Guelph Urban Design Awards: Request for Proposal for award design

Artist opportunity

The City of Guelph invites Ontario-based visual artists and fine craftspeople to submit proposals for the design of an award for the Guelph Urban Design Awards. This competitive process asks the province’s artistic community to submit design proposals from which an award will be created. The successful applicant will be asked to design and create a minimum of six awards in advance of the 2020/21 Guelph Urban Design Awards taking place Friday, September 24. Additional awards may be requested after winners have been announced in cases where there are winning teams.


Urban design is fundamental to creating a great city. Urban design deals with the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes within the city to create positive, thriving places. Urban design aims to make connections at multiple scales (e.g. between people and places, buildings and streets, movement and built form, natural heritage and built environment, etc.).

In the municipal context, urban design is a process for creating successful places, sometimes referred to as “placemaking”.

The City’s urban design plans and policies improve the livability, sustainability, economic vitality, and attractiveness of Guelph, and support its distinctive identity.

The City of Guelph has developed an urban design awards program to celebrate, promote and recognize the best of urban design within Guelph.

Six awards will be given out related to:

  • Adaptive Re-use/Heritage Conservation
  • Public Buildings
  • Private Buildings
  • Open Space/Public Space/Green Infrastructure
  • Placemaking
  • Urban Design Plans/Visions

The award winning entries will be acknowledged over Culture Days weekend, Friday, September 24, 2021.

The awards will be given out once every term of Council.

Scope of work

The award for the Guelph Urban Design Awards will be a piece of artwork that acknowledges improvements to Guelph’s physical environment that increase livability and generate civic pride. The award should be inspirational, celebratory and representative of Guelph’s vitality as a city.

The award can be a two or three-dimensional artwork in any medium, including wood, glass, copper, metal, ceramic, framed drawings or paintings, etc. As the award will be presented on stage, it should have presence and visual impact. In addition, the award should be able to be customized with credentials (the award category, year and recipient’s name) as part of the artwork or as a plaque affixed to the piece.

While individual awards to do not need to be perfectly identical (although they may be), the design should be consistent enough to appear cohesive.


In addition to a one-time design fee of $2,000, proposals should include the cost, per award, to produce six awards using the proposed design. The maximum total budget per award, including all materials, production fees, and taxes should be less than $250.


The Guelph Urban Design Awards and the corresponding award design are both postponed until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The dates below are no longer accurate, new dates will be provided as soon as they are determined.

  • February 18, 2020: Call launched
  • April 1, 2020: Submission deadline (12 p.m.)
  • April 2021: Review submissions
  • May 2021: Successful artist notified announced
  • June 2021: Guelph Urban Design Award recipients chosen
  • September 22, 2021: Physical awards delivered to the City of Guelph
  • September 2021: Announcement of winners

Selection process and criteria

A selection panel made up of City staff will review proposals based on the following criteria.

Request for proposals:

Qualifications and experience (20%)

  • Artist has proven they have the knowledge and skills required to design, fabricate and deliver the awards on time and on budget

Quality of proposal (45%)

  • Award proposal has artistic merit
  • Award proposal is innovative and unique
  • Award proposal is inspirational, celebratory and representative of Guelph’s vitality

Budget (15%)

  • Budget is realistic and achievable

Quality of support materials (20%)

  • Support materials show examples of artistic excellence and creativity

Application process

Request for Proposals Submission Deadline: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

All submissions should be formatted as a single PDF, sent electronically to [email protected] and contain the following, corresponding to the outline below:

  1. Application form: Found on the last page of the Call to Artists
  2. Award proposal (3-page maximum): Outline your inspiration and intent for the award; note actual size, materials to be used, and an explanation as to how the artist plans to integrate credentials. The successful applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to produce the quantity required within the time frame and budget indicated. All submissions should include a rough sketch of the proposed design.
  3. Budget:  Artists will be required to prepare a budget for the proposed project. The maximum total budget, per award, including all materials, production fees, and taxes should be less than $250.
  4. Artist resume: (3-page maximum)
  5. Support materials: Include up to five samples of your artistic works that speak to your ability to create an award for this Call to Artists. Label materials with artist’s name, title and description of work, date created, medium(s), budget (if applicable), and dimensions for all support materials.

Please include only the items listed above. Additional materials will not be presented to the selection panel. Submissions will not be returned and late or incomplete proposals will not be considered.

General provisions

Artist Agreement: The successful artist will enter into an agreement with the City of Guelph. Upon notification of being awarded the project, the successful artist will have thirty days to finalize, complete and return the agreement.

Conflict of Interest: Applicants must disclose any potential conflicts of interest in their submission, including any that may involve City employees, or Council members.

Reserved Rights: The City of Guelph is not obliged to accept any of the submissions and reserves the right to not recommend any proposal or finalist, or to terminate or re-advertise the project.

For more information

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact:

Jen Rafter, Cultural Program and Event Coordinator
Culture, Tourism and Community Investment, Public Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2629
[email protected]