to successfully execute a public art project; and
» expressed interest in creating artwork within this community setting.
Prospectus approved by AIPP Panel and Arts Commission
Request for Qualifications open (eight weeks)

Artist information meetings

Request for Qualifications close
Jury Panel to recommend 6 artists or artist teams and 6 alternates

Approval of artist and alternate by AIPP Panel and Arts Commission

Request for City Council contract approvals

Artists contract execute and Cohort kick-off meeting

January – February
Artist residencies

Mid-Design review by AIPP Panel

Final Design approval by AIPP Panel and Austin Arts Commission

Commission contract and Notice to Proceed with Fabrication

Artwork installation as required
Additional Resources
AFD/EMS Station Cohort RFQ (PDF)
Contact Information
Marjorie Flanagan
Project Manager
201 E. 2nd St
Austin Texas 78701 United States



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