City of Houston Announces $430,000 Open Call for Civic Art

by Jessica Fuentes January 18, 2022

The City of Houston’s Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) has announced another open call for civic art. Artists and art teams living or working in Texas are invited to respond to the request for qualifications by Monday, February 14, 2022 at 11:59 pm CST.

MOCA has earmarked a budget of $400,000 to fund the production of an outdoor sculpture, and $30,000 for an indoor mural at the new North Belt Public Safety Complex. The facility, totaling 31,000 square feet, is the first in Houston to provide shared land and amenities for the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department. 

A digital rendering of the North Belt Public Safety Complex. The image depicts a sleek, modern building with open spaces and large windows. People populate the large outdoor area in front of the entrance.

Rendering of the North Belt Public Safety Complex. Image provided by the City of Houston.

In a press release, Mayor Sylvester Turner stated, “The City’s Civic Art Program ensures the spaces where public service institutions reside are beautiful and representative of the vibrancy of the local communities they serve. The North Belt Public Safety Complex offers a great opportunity for artists to create a welcoming and safe atmosphere for local residents while commemorating the collaboration between the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department through works of art.”

Necole S. Irvin, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs added, “We stand firm in our conviction that art in public spaces can help to nurture strong communities and we’re eager to see new artworks installed which welcome community members to the North Belt Safety Complex.”

This open call follows a number of other recent announcements from the City of Houston. Late last year, MOCA announced a $540,000 open call for artwork commissions for a new terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Also in 2021, the Mayor’s Office named Jamal Cyrus and Charisse Pearlina Weston the artists to create the city’s public art project dedicated to Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

The goal for the sculpture is to celebrate this shared facility and to welcome the community. As an outdoor work, it should be created from durable materials and be easy to maintain. The mural should be representative of the local community and feature aspects of public safety. The designated wall for the mural measures 26 feet and 1 inch long and 10 feet tall.

Please note the following requirements, via MOCA:

  • Artworks should be family friendly and suitable for public display to a diverse and international audience.
  • Artworks must be free of safety hazards.
  • Artworks must meet or exceed Texas Accessibility Standards (a.k.a. ADA) requirements where applicable. 
  • Artworks should be resistant to graffiti and vandalism and require minimal maintenance. 
  • Artwork must have an expected life span of at least 20 years.
  • Artwork should make a significant artistic addition to the City of Houston Art Collection
  • Artists/Teams must be able to work at the required scale and have availability to complete the work by the deadline of March 24, 2023

For more information and to apply, visit the Houston Arts Alliance website.

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