Applying to calls is ALWAYS FREE!

Artists Sought for Bicentennial Legends Portrait Murals


Budget: $25,000
Activated: 09/24/2020
Deadline: 12/31/2022
Call Summary
The Arts Council of Indianapolis is assembling a pool of artists interested in creating large-scale, painted portrait murals of “legends” important to the growth and culture of Indianapolis. Murals are anticipated to be executed between 2021 and 2023. For each mural, three artists from the pool will be selected by the mural’s community stakeholder group to create design proposals; one of the proposals will be commissioned. At least 2-3 murals will be created during the initial phase, with additional murals pending funding.

This is a non-juried pool: the community stakeholder committee convened for each portrait mural will review everyone whose work is in the pool and will select three artists to be compensated to create design proposals for specific murals. Some murals may require a special jury process or, based on the partnerships involved, may require their artists to be identified in a different manner; however, we anticipate that nearly all mural projects will be commissioned from artists who have submitted their information to this pool. Artists may submit information to the pool at any time. Submitting your information does not guarantee consideration for a commission.

Concurrent with this process, a limited number of emerging Indianapolis-based muralists may be identified as “apprentices,” who will be provided with the opportunity to work with the commissioned “lead” artist on their project at the Arts Council’s expense. Artists interested in being considered for apprenticeships should so indicate in the online application form. Apprentices will be compensated separately from the lead artist’s fee.

Artists who have submitted their information will be contacted if a match is made between the artist’s skill and the particulars of each portrait mural. Artists are encouraged to keep their information updated, and will be contacted periodically to provide new images and updated experience information.
Budget Description
As artists are identified to provide design proposals, they will be informed as to the budget of the particular mural project they are invited to design for. Artist fees for Legends murals include compensation for artists’ engagements with the community, design work, installation, travel and lodging, and meals. Depending on the site, the artist may also be compensated to rent the necessary equipment to execute the mural.
Project Description
As part of Indianapolis’ Bicentennial celebration (observed between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021), the Arts Council of Indianapolis is beginning a long-term, deliberate effort to convene community conversations around the concept of “legends,” and to commission new, civic-scale portrait murals of legendary Indiana figures.

Although it is being started during the Bicentennial, and the goal is to identify “legends” who embody the Bicentennial values of History, Civic Pride, Innovation, and Legacy as well as Indianapolis’ record of unity, audacity, and excellence, the Arts Council anticipates creating Legends murals past the dates of the Bicentennial celebration.

We are defining the concept broadly: legends do not have to be world-famous, but they must have had an impact on the people, places, and culture of Indiana and Indianapolis. We are particularly interested in identifying legends who are “unsung,” or whose importance may have been historically overlooked because of their race, gender, economic status, or social class.

As these murals are commissioned, the Arts Council will also partner with Indiana Humanities to commission Indiana-based writers (including authors, poets, and/or spoken word artists) to create reflections on the legend and legacy of each individual. Writers will be identified through a separate process.

Because of the Bicentennial celebration, the first several murals will be Indiana figures who had an attributable impact on Indianapolis specifically. Additional portrait subjects will be identified through community conversations and an open nominations process , and will be matched with locations provided by private property owners through a separate “open call for walls” solicitation process.
Artwork Goals
The murals will convey a recognizable likeness of the individual(s) portrayed, and will also seek to highlight each mural artist’s interpretation of the individual’s legendary nature in their own style.

The first mural subject identified is “Major” Taylor, whose portrait mural will be created in the late spring or early summer of 2021. Indianapolis-born bicycle racer Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor (1878-1932) was one of this country’s first Black sports superstars and only the second U.S. Black world champion in any sport. He was the world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and set numerous international track cycling records. In an era of strict racial segregation, Taylor had to fight prejudice just to get on the starting line. Taylor is an inspiration and model for today, not only for his athletic achievements in the face of unrelenting racism, but also because of his integrity, generosity of spirit, concern for others, and invaluable contribution to America’s non-violent struggle for equality.
Professional mural artists over 18 and legally able to work onsite in the United States.
Application Requirements
Work examples: 1 - 20
Artists are allowed to apply in teams.
Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.
Additional Requirements
Application Status
Artist biography OR resume Text
Artwork Information Sheet Document Upload
Demographic Profile
Social media information Text
Technical Experience Statement
Selection Information
Selection Process
The roster invitation will remain open throughout the Legends mural project for new applicants to submit their interest. Once a mural project is funded, the following process will be followed:

(1) Applicants will be initially screened by Arts Council staff to ensure they have submitted a complete qualifications package, and if anything is missing, the Arts Council will contact them to provide additional information.

(2) A separate panel of stakeholders convened for each project will review all pool artists to identify three finalist muralists. Different mural projects will have different criteria for the artists they wish to select as finalists.

(3) Finalists will be compensated $750 each and given time to create design concepts. The project panel will review submitted design concepts and will identify the concept they wish to commission.

(4) The selected artist will enter into a commissioning agreement with the Arts Council for the mural execution.

At all times the selection process will adhere to the Arts Council’s established principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Selection Criteria
Although the artist pool itself is not juried, we anticipate that the following criteria will be used by stakeholder groups when identifying artists from the pool as finalists to create design proposals for specific murals:

Artistic quality: Does the artist have a signature style? Can the artist produce a recognizable portrait of an individual? What is the reputation of the artist for designs that include innovation, excitement, and “wow”?

Technical expertise: Does the artist have experience working at the very large scale that will be required? Has the artist successfully used the equipment that will be necessary to create the mural for the particular site? Does the artist have a facility with materials and techniques that will result in the murals lasting approximately 15 years with minimal required maintenance?

Community engagement experience: Does the artist have experience listening to community-based stakeholders and translating their expressed thoughts into a final design?

Ease of process: Is the artist pleasant to work with? Is there a reasonable expectation that the project will be completed on time and within budget?
- Release of Request for Qualifications: September 23, 2020
- Deadline to submit artist information for consideration for spring 2021 mural commissions: November 8, 2020 (artists may
continue to submit information after this date to be considered for murals to be executed later in 2021 or into 2022 and beyond)
- Initial design competitions: December, 2020 - February, 2021
- Major Taylor mural installed: June 2021 (exact installation schedule TBD)
- Additional murals installed: TBD
Additional Resources
Unnamed Resource (PDF)
Contact Information
Julia Moore
Director of Public Art
924 N Pennsylvania St
Indianapolis Indiana 46204 United States



facebook pinterest instagram twitter