The Wilson Street Public Art Project


The City of Guelph invites artists and artist teams with public art experience to submit their credentials, examples of prior experience and a preliminary vision for the development and execution of a permanent, outdoor art installation as a part of the Wilson Street Reconstruction project.

This Call to Artists follows a two-stage selection process. The first stage is a Request for Pre-Qualifications (RFPQ). Design concepts are not required at this time.

The all-inclusive budget for this project is $90,000 Canadian.

The artwork will be installed at the corner of Wilson Street and Gordon Street.

Background and design parameters

This art project is a unique opportunity to raise the profile of an important intersection in the heart of the city of Guelph.

Artworks in a variety of media and installation methods will be considered. Safety, durability, maintenance requirements, vandalism resistance and exposure to sunlight and variations in weather conditions must be considered due to the public nature and usage of the site.

Artist(s) should have experience creating artworks for public spaces, be able to work within the parameters of the site and have a history of working within set budgets and timelines.

The artwork in this space should celebrate community spirit and establish a sense of arrival and a signature presence. The design of the artwork should be free-standing and should take into account the neighbourhood’s identity and the cultural, historical and natural traits of the site.

The total, all-inclusive project budget for this artwork commission is $90,000 and includes, but is not limited to, all costs associated with the creation and implementation of the public art project. This commission is funded through the City’s Public Art Reserve Fund which was established in 2011 with the purpose of funding the acquisition and maintenance of public art.


The anticipated schedule for selection of an artist or artist team and completion of the project is outlined below. The City reserves the right to modify these dates as required.

  • Request For Pre-Qualifications starts: December 18, 2017
  • Request For Pre-Qualifications submission deadline: January 29, 2018
  • Invitation to short-listed artists for further designs: February 9, 2018
  • Final art concept deadline: April 6, 2018
  • Short-listed artist interviews and presentations with selection committee: April 13, 2018. (All applicants are asked to reserve this date in their calendars)
  • Final selection of the art piece: May, 2018
  • Design development/production/fabrication: May 2018-May 2019
  • Installation/completion (in conjunction with capital project timelines): May 2019

Selection process

This is a two-stage commissioned art project:

  1. Request for Pre-Qualifications (RFPQ) where artists (individuals or teams) submit their resume and references, digital images of past works, and a letter that outlines their preliminary vision for the project by January 29. Three finalists will be chosen by the selection committee.
  2. Each of the three finalists will receive a $1,500 honorarium to develop their final concepts followed by an interview and presentation opportunity.

All applications submitted under the RFPQ process will be reviewed by a specially-convened, independent selection committee that includes five representatives:

  • Duncan Bates – Senior Designer (Diamond Schmitt Architects)
  • Chelsea Brant – Curatorial Assistant at the Art Gallery of Guelph and Programming and Outreach Assistant at Musagetes
  • Robert Enright – Research Professor in Art Theory and Criticism, University of Guelph, and Senior Contributing Editor, Border Crossings
  • Ted Fullerton – Artist, Sculptor
  • Sean Kelly – Director of the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design & Rural Development

The committee will recommend a finalist to the City’s Council-appointed Public Art Advisory Committee who will then pass a motion in favour of or against awarding the project.

Entry procedure

The City of Guelph will only accept electronic bid submissions submitted online through the City’s Bid Opportunities website.

The responsibility is on the artist to create a Bidding System Vendor account on our website and register as a Plan Taker for the bid opportunity.

Artists are able to download a preview of the bid documents (Call to Artists, RFPQ Terms of Reference) without registering as a Plan Taker. Those artists wishing to submit a bid will need to register as a Plan Taker and will be subject to a one-time fee per bid opportunity of $45 or an annual subscription of $165 for unlimited submissions to all organizations in the network. For detailed instructions please refer to the Vendor User Guide.

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For more information

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