Request for Expression of Interest for Public Art Garden installations at Two Public Housing Sites.

Open Call: Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) for Public Art Commission.

Budget: $20,000
Deadline: (Extended) March 9, 2018
Installation: May 2018 (subject to change)
Open to All NYC-based Professional Artists with experience in public art installation and social practice.

About OSS

The mission of OSS (Outer Seed Shadow) is to create and support public green spaces with powerful educational capacities, incorporating public art, storytelling, urban farming, public programming and community building as materials to address systemic and structural issues of social inequity.

Under this premise, artist, educator and activist Juanli Carrión created OSS as a series of public interventions in the form of geopolitical gardens, materializing the union between plant and human interaction by using different plant species as representatives of social groups and individuals to illustrate unrecognized social ecosystems. Working hand in hand with community members, OSS gardens are conceived based on contextual research and exhaustive local outreach in the form of public events, meetings, and interviews, resulting in participatory designs whose layouts and component plants are determined and sited according to contributors’ real-life physical, political or emotional locations within their community.

Conceived as a living sculpture, each garden serves as a centerpiece to articulate public programming that further discusses the conflicts addressed in the gardens. The OSS gardens have commissioned and hosted a wide range of activities, including workshops in gardening, cooking and memory building; readings, lectures and panels with guest scholars, neighbors, stakeholders, and residents; and performances and concerts.

For more information visit:


OSS Project Inc is issuing this Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) to engage an artist to create designs for two new interactive gardens/public sculptures for two sites located at NYCHA public housing developments in the Bronx: Marble Hill Houses and Washinton Heights: Dyckman Houses.

As with previous editions of OSS projects, artists are asked to conceptualize a community garden focused on a particular theme or conflict specific to the designated sites, whose ultimate design and creation will result from a substantive engagement and collaboration process with the surrounding community.

Though they will work closely with OSS Project Inc staff, artists will ultimately be responsible for the design and layout of the garden beds following a period of community outreach that they will also be responsible to define how this will be carried. Examples of previous community outreach processes included:

  • At home individual video interviews.
  • Door to door outreach.
  • Community meetings, workshops, and other activities.
  • Audio interviews in public space.
  • Documentary film work.

Examples can be found at the different gardens of this website:

Artists will also be responsible of overseeing implementation of their design from start to finish.

Artists are encouraged to submit an application, which considers some or all of the following goals:

  • Addresses a theme or conflict relevant to the specific community.
  • Engages the community directly in a collaborative design or creative process.
  • Educates and inspires residents of the housing development and the city.
  • Invites social interaction and shared experience.
  • Serves as a community meeting space that will host and articulate public programming.
  • Resonates with people of diverse backgrounds, both within the neighborhood and beyond.
  • Is durable and requires no special maintenance.


The selection is organized in two phases. Phase One is a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) in which artists will respond with a Statement of Interest (SOI) articulating a concept for their proposal, samples of past work, and supplementary materials. OSS, in partnership with community representatives will review submissions to the RFEI, and at least 3 artists for each site will be selected as finalists to proceed to Phase Two of the selection process.

During Phase Two, the 3 finalists will be interviewed in person.

Applicants must consider the site’s terrain and submit proposals that will stand up to the site’s particular urban outdoor environment.

Artists are strongly encouraged to visit the designated sites before submitting a SOI. SOIs will be judged according to artistic and creative merit, response to the surrounding community, and suitability to the site. Priority will be given to proposals that respond directly to community and neighborhood.

Artists may submit SOIs for both sites, but no more than one per site. If an artist submits SOIs for both sites, they must be site-specific and cannot be identical.


This RFEI is open to all NYC-based professional artists. Preferred artist qualifications include:

  • Experience producing site-specific, socially-engaged, and/or public projects.
  • Ability to successfully work with diverse communities and stakeholders in a creative process.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the project area and local community.
  • Availability to complete the project within the given schedule.

This award is open to New York City-based artists only. Artists who are enrolled in a school, college or university are not eligible. Proposals for previously exhibited projects will not be accepted.


All artists interested in being considered must submit all application materials by 11:59 PM EST on March 1, 2018. Statements of Interest and application materials should be emailed to OSS at with “OSS 2018 Open Call – (name of site)” in the subject line. Submissions will only be accepted via email. Interested artists must submit the following application materials as a single PDF as described below:

  1. Statement of Interest (1000 words max)

Provide a narrative description of how your creative practice and process of collaboration can be translated to this project and how you might approach this project both conceptually and practically. Your SOI should include proposed materials, dimensions and maintenance recommendations (renderings will be accepted but are not required in Phase 1). Also include ideas for proposed supplemental programs or events pertinent to your conceptual proposal.

  1. Artist’s Statement (250 words max)
    Provide a narrative description of your work past work and current practice, including reference to submitted work samples, as relevant.
  2. Resume or CV
    Provide a current resume or CV, highlighting artistic excellence, any teaching experience, community engagement work, and/or experience working with multiple stakeholders.
  3. References

Provide the name, phone number and email addresses of two (2) professional references that have experience working with you as a partner or client on a creative project. Please indicate your relationship to each reference.

  1. Work Samples

Provide 5 to 10 digital images of recent works and/or up to 3 links to video or audio with maximum lengths of 5 minutes. Include title, date, materials and dimensions, locations, and/or running times. Include 1-2 sentence descriptions as needed


All Artists submitting to this open call must be available March – June 2018 to attend meetings in New York City with the project team, as necessary, with installation to occur in May 2018.


OSS is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of its temporary and permanent staff, contractors, collaborators, program participants, and visitors, and to ensuring that any award decisions are based on an individual’s abilities and qualifications. OSS does not tolerate unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, military or former military status, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, in its programs and activities, public accommodations or employment practices. All artists will be asked to model these best practices, and will be asked to affirm a similar nondiscrimination policy should they be selected to submit full proposals in Phase 2.


Please direct all inquiries regarding this open call to

Download these guidelines here: OSS Project_OPEN CALL_2018