Call for Artists - Riverfront Park

Deadline is February 21, 2020

Melissa Huggins, Spokane Arts: or 509.321.6444

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 12:45 p.m.

City of Spokane Parks & Recreation and Spokane Arts announce the commission of a second piece of interactive art as part of the renovation of Spokane’s Riverfront Park. The call for artists is open now, with a deadline to submit qualifications by February 21. Details about the call and a link to the submission portal can be found

The site for the 2nd art piece will be in Riverfront Park, with the exact location to be determined as part of the design process. The artwork should be interactive, accessible and welcoming to the public. One goal of the artwork will be to create an inviting destination for citizens, neighbors, and visitors to the park. A successful project will be made of durable materials suited to an urban park location, including but not limited to a sculpture or sculptures. Applicants should reference the existing Riverfront Park Master Art Plan to gain a sense of already-identified opportunity sites that would activate underused spaces in the park and/or provide engagement along existing pedestrian corridors. Projected installation date for this art piece is TBD, dependent on the location and the construction schedule of other bond-funded redevelopments in the park.

“The addition of engaging, interactive elements in our urban park creates community gathering space for people of all ages and backgrounds, provides destinations for visitors, and develops cultural touchstones that, over time, become part of the fabric of Spokane and a source of civic pride,” says executive director Melissa Huggins. “Public art like Ken Spiering's ‘Childhood Express’ (known as the Big Red Wagon), and Sister Paula Turnbull's Garbage Goat, are widely beloved; they continually delight residents and tourists alike. This new piece of artwork will build on and expand that tradition.”

This project is funded by the 2014 voter-approved bond to renovate Riverfront Park and adheres to the City of Spokane’s 1% for public art policy. The selected artist will consult the Riverfront Park art master plan and work with Parks staff, the Joint Art Committee (a six-member group that includes representatives from the Park Board and Arts Commission) and other stakeholders to determine the final site location. Applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to review the Riverfront Park Art Master Plan, downloadable from the Spokane Arts website ( This opportunity is open to individual artists/artist teams working or living in the Inland Northwest region of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. Preference may be given to Spokane-area artists. One artist or artist team will be selected for the project.

PROJECT BUDGET: $85,000 (not to exceed; includes design, artist’s time/labor, fabrication, installation, taxes, insurance, and other related expenses)



There will be a two-phase selection process, beginning with a request for qualifications (RFQ). Interested artists will apply online by submitting their qualifications and images of past work. Based on the strength of their qualifications, three artists/artist teams will be selected as finalists, and invited to present a design proposal to the Joint Art Committee, a six-member group that includes representatives from the Spokane Park Board and Spokane Arts Commission. The committee will evaluate each of the design proposals using pre-determined criteria that includes artistic merit, experience with projects of this scale/budget, demonstrated ability to manage projects and deliver work on time/on budget, experience with the proposed materials, and more. Following the interviews, the committee will deliberate and submit a recommendation to the Park Board regarding which artist/team should be selected for this project. Once approved, the selected artist will finalize design and select a site for the artwork in consultation with the committee, Parks staff, and other project stakeholders.


This project is the second artwork to be commissioned as part of the Riverfront Spokane redevelopment project. The first art piece, a large sculpture called “StepWell,” designed by artist Meejin Yoon, will be sited in the heart of Riverfront overlooking the Spokane Falls, just outside the Bill Fern Conservation Area near the South Suspension Bridge. Meejin Yoon was selected as the lead artist for the Riverfront Spokane redevelopment through a nationwide call for artists in 2016, and was tasked with designing a signature art piece for Riverfront Park, along with a unified system of art markers and a master art plan to identify “opportunity sites” for future artwork and storytelling opportunities. The signature art piece “StepWell,” is a wood sculpture inspired by the geography of Riverfront Park. The interior of the sculpture is bifurcated into two sections, with an accessible pathway for people of varying mobilities to move through. On either side of the pathway, gradual risers within the sculpture will allow community members a place to gather, relax, and experience an elevated view of the river gorge and Spokane Falls. In addition to creating an opportunity for users to climb up and experience a 360-degree view of the park from about 20’ above grade, the pathway through the sculpture and the risers also create opportunities for impromptu poetry readings, live music, or a contemplative place to read a book or eat lunch. “StepWell” will be installed as part of the West Havermale phase of the Riverfront Spokane redevelopment, with site work beginning in Spring 2020 and installation to follow at a to-be-announced date later in 2020. More information can be found on the project page, located at



February 2020: Open call for artists, deadline 2.21.2020. Narrow field to three finalists/teams.

March 2020: Finalists work on design proposals, present to Joint Art Committee

April 2020: Joint Art Committee submits recommendation to Executive Team, Riverfront Park Committee, then the full Park Board for consideration and review

April/May 2020: Contract with artist. Finalize design, site selection, and project schedule.

Summer 2020: Fabrication of 2nd art piece.

Fall 2020: Installation of 1st art piece, “StepWell” by Meejin Yoon, public event/ribbon cutting

Installation of 2nd art piece in Riverfront Spokane TBD depending on site/location



Spokane Arts is an independent non-profit arts organization that partners with public and private entities to promote arts and culture in Spokane. Spokane Arts does so through grantmaking, arts advocacy, professional development opportunities for artists, and through our diverse programming across arts disciplines, which includes management of the city’s public art collection, such as sculpture, murals, art-wrapped utility boxes, and more.