The City of Greenville is known as the cultural epicenter of upstate South Carolina. In 2017, Greenville’s walkable historic West End, a thriving arts and entertainment district, was growing quickly. City Senior Economic Development Project Manager, Tracy Ramseur, realized there was a need to update a plaza at the busy intersection of Main and Augusta Streets. This plaza not only was a place for relaxation and outdoor dining, but it also served as a gateway between Main Street’s shopping and Falls Park, the city’s crown jewel.
Tracy and the city’s Arts in Public Places Commission decided they wanted to commission a unique piece of artwork for the redesign of the public plaza. Their budget was $90,000. The challenge was to find an aesthetically pleasing, contemporary work of public art that was uplifting and would inspire interaction and conversation. The city wanted to find an artist team who could work together with city staff to consider landscaping and pedestrian access. The goal was for the artwork to fully integrate into the site.
The city has a public art collection of more than 70 works of original art. Tracy understood the importance of running a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to find and hire an artist or artist team experienced in creating commissioned artwork. But, she did not have the time or staff available to efficiently run the public art RFQ.
Tracy decided to take advantage of the CODAworx Concierge Service to manage this public art opportunity.
The City of Greenville was assigned their own CODAworx RFP Specialist to handle the RFQ/RFP process from start to finish. The Specialist interviewed key stakeholders and worked closely with them to write a custom Request for Qualifications and create a PDF for distribution.
CODAworx sent the Request for Qualifications announcement out quickly in a targeted email based on appropriate artist professions out of the CODAworx database of over 17,000 potential artists around the world. The email was sent to sculptors, interactive artists, and artists who worked glass, acrylic, metal, mixed media, digital media, and light.
After the email was sent, the CODAworx team handled any applicant questions. Soon entries were coming in, neatly and beautifully organized. With CODAworx managing the process, Tracy and the city’s Arts in Public Places Commission were able to focus their full attention on reviewing which artist team was the right fit.
The CODAworx Concierge Service enabled the City of Greenville to target over 6,000 highly qualified artists with a single email sent the day the opportunity opened and again three days prior to the deadline. After the deadline closed, the city had a total of 82 applicants.
The CODAworx RFP Specialist saved the city time by performing the first review, narrowing the applicant pool to a Top 25 based on the city’s criteria. This Specialist made sure throughout the process that the project stayed on the timeline. For the Arts in Public Places Commission review, Tracy liked how consolidated and organized the applicant information was online in the CODAworx RFP Toolkit. With the click of a button, she was able to easily share a link for 9 commission members to review the applicants online. Her commission found the CODAworx process to be an easy-to-use solution for application assessment.
Ultimately the commission selected four finalists to prepare design concepts for the plaza art. All four were provided an honorarium of $1,500 plus travel to present their proposals for the space. After the final presentations and much excitement, the city hired artist team Adam Buente and Kyle Perry of Project One Studio for the project.
Project One Studio is a digital design and fabrication studio based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Specializing in custom architectural installations for private and public art commissions, their projects feature complex textures, patterns, and creative tectonics. For the City of Greenville, they proposed an aluminum sculpture titled “Kwilt,” based on traditional quilt patterns of squares and triangles. The piece nods to Greenville’s past of once being “the textile capital of the world” and how the city is quickly evolving. The artwork’s completion date is pending funding for the landscaping portion of the plaza.
“The great thing about working with CODAworx is the ability to utilize one central site for everything. I can search for artists and ideas, and then use the online RFP Toolkit to send out a call, view applicants, and share with others. Plus, I can reach out directly to the CODAworx staff for help if I need it. I recommend CODAworx to both artists and organizations working on commissioned projects.”
- Tracy Ramseur
Senior Economic Development Project Manager, City of Greenville, SC