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How to apply for UrbanArt Public Art projects and the opportunities listserv

Watch this space for information and application requirements about upcoming projects.

NOTE: To apply for projects first-time users of the system must upload a profile to the Artist Registry.

Once your profile is complete, you can apply to any project in the future. Artists who upload their portfolio will begin receiving the weekly UrbanArt opportunities listserv of public art opportunities in Memphis and the region, nationally and internationally.

This Artists Handbook covers the process of applying for public art projects in Memphis, as well as the design and fabrication process if you are selected for a project commission. UrbanArt strongly advises prospective artists to study this text before submitting applications to open projects. Questions may be directed to Siphne Sylve at: ssylve [at] urbanartcommission [dot] org.

Artists are selected for commissions in different ways depending on the funding client.

Some prefer to invite specific artists to submit proposals, while others mandate an open applications system.

If you have any problems joining the Artist Registry or applying for projects, please contact: info [at] urbanartcommission [dot] org.

For the guidelines structuring the City of Memphis Public Art Program, please download the PDF provided.

If you are interested in participating on a project Selection Committee, please send Siphne Sylve your current resume with contact information and a statement of interest no longer than 3 paragraphs in length at: ssylve [at] urbanartcommission [dot] org.

Please describe your current community affiliations including home and/or business address, background with community development, education, public art, or any other activities you believe will contribute to the positive outcome of our projects.

Memphis Heritage Trail Mural RFP


Download RFQ

Apply Here

Release date: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Budget: $10,000

Deadline: Friday, December 11, 2015

Eligibility:  Memphis and the surrounding regions


Memphis Heritage Trail (MHT) is the culmination of a carefully executed plan to stimulate and expand the Memphis economy, to spotlight Memphis trailblazers, and to improve and strengthen neighborhoods buffering downtown and the Medical Center.  To this end, it is a housing plan, a cultural plan, a tourism plan, an economic development plan, and neighborhood revitalization plan.

The footprint for Heritage Trail was the nexus of African-American culture, civil rights advocacy, entrepreneurship, intellectualism, and musical innovation in Memphis.  In this way, MHT serves to bring greater awareness and connection to various historical, educational, and cultural anchors within the community (such as Beale Street, Church Park, Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, National Civil Rights Museum, Clayborn Temple, and Universal Life Building), and to tell the stories of the historic figures and courageous leaders whose stories continue to captivate us. The MHT project, employing an asset-based community development model, focuses on communicating these captivating stories through new cultural and economically sustainable platforms.

The MHT will be an actual walking trail and a cultural tourist destination attraction – similar to Washington, D.C.’s African-American Trail and the Black Heritage Trail in Boston - that winds through sites that are important to the history of African Americans in downtown and parts of south Memphis that include just over 7.5 miles of streetscape improvements with the total area to encompass approximately 1.4 square miles. The boundaries of this area are Beale Street on the North, Main Street on the West, E. H. Crump Blvd. on the South and Walnut Street on the East. There are also planned linkages to other historic places and neighborhoods such as Lemoyne Owen College, and Soulsville, USA.

The plan’s aim is to transform poverty-stricken neighborhoods into viable mixed-income neighborhoods with access to economic opportunities by revitalizing severely distressed and assisted public housing, addressing abandonment, blight and disinvestment in the neighborhood’s infrastructure and human capital, serving as the pilot area for a new service delivery model that individualizes interventions based on family and neighborhood risk factors, and utilizing a cultural/heritage tourism model as an economic driver. Memphis’ diverse contributors will be visibly celebrated, integrated and forever secured in the City’s annals.

For further resources regarding the historical context of the Memphis Heritage Trail, see:

  • The Brighter Side of Memphis by G.P. Hamilton
  • Beale Street:  Where the Blues Began by George W. Lee

Scope of Work:

The City of Memphis and UrbanArt Commission are pleased to extend this invitation and request for proposals for a Memphis Heritage Trail mural project to be executed at the corner of South Main Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.  The final installation should occur in early Summer 2016, as a precursor to the first phase of the proposed Trail. The mural should support the Trail’s promotion of the City of Memphis’ rich African American history and cultural heritage, as well as economic revitalization and sustainable growth of the area.

To the extent possible, artists submitting project ideas are strongly encouraged to consider: 

  • The comprehensive historical context of the South Main district, as documented in items such as early photography,
  • The contributions of African American cultural heritage highlighted by the Memphis Heritage Trail,
  • Engaging the community either in the creation or installation of proposed project; providing an educational opportunity and connection to the Trail,
  • Highlighting powerful words tied to the Vision of the Memphis Heritage Trail,
  • The history referenced by the Business/Entertainment and Civil Rights Historic Loops of the Memphis Heritage Trail (please see attachment for Memphis Heritage Trail Cultural Assets, including important historic people, places and events) and the combination of property ownership, economics, arts, banking, and other elements that led to the area’s early sense of community.

These factors will be weighted by the Selection Committee.

The project proposal should include a narrative and drawings, sketches, or other documents as necessary to present a meaningful representation of the concept as well as a preliminary budget.

The project budget is $10,000.  The funding for this project comes from an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts received in 2014 supporting the Memphis Heritage Trail. The UrbanArt Commission is facilitating the project.

Site and Project Description:

The angled face of the parking garage owned by Memphis Gas Light and Water provides a striking vertical surface for a mural installation.  The intersection of South Main Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue will encourage both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.  By creating a mural at this prominent intersection between the Trail’s Business/Entertainment and Civil Rights Loops, we seek to highlight the first phase of the trail and generate excitement regarding the Trail’s proposed construction. 

For more information please contact:

Lauren Hegger, Project Manager

901.454.0474 x102 / lhegger [at] urbanartcommission [dot] org

This RFQ and support materials may be downloaded at www.urbanartcommission.org/open-projects 


Applicants will be notified as to the status of their application. Commissioning of artists by UrbanArt and the pursuit of all UrbanArt activities are implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or age.

UrbanArt reserves the right to modify this solicitation and to request additional information from participating artists.

UrbanArt reserves the right to accept or reject, at any time prior to the commissioning of a work, any or all proposals when the acceptance, rejection, waiver or advertisement would be in the best interest of the project. In addition, 

The staff of UrbanArt will be responsible for all correspondence and communication by and between applicants and members of selection panels. Discussion regarding these projects by and between any applicant and any member of a selection panel outside of regularly scheduled meetings during the selection process may be grounds for the disqualification of the applicant. Such determination shall be in the discretion of UrbanArt.

UAC seeks Full Time Project Manager

This position is responsible for managing all aspects of assigned public art/design projects. The Public Art Project Manager works with the Executive Director and Project Management team in facilitating planning, design and implementation of a variety of public art projects for the City of Memphis Public Art Program and private clients. The Project Manager implements effective tracking systems for recording and reporting project activities, including contracting and billing, monitoring project progress, and overall adherence to program guidelines.

Reports to: Executive Director

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

•  Manage all aspects of specific public art/design enhancement projects and budgets, as assigned, including project planning, facilitating artist selection and City approval processes, contract negotiation and compliance, managing project budgets and schedules, monitoring fabrication and installation of artworks, project dedication and maintenance coordination

•  Develop partnerships with neighborhood associations, redevelopment agencies and public entities (e.g., transportation authority, community partners, etc.) for specific public art projects

•  Plan and facilitate public art planning workshops and community meetings, as required

•  Plan and organize training workshops for artist and design professionals, as assigned

•  Plan and implement public education and outreach programs, as assigned

•  Contribute content for website and publications, as assigned

•  Represent the UrbanArt Public Art Program and the Director of Public Art, as assigned

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Overall qualifications required include proven ability to work with a diverse range of publics and staff, including artists.

  • Must be proactive, highly motivated, detail oriented and well organized.
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft Office software, especially Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop and InDesign skills preferred. Proficiency in the operation of common office machinery including scanners, digital cameras, printers, fax, etc… is also preferred.
  • Should be functional with Mac-based computer systems.
  • Must possess excellent verbal and written communication abilities,


Equivalent to a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in arts management, art history, design, planning, or a closely related field. Previous project management experience required, specifically coordinating multiple stakeholders and adhering to a timeline. Sincere interest in public art, design and contemporary art issues a significant plus.

Based on experience and qualifications. 

Applicants should email a current resume including salary history, a letter of interest not to exceed 1 page, and 3 professional references with the subject line “Project Manager application” to: HR [at] urbanartcommission [dot] org.

About us: UrbanArt is an award-winning, independent non-profit organization committed to enhancing the cultural vibrancy of our community through the development of public art. We celebrate diversity in everything we do.