Austin’s Art in Public Places Program Announces $260K Open Call

by Jessica Fuentes December 12, 2022

Update: The deadline for this open call has been extended to Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 5 pm.

The City of Austin’s Art in Public Places program (AIPP) of the Cultural Arts Division, Economic Development Department has announced an open call to commission one team of artists to create site-specific artwork(s) that reflects the mission of the Mexic-Arte Museum.

A photograph of the exterior of the Mexic-Arte Museum

The Mexic-Arte Museum. Photo © 2012 Larry D. Moore

The selected team will work with museum stakeholders and local community members to design and fabricate one or more iconic works of art. The completed piece will activate the museum and celebrate Hispanic, Latino and Mexican American cultural contributions. The $260,000 budget will cover all project-related costs, including design, fabrication, installation, engineering, permitting fees, travel, shipping, and insurance.

Eligible teams will consist of artists who are Texas residents 18 years of age or older. Additionally, at least one artist on the team must reside in Austin. Artists who are currently under contract with the City of Austin for a permanent public artwork commission, are a City of Austin full-time employee, or contractors of or employed by either of the projects’ consulting firms are ineligible.

According to the AIPP website, the City of Austin was the first municipality in Texas to include a budget related to works of art in its construction projects. The website states, “By ordinance, 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets are allocated to commission or purchase art for that site.” According to the city’s current code of ordinances, costs deducted from the project budget prior to determining the 2% include debt issuance, demolition, equipment, permit and fee, and real property acquisition costs.

Sylvia Orozco, executive director of Mexic-Arte explained to Glasstire that, “In 2006, the Austin voters approved $5 million for improvements [to the Mexic-Arte building] and in 2018, $15 million more was approved for the Mexic-Arte’s facility.” Of those funds, $14 million is designated for construction related to the rehabilitation of the existing building. As of earlier this year, the building appears to need improvements: Mexic-Arte staff members shared images of the interior of the museum’s building, documenting holes in the ground and ceiling, exposed wiring, and improperly stored artworks. 

Ms. Orozco added, “Mexic-Arte Museum recognizes a need to improve its facilities to engage more  closely with the public. A new museum facility will provide more opportunities for Mexic-Arte to expand its existing programs and continue its mission as a cultural institution.”

The deadline to submit applications is December 21, 2022. Short-list applicants will be notified in January 2023, and interviews will be held in February and March. Selected artists will be under contract beginning August 2023, with the target installation date of 2026. 

To learn more about this opportunity and apply, view the official call to artists. Ver la convocatoria para artistas en Español.

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