Eastside Street Crossing Call for Art

April 2 Workshop take-away

The Eastside St Art Crossing Workshop took place Thursday, April 2. As a group, participants walked through the project application. One of the discussion points was engineering and the selected artist's responsibility to provide stamped drawings as part of their scope of work. This note is to clarify that deliverable.

About the project

The City of Olympia is seeking an artist or artist team to develop site-specific artwork as part of the Olympia Art Crossings Project. Olympia Crossings: An Art Plan for City Gateways identifies eight locations for art, located along Civic Boulevards, based in neighborhoods but located at the primary thresholds approximately a mile from the center of downtown Olympia.

The artist or artist team will be expected to develop an artwork in response to the neighborhood and community in which the artwork is located. A set of paired Markers are recommended at each site, scaled to be read at the scale of the boulevards. Placemaking is also required that is specific to the opportunities for each site, to enhance the pedestrian experience day and night.

“Olympia Crossings” is the theme of the project and overarching concept. Artists are encouraged to contemplate and interpret this theme in the development of their artwork.


The total project budget for artwork is $50,000. The allotted funds must cover all costs related to the supply of the work(s) of art including but not limited to design, engineering, lighting fixture(s), landscape, fabrication, transportation and delivery, as well as insurance, artist’s fee, applicable taxes and travel expenses associated with the project. The City is responsible for site preparation and installation.


This opportunity is available to artists with a strong connection to the city of Olympia, WA. Olympia-based artists and/or artist teams are strongly encouraged to apply. City of Olympia staff, Commissioners, panel members, project personnel, and immediate family members of all of the above are not eligible to apply.


Applications are due by Midnight, Wednesday, April 15

Project goals

The City collaborated with the arts management team of Framework Cultural Placemaking to identify sites, concepts, and opportunities for artwork integration at the Olympia gateways. The City has identified opportunities for an artist or artist team to develop site-specific artwork for each gateway and provide the following benefits:

  • A welcoming artwork that marks a threshold within or at the edge of the City of Olympia.
  • Increased presence of arts and culture in Olympia’s neighborhoods.
  • Connections to nature, water, community assets, history and the place of Olympia as the State Capital
  • A stronger sense of place and stronger relationship between adjacent neighborhoods.

Project area description

The Eastside St bridge connects two Olympia neighborhoods: Eastside (ENA) and Indian Creek (ICNA). The two areas were once one before the construction of I-5. Both neighborhoods appreciate the nearby trail systems, walkable access to downtown, and access to nature. Moxlie Creek and Indian Creek originate in ICNA and flow through ENA, and both neighborhoods value the greenspaces, trees and wildlife that are present in their urban areas.

The ENA is slightly closer to the center of town and feels a bit more urban. The north edge of the neighborhood borders an easily accessible mixed-use corridor of a grocery store and restaurants, medical offices and other essential services. Neighbors value the area’s historic homes (from 1880) and the neighborhood’s historic name, Swantown.

Across the bridge and farther from town, ICNA has a blend of both an urban and rural feel to it, with several swaths of forest and a park trail running through their neighborhood. Many neighbors practice urban homesteading with produce gardens, chickens, and at least one pair of goats. There are homes of all shapes and sizes, the community values that funky, eclectic vibe. The open space has also attracted several large homeless camps, which creates a sense of tension in the neighborhood.

Both areas benefit from active neighborhood associations, City parks, and good bus service. And both areas take pride in friendly, supportive communities of neighbors.

Scope of work

The selected artist or team will develop and create a new site-specific artwork in response to the Eastside Street Crossing location, the adjacent neighborhoods, and in response to the theme “Olympia Crossings.” 

The artwork may include a variety of diverse media including light, wayfinding elements, artist made amenities, or sculptural forms. The artwork should have a strong ongoing physical presence within the designated site area. The artwork must be suitable for diverse audiences and be able to withstand wet seasonal weather conditions. Artists are required to follow best practices as defined in the Materials and Fabrication Handbook developed by ArtsWA.

The artist will consider “Olympia Crossings” as it relates to the local community, the rest of the gateway system, and surrounding area. The artist will design and fabricate the artwork on a mutually agreed timeline with the City.

Submission/Selection Process

Phase 1: Submission of application

The selection committee panel reserves the right to select up to three artists or artist teams as finalists for this opportunity. The panel also reserves the right to not select any artists, if it so chooses.

Selection Committee:

  • Bob Droll, Landscape Architect
  • Stacy Hicks, Arts Commissioner
  • Dave Opincarne, Indian Creek Neighborhood Representative
  • Aaron Sauerhoff, Planning Commissioner
  • Jim Sweeny, Eastside Neighborhood Representative

Emerging artists or artists with little public art experience are encouraged to apply, indicating the support they would need to be able to create successful public art. The selected artist/team will have up to 4 hours consultation time to review their proposed concept plan with the City’s on-call Landscape Architect.

How to apply

Applicants may apply using the Apply Now button near the top of this page. Application deadline is Midnight on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Applicants are highly encouraged to research the project before applying.

Selection criteria

In addition to overall artistic excellence (artistic ability, originality, technical competency, material integrity, craftsmanship, uniqueness of vision) as represented in the applicant’s digital work examples, the applicant’s written materials will be used to judge the artist/team’s ability to:

  • Demonstrate interest in furthering artistic practice and creating permanent public artworks
  • Think and work with durable materials, and in a scale that is appropriate to the site
  • Create an artwork responsive to the site and community context, and that tells a story
  • Ability to relate to multiple types of viewers, in different mode of transportation
  • Demonstrated ability to complete projects of similar scale and context, or show ability to take on a large project by progression of completed work.
  • Demonstrated ability to complete projects on time and on budget

Phase 2: Finalist interviews

Each finalist will be interviewed by the same selection committee as in Phase 1.

During finalist interviews, the work of the finalist will be to convince the selection committee that the artist/team possesses the knowledge skills and competencies necessary to realize the vision and objectives outlined in this prospectus, including but not limited to:

  • Appropriateness of artist and their work to the opportunities of the site.
  • Strong concept and design skills.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills.

The City of Olympia is committed to the non-discriminatory treatment of all persons in employment and the delivery of services and resources.

Artist selection schedule (subject to change)

  • Workshop for interested applicants: Thursday, April 2, 6-8 p.m., Olympia City Hall, Room 112
  • Deadline for Entry: Wednesday, April 15, Midnight
  • Jury process: Tuesday, May 5, 8-10 a.m., Olympia City Hall, Room 207
  • Arts Commission review: Thursday, May 14, 6 p.m., Olympia City Hall, Council Chambers
  • Finalist interviews: Wednesday, May 27, 3:30-5 p.m., Olympia  City Hall, Room 112
  • Arts Commission review: Thursday, June 11, 6 p.m., Olympia City Hall, Council Chambers
  • City Council approval: Tuesday, June 23, 7 p.m., Olympia City Hall, Council Chambers

Legal Requirements

  • Applicants must have, or be willing to acquire an Olympia Business license, if selected. For more information, visit our Business License page.
  • The selected artist will be required to carry insurance. Specific coverages are included in the contract the selected artist will execute with the City. 
  • The City reserves the right not to select any artist at all, and reserves the right to change the process or schedule upon public notice.


Contact Stephanie Johnson, Arts Program Manager at 360.709.2678 or sjohnson@ci.olympia.wa.us