Metro Nashville Arts Commission or Metro Arts is the arts and cultural division the city of Nashville, Tennessee. We believe that all Nashvillians should be able to participate in a creative life and that arts drive a more vibrant and equitable community.

National Call to Artists:
Southeast Davidson Regional Park (Metro Parks)

Full Call to Artist Document (Includes Background Information and Site Renderings)

Metro Nashville Arts Commission is issuing a national Call to Artists for a public artist to be a part of the design team for Metro Parks’ Southeast Regional Park.  The project is being developed on a 600 acre property in Southeast Davidson County, which is economically and culturally diverse and has the largest percentage of new Americans in the entire county.  The project creates a distinctive opportunity to create a regional park designed specifically as a welcoming and inclusive space for all Nashvillians. With a budget of $250,000, the selected artist (or artist team) will collaborate with the Park’s design team on the design of the Park. The artist will participate in public meetings and engagement (minimum of three meetings) with residents and stakeholders to inform the design of the park and public art for the park. Following the engagement process, the selected artist will be expected to design, fabricate and install at least one permanent public artwork, either free-standing or integrated into the infrastructure of Phase I of the Park. The selected artist is also expected to serve a mentorship role to a local artist interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in public art.

All submissions of qualifications must be submitted by: February 5, 2018 (by midnight/11:59 p.m.).

Artist Eligibility

Submissions will be accepted from professional artists working or living in the United States; professional artists as defined by the Public Art Guidelines:

Professional artist**. An artist of least 18 years of age with the following qualifications:

  1. at least two years of visual art exhibition history, or
  2. at least two years of commissioned visual or public art.

Architects, landscape architects and other design professionals are not considered professional artists under this definition, unless they meet the criteria. Exhibitions, commissions or public art created during or as part of an artist’s undergraduate education shall not count towards these criteria.

Artist team.

1. Two or more professional artists working collaboratively on a public art project.

2. A collaborative team led by a professional artist.*

*Team may include design professionals or consultants.

**These qualifications must be demonstrated in submitted artist resume**

Artists with conflicts of interest as outlined in the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Public Art Guidelines are ineligible for public art commissions or projects. Artists may reference section VII of the Public Art Guidelines online at


The project budget allocates up to $250,000 for community engagement processes, work done in collaboration with the project design team, development of permanent public artwork for Metro Parks’ Southeast Park, and compensation for selected artist’s mentorship role. (The mentee artist will be compensated from a separate budget.) This figure represents the total artist’s budget, and includes artist’s fees for community engagement and design development, overhead and operating costs, fabrication costs, all project-related travel, installation costs, insurance, contingency and any other project-related costs the artist may incur.

Project Description

The selected artist will participate on the Park’s design team and collaborate with the design process for the Park. Artists will be asked to make technical recommendations during the design process for public art opportunities within the Park. The selected artist will also design, fabricate and install at least one permanent public artwork for Phase I of the Park. During the course of the design and community engagement process, the artist may discover and make technical recommendations for future public art in subsequent phases of the Park.

Mentorship Role: Throughout the project, the selected artist will work with a local, associate artist as part of a mentorship initiative recommended in the Metro Arts Public Art Community Investment Plan. The goal of the mentorship initiative is to provide opportunities for artists who are new to the field of public art to gain technical and administrative experience needed to compete within the field of public art locally, regionally and nationally.

Metro Arts will work with the selected artist to identify a local, emerging public artist and establish a scope of work for that artist.  The responsibilities of the associate artist will be determined by the selected, lead artist and may include attending local planning and community meetings; project documentation; conducting research regarding the local community, materials, design and building codes; and other duties that relate to the community engagement, design, fabrication and installation of the artwork.   

Community Outreach

The lead artist or artist team will be expected to attend a minimum of three (3) community meetings and/or public engagements in Nashville near the project site. Meetings and engagements will be promoted and coordinated by Metro Parks and Metro Arts.  The lead artist is encouraged to contribute their own research approaches to help identify assets and needs in the community in collaboration with the design team.

Project Goals & Vision

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive space for all Nashvillians.
  • Involve the diverse, international community in the development of this Park.
  • Create welcoming community spaces that invite and exalt the natural setting.
  • Ensure public artwork is integrated into the design of the park.
  • Create public art for the Park and make recommendations for future public art in this Park.

Metro Public Art Goals

  • Create opportunities for deeper cultural and civic participation. Drive the support and development of vibrant, creative neighborhoods.
  • Bring creativity to planning processes by ensuring artists participate in or lead planning teams.
  • Strengthen the public art ecosystem in Nashville.
  • Prioritize projects in areas that are underserved with public art.
  • Commission public art at park and recreation facilities; strengthen their role as welcoming and functional places for gathering.
  • Launch a public artist mentorship program that provides relevant experience for emerging local public artists.

Selection Process

That selection committee is proposed by Metro Arts staff for the project and recommended to the the Public Art Committee (PAC) and the Metro Arts Commission for review and approval.

The selection committee for this project will have between five and nine members including at least one visual artist, and may also include a design professional, a project architect/landscape architect, community representatives and one member representing the site sponsor. The chairperson of the selection committee will be the Public Art Committee chair or designee, serving as an ex-officio, non-voting committee member. The Metro Purchasing Agent will assign a Contract Specialist to the project who will serve as a non-voting advisory member of the selection committee and is charged with the responsibility of monitoring the Procurement process.


The selection panel will conduct an online review of all submissions. Following the initial online review, the panelists will meet in person to review artist submissions and determine a list of semi-finalists. The selection panel will recommend a list of semi-finalists to the Public Art Committee for review and approval. The semi-finalists will be invited to join the selection panel for either an in person or video interview. Following the interviews and further discussion, the selection panel will recommend the final artist for approval to the Public Art Committee and Arts Commission.

Selection Criteria

Artists will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • artistic merit;
  • artist’s ability to engage with, connect to and understand the community for which public artwork is intended;
  • a deep understanding of public art planning, design, construction and community engagement processes;
  • evidence of experience successfully working in a collaborative spirit on large-scale public projects; evidence of ability to be accountable to project partners, schedules and budgets.

Project Timeline

The following projected timetable should be used as a working guide for planning purposes. Metro reserves the right to adjust this timetable as required during the course of this Call to Artists process.



Call to Artists Opens

January 5

Call to Artists Deadline

February 8

Selection of Semi-Finalists

February 9-12

Semi-Finalists presented to PAC for approval

February 13

Interviews & Final Artist Selection

February 26 – March 9

Final Artist presented to PAC for approval

Early March

Commission Review

March 15

Artist Contract Awarded


Contract Negotiations/Vendor Registration


Sources for Additional Information

Southeast Davidson Regional Park Masterplan Document


Direct all questions related to this Call to Artists to: with Southeast Park in the subject line or (615) 862-6739.  Questions will be taken through Friday, February 2 at 4 p.m.

Metro Nashville is interested in supporting artistic and cultural activation throughout the city.

Metro allows artists or organizations who are working with a professional artist(s) to install artworks in the Metro Right of Way. Artworks, with prior approval and appropriate agreement, may include signal box covers, sidewalks, retaining walls, or other locations deemed appropriate by Metro.

An agreement, appropriate permits and final artwork design must be approved in writing before installation begins. Metro shall also have the final determination on where artwork can be located.

Artwork Criteria

Artworks in right-of-way will not be approved, if the artwork design violates any of the following:

  • Artwork is not allowed to contain inappropriate or offensive images or words.
  • Artworks that convey messages appearing to advertise or promote a commercial entity (corporation or for-profit business) will not be accepted.
  • If the artwork promotes an organization or non-profit entity, a sign permit may be required.
  • Images that create a driver distraction or could be confused with traffic control devices will not be accepted.

In addition to the Artwork in the right-of-way agreement, applicants will be required to obtain a permit for any activity occurring in the right-of-way. This may include temporary sidewalk or traffic lane closures.

Physical structures (sculptures or objects) planned to be located in the right-of-way will require an encroachment permit. Encroachment permits must be approved by the Metropolitan Council. An artwork with a below ground foundation also requires an excavation permit.

Details and requirements related to permits. (General Liability insurance is a requirement of the ROW permit)

Applicant must notify, in writing, any abutting property owners (street, road, alley or right-of-way or fee owner of easement) and the district member of council representing the area of such artwork before Metro approval and agreement may be executed. Documentation of such communications may be required.

Installation, Safety and Maintenance Requirements

  • By approval of an Artwork in the Right of Way, Metro does not accept ownership of said artwork nor any responsibility for future maintenance. Any on-site liability of the artwork or installation of artwork is assumed by the applicant/artist.
  • No artwork can obstruct or cause American with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in the right-of-way.
  • Any art placed on a sidewalk must be made of an anti-skid resistant material. The material must comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
  • All artwork materials used should be designed for use on the particular surface to be painted (or adhered to). Metro reserves the right to review and approve any materials.
  • The applicant shall clean and prime surfaces prior to the application of materials unless this requirement is waived in the agreement.
  • Paint and other materials shall be applied according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Vinyl wraps must be professionally installed.
  • Ventilation channels on utility boxes shall not be covered with paint or other materials.
  • Anti-graffiti coatings are encouraged. Removal of graffiti often results in the removal of the anti-graffiti coating as well so it may need to be reapplied.
  • If artwork is tagged with graffiti or damaged within the time period approved in the Artwork in Right of Way agreement, Metro will contact the applicant to repair. The applicant has 3 days from notification to abate graffiti and 30 days from notification to repair any other damage. If graffiti is not removed within 3 days, Metro reserves the right to paint over the portion of the artwork where the graffiti is located.
  • Metro reserves the right to remove or cover any artwork if it is determined to be a safety hazard, is too large, interferes with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, creates a maintenance problem, interferes with public service or other activities in adjacent areas or is otherwise inappropriate for the space.
  • If the Metro-owned property including utility boxes, retaining walls, sidewalk, etc. needs to be repaired or replaced -in part or whole – while the artwork is in place, there is no obligation on the part of Metro to replace, repair or reinstall the artwork. However, the applicant will be given notice so that the artwork can be removed or relocated – should that be possible.


  1. Applicant/artist submits application form, plus attachments to Metro Arts.
  2. Metro Arts reviews in collaboration with Metro Public Works.
  3. Both teams make a joint recommendation for approval or disapproval.
  4. If approved, applicant/artist to install artwork must submit signed agreement form and obtain any other required permits.

Grant Review Panelist: Metro Arts seeks volunteers to serve as grant application reviewers. No experience required. We provide sufficient orientation so all panelists may serve confidently. Panelists review all submitted application materials online, attend required orientation and review meetings, and score each grant application. Scores are averaged and used to help Metro Arts determine grant awards.

Public Art Selection Panelist: A public art Selection Panel is comprised of artists, community and business representatives, architects, landscape architects and other design professionals and Metro representatives. These panels review submissions for public art projects and makes recommendations to the Public Art Committee.

Metro Arts strives to form selection panels that are diverse and appropriate to the specific project or program. Though voluntary, the demographic data and resume upload included in this form will assist Metro Arts in accomplishing this goal.

Metro Arts looks for individuals who are thoughtful, willing to listen to others' opinions and are able to represent a specific viewpoint that is relevant to the public art project. Self nominations are welcome.

Panelist Eligibility Criteria:

Every Metro Arts panelist must work or live in Davidson County, have a keen interest in the arts (as an artist, participant, audience member, donor, educator, etc.), and must not be an employee of Metro government (including Metro Nashville Public Schools) or any applicant organization. All panelists must declare real or perceived conflicts of interests in advance.

When Metro Arts assembles a review panel, we:

1.    seek to achieve diversity among panelists in age, race/cultural identity, council district residency, physical abilities, personal and professional interests, expertise, etc.;

2.    trust all panelists to honestly declare all applicant-related real or perceived conflicts as soon as they become aware that a conflict exists;

3.    expect all panelists to take the review process seriously and honor their commitment to serve as instructed;

4.    recruit panel members who truly care about the arts in our community, as non-artists or artists.

Please understand that not all recommendations will be used.

Thank you!

Metro recently adopted an ordinance and guidelines for the purpose of evaluating potential donated artworks. This policy plans for the fact that there are limited suitable sites on public property for placement of donated artworks and limited public funds for maintenance and conservation of donated artworks. Each artwork will be evaluated by the Public Art Committee and the Metro Arts Commission in addition to the Metro Department accepting the donation.

In order for Metro to evaluate donations, donors are required to provide information about the artwork donation via Submittable. You may also download the donor checklist/worksheet to assist in the process of gathering information about your artwork.

***PLEASE NOTE** Donations of artwork that require the city to pay for costs such as installation, transportation, site preparation or repair are not encouraged. Artwork requiring high or excessive maintenance may be declined.

Ordinance No. BL2015-1277 "D. Unless the metropolitan council has appropriated funding specifically for the installation and maintenance costs for the donated artwork, a donor’s proposal shall include funding adequate to cover all costs for the design, fabrication, insurance, transportation, storage, installation, and maintenance of the proposed artwork for a period of ten years from the date of acceptance, plus contingency funds for reasonable unforeseen circumstances."

THRIVE is a micro-funding program designed to build, strengthen, and cultivate communities in Nashville and Davidson County by supporting artist led projects that encourage artistic and cultural experiences, community investment, and neighborhood transformation.

Note: Application may be saved and edited. Staff will not be able to read you applications until submitted. Staff can re-open applications for editing.

Questions or requests for accommodations? Please contact

Applicants must read the FY18 Funding Guidelines before submitting an application for a project.


•             September 30, 2017

•             November 30, 2017

•             February 28, 2018

THRIVE Proposal Application Requirements:

·         In-person, phone or webinar consultation with staff

·         Completed Online Application

Required Attachments

·         Artist resume or curriculum vitae demonstrating artistic experience of at least two years of exhibition, performance or professional history.

·         Artwork or artistic samples

·         Two letters of recommendation

·         Completed budget form 

·         Project Timeline

·         Completed Metro Arts Vendor Form  *This form requires a social security number or federal tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

·         If requesting funds in the category of Public Arts, a completed Public Artwork Information Form. (url link)


Funding Categories

•                     Community Art Sharing and Celebration ($3,000): A Community Art Sharing and Celebration project will support artist fees for projects that strategically shape the physical, social character and celebrate our Nashville neighborhoods through the sharing of an artistic practice. In this category, the community informs the artist’s vision for the work. A competitive application will include an intention of social impact beyond a traditional audience experience.

•                     Community Co-design & Collaboration ($4,000): A Community Co-design & Collaboration project will focus on collaboration with the community by actively engaging participants in the art-making process. These projects must involve a strong, committed partnership between the artist and a specific group, organization or neighborhood. The needs of the partner and the community should determine the vision for the artwork. The artwork should be largely process-based. In this funding category, the public is required to participate in the physical creation and/or design of the artwork.

•                     Public Art ($8000): Public Art is a new category introduced to THRIVE in fiscal year FY18. This category supports the creation of temporary and permanent public artworks in a public space. A competitive application in this category will exhibit an intention of social impact beyond a traditional audience experience and/or show strong committed partnerships between the artist and a specific group, organization, or neighborhood. The needs of the partner and the community should determine the vision of the artwork. The artwork should be largely process based and the community is required to participate in the physical creation and/ or design of the artwork in this category. This funding category requires the approval of the Metro Art Commission’s Public Art Committee in addition to the Metro Art Commission.


•                     Individual artists, businesses and organizations that reside or conduct programming in Davidson County are eligible to apply. Individuals requesting or receiving funds must be at least 18 years of age.

•                     Organizations that receive funding from any grant administered by Metro Arts in the same fiscal year are not eligible to apply for THRIVE funds.

•                     Applicants (and immediate family members) cannot serve as a member of the Metro Arts Board of Commissioners, nor can they be employed by the Metro Nashville Davidson County Government or Metro Nashville Public Schools.

•                     For the purposes of the THRIVE program, artists are defined as individuals who practice in the unique creation and public display or performance of visual arts, craft, sound and performance art, film and television (including production), theatre, dance, music or literary arts and can demonstrate at least two years of exhibition, performance or professional history.