Request for Qualifications VAN AKEN DISTRICT PUBLIC REALM SIGNATURE ART Deadline: Monday, June 6, 2022, at 5pm EDT

The City of Shaker Heights is pleased to announce a Request for Qualifications for Phase 1: Artist Idea Generation, from experienced visual artists interested in creating a signature artwork that will be integrated with the City’s Van Aken District Public Realm design. The public realm will provide amenities, public art, and connections between the RTA bus and rail service, the Van Aken District, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Phase 1: Artist idea generation: Current phase

Phase 2: Artist Idea Development: Future phase

Phase 3: Artwork fabrication: Future phase

Just eight miles from downtown Cleveland, Shaker Heights is a walkable, cosmopolitan, and distinctive suburb. It has a national reputation for excellent schools, extraordinary natural beauty, architecturally exquisite homes, and superior city services. Originally incorporated as Shaker Village in 1912, Shaker Heights was designed as a primarily residential Garden City suburb. See Exhibit A on pdf document at bottom of page.

The 2020 Van Aken District Public Realm Plan was guided by a team made up of Shaker Heights Planning staff, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) staff, and a representative of the owners of the Van Aken District. The plan divided the public realm area into seven areas and developed recommendations for enhancements that improve walkability and connectivity and effectively integrate the transit station within the Van Aken District. See Exhibits B&C on pdf document at bottom of page.

The City is in the process of contracting with MKSK to design and engineer areas 1A, 3A, and 4. See Exhibit D on pdf document at bottom of page.

Additional relevant planning documents are linked below

The City of Shaker Heights is proud of the investments that have been made in and around the Van Aken District to create a downtown space for residents and visitors to enjoy. The District opened for business in 2018 and has become a beloved new downtown in Shaker Heights that brings together the best of what our community has to offer.

Located at the eastern end of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) Blue Line, Van Aken District is fully accessible to regional residents via public transportation. [See Exhibit A] In 2020, the City of Shaker Heights, RTA, and Van Aken District’s owner, RMS, collaborated to create the Van Aken District Public Realm Plan, a unified vision for an attractive, walkable, amenity-filled transit area. This plan lays the groundwork for a high-quality waiting environment with adequate shelter and facilities, attractive and functional pedestrian and bicycle amenities, plaza areas, and a strong connection to the adjacent commercial district and neighborhoods. Simultaneously, RTA has created a design for relocated rail lines and a new comfort station [See Exhibit E]. A key outcome of these efforts was to develop public art as a key component of the overall design that celebrates the sense of arrival within the district from the RTA line, draws people to the area, and helps connect the station area to the Van Aken District.

This project is open to all artists eighteen and over. Given the complexity of the site and stakeholders involved, previous public art experience is preferred.

The commissioned artist must demonstrate a willingness to listen and respond to community members during a public outreach process. Additionally, the artist will collaborate throughout the design process with the landscape architecture team doing design work in the area (MKSK), the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), the City of Shaker Heights, the City’s Public Art Task Force (PATF) and RMS, the owners of the Van Aken District. The final artwork will respond to and include information gathered during collaboration and engagement.

Interested artists should submit:

  • A Statement of Interest that demonstrates their capacity for this project and why they see this opportunity as a good fit for them. The most successful statements will also provide insight into the artist’s ideas and experience for outreach and engagement and show an ability for meaningful collaboration between a variety of public and private partners.
  • A portfolio that shows up to ten (10) past completed works. Artists who have completed public art projects should show images of their work installed and with surrounding context. Annotations that include budget and commissioning agency are also encouraged.
  • A resume or CV.
  • Up to two (2) links to videos or other digital media that will allow the selection committee to best understand the artist’s work, style, and process.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): Please describe what DEI data, research, third-party consultants, resources, tools, and practices you use including details as to how they are incorporated into your business practices. If possible, describe what metrics (internal and/or external) you will use to measure your progress in incorporating DEI.

Shaker Heights has contracted with LAND studio to engage artists during this phase of the project.

Materials must be received by David Wilson at LAND studio, by Monday, June 6, 2022, at 5pm EDT. Electronic submissions are encouraged.

Shaker City Planning staff and representatives from RTA and RMS will narrow the list of portfolios. Portfolios will be reviewed by the PATF at their June 21 meeting. After that, we anticipate a three-phased design approach:

Phase 1: Artist Idea Generation
Up to four (4) artists will be invited for a virtual interview with the City of Shaker Heights’ Public Art Task Force. The Public Art Task Force (PATF) will make a recommendation to the City of Shaker Heights for the artist they are most interested in commissioning for this project.

The PATF may recommend that one or more artists create a conceptual design for which the artist will enter into a design-only contract for $3,000. This will include meetings with PATF, neighbors and project partners, a design charrette or similar process, where three to four sketch-level ideas will be generated. Upon acceptance of the conceptual design, the artist may be invited to proceed into Phase 2.

A travel stipend of up to $1500 will be made available to the chosen artist, as needed.

Phase 2: Design Development
A design development contract may be executed in an amount not to exceed $15,000.

Phase 3: Fabrication
An up to $75,000 fabrication contract is budgeted.

Upon selection and contracting for the project, the anticipated schedule is:

Summer 2022 - Site visit, meet with City staff, MKSK, RTA, RMS, residents and other stakeholders, understand project goals and context

Fall 2022 - Develop three (3) to four (4) sketch-level project ideas to share with Planning Staff from the City of Shaker Heights, MKSK, RMS, RTA, PATF, and others

Fall-Winter 2022 - Design development on selected direction, including fabricator identification, engineering, site location, etc.

Spring 2023 - Design approvals, site prep, and budget refinement

Summer 2023-24 - Project installation (to be coordinated with Public Realm improvements construction schedule).

The City of Shaker Heights reserves the right to not select any artists, to reissue this RFQ or otherwise change this process, and to dismiss inconsistencies in submissions for any reason at all.




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