Call for Artists! Public Art in Gowanus

Presented by Arts Gowanus and the Old Stone House & Washington Park

Sponsored by New York City Councilmember Brad Lander


New York City Councilmember Brad Lander

New York City Councilmember Brad Lander

This initiative will present several eleven-month-long public art installations in the Gowanus neighborhood. It is funded by a $35,000 grant from New York City Councilmember Brad Lander awarded in connection with “Bridging Gowanus,” a comprehensive community planning framework that highlights the importance of arts and culture in the Gowanus neighborhood.

Known for its industrial past and polluted canal, Gowanus is now home to hundreds of artists and creative businesses.  This project aims to create new platforms for public art and new opportunities for the artists, while at the same time showcasing what makes Gowanus “Gowanus”: the history, the Canal, the culture of creativity and the diversity of the community.

Logo.OldStoneHouse.OSH_rgb_logo_no_tagIn addition to artistic merit and feasibility, the selection process will consider how the proposed project connects with the Gowanus community, reflects the history of the neighborhood, and/or reinforces a sense of place and identity.

Artists are encouraged to submit proposals for either new projects or existing work.  Projects in all media are welcome (however, see exhibition specifications below).  Artists and artist collaboratives may propose projects.  Work may be site specific, and/or substantively conceptual and community engaged.

AGlogo03_newBetween three and five installations will be selected, the final number will depend on the budgets of the proposals.  All selected projects must be ready to be installed during June 2015.


City Councilmember Brad Lander (District 39) is committed to the Gowanus as a cultural community.  Together with a group of local elected officials, he convened “Bridging Gowanus,” a community planning process with the goal of developing a comprehensive framework for the infrastructure and land use regulations needed for a safe, vibrant, and sustainable Gowanus.

Arts Gowanus supports artists and artmaking, builds bridges between arts and the community, and works to ensure that the Gowanus neighborhood continues to nurture artists and creativity.

The Old Stone House serves the community with extensive education and cultural events programming.

Please design your proposal for one of the following sites:

A.  The concrete plazas on either side of the Carroll Street Bridge.  This includes one on the East side of the bridge (the Park Slope side) and one on the West side (Carroll Gardens side), each approximately 75 square feet.  Proposals could be for one or both of these areas.  NOTE: This site is for artwork placed on the concrete plazas bound by the railing, the sidewalk, and the corrugated tin walls, NOT the bridge itself. Work affixed to the bridge itself will not be considered.

B.  Ennis Playground:

C.  The Canal Front Park at Whole Foods Market

D.  Other publicly accessible sites in the Gowanus neighborhood, on either side of the canal, where artists have obtained the written permission from the owner, will be considered.


Work must be proposed for specific locations and will be produced and displayed in specific locations.

Work will be exhibited outdoors for up to 11 months, from summer 2015 until summer 2016.  Three dimensional work must be in keeping with Parks Department specifications for public art:

Be aware that outdoor projects are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions, theft and/or vandalism.

Artists will be selected by a panel of community members and public art professionals:

Caron Atlas, Director, Arts & Democracy Project
Paul Basile, President, The Gowanus Alliance
Emily Colasacco, Director, Urban Art/Summer Streets, NYC Department of Transportation
Jennifer Lanzas, Public Art Coordinator, NYC Department of Parks
Phil Terry, Gowanus Resident

Proposals will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit of proposal and work samples, including previous artistic record.
  • Feasibility of installation at specific sites, and availability of funding.
  • Relevance of proposed project to the identity of the Gowanus community. As background, please try to attend the meeting of Community Leaders on January 29 (see below in the Timeline) and read over the list of core values identified by community members during the Bridging Gowanus community planning process, found at
  • Individual artists, artist teams, performance artists, architects, designers, and community-based organizations are encouraged to apply. We are looking for a broad representation of artists and cultural groups. DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS:  MARCH 2, 2015.   WORK MUST BE FABRICATED/COMPLETED AND READY FOR INSTALLATION BY JUNE 30, 2015.

NOTE: Before installation, work will be approved for safety and structural soundness by the engineering departments at the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation.


Monday, January 26:  “Call for Artists” announced.

Monday, February 9:  Community Meeting, Old Stone House, 7:00 – 9:00pm.

Artists are invited to join a panel of community leaders to talk about Gowanus, its history, its future, what makes Gowanus special today. While this meeting is not required, we encourage applicants to take the opportunity to hear from community members and use the conversations as inspiration for their artwork.

Monday, March 2:  PROPOSALS DUE

March 30: Selected projects will be announced by March 30, 2015.


DEADLINE: Monday, March 2, 2015, 5:00pm

All proposals must be submitted electronically to by March 2, 2015, at 5pm.

  • Artist Resume (as a word or pdf file) Please make sure your resume includes the following information: Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website or link to information about your work (if available)
  • 1-paragraph artist Statement/bio (Word or PDF file). Please include information about any affiliation with the Gowanus neighborhood.
  • Proposal (Word or PDF file). Please be brief and include the following:
    • Project description (250 words max): Describe your project.  Include how your project will reflect Gowanus and how it might engage the community.
    • Installation plan/logistics (250 words max): Please describe the details for installing your work, including size, materials, and any special needs or considerations.
    • Detailed budget including artist fee, materials, fabrication, transportation, and all other costs for the production and installation of this work.
  • 4-8 images relating to your proposed project (proposal sketches, site layout, etc.), including at least 2 samples of past work. Images should be submitted as JPEGs, approx. 600 X 800px, resolution 72 dpi, and with file names that correspond to viewing order (ex: Lastname_Firstname_01).
  • A corresponding image script labeling each image with image number, title, dimensions, medium, year and any relevant information about the work.


Contact us:

Kim Maier, Executive Director, Old Stone House & Washington Park,

Abby Subak, Executive Director, Arts Gowanus,, 347-446-8254

[Please do not contact the staff at Whole Foods Market; they will not be able to answer your questions.]

Here is a printable version of this Call for Artists:  CallforArtists2015_01_26.docx

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