Call to Mural Artists – Request for Qualifications

The City of Ottawa invites mural artists to submit qualifications for an opportunity to receive one of two underpass mural commissions. In consultation and collaboration with the community, the successful mural artist/artist team will design and paint a mural which reflects the surrounding area encompassing the goal of creating dynamic gateways in our city's neighbourhoods. These underpasses frame the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Submission Deadline: Monday, June 6, 2016 at 4pm

Budget: $20,000 each location

Background and Vision of Murals on Underpasses Project

This opportunity was developed as a means of beautifying the city's underpasses and simultaneously developing creative gateways which intersect the city's vibrant communities while reflecting the local community. Collaboration and consultation with community groups, associations, and local businesses are an integral part of the overall vision.

The City of Ottawa is pleased to invite mural artists and mural artist teams to submit qualifications for an opportunity to receive one of two commissions for the Murals on Underpasses Project. The selected mural artist(s) will be responsible for the implementation of a mural commission to be painted on one of the two identified underpass walls. The commission is for an original artwork or design. Applicants can submit for one or both walls, but will only be eligible to receive a maximum of one commission.


• This opportunity is open to professional murals artists or mural artist teams.
• The mural artist or mural artist team lead must live within a 150-km radius of the City of Ottawa.
• The mural artist or mural artist team lead must be a Canadian citizen or have landed immigrant status.


The artists will have access to begin painting in early August 2016 with a deadline of completion no later than September 23, 2016. This schedule includes the successful completion and implementation of the Community Engagement Plan, City of Ottawa Public Works/National Capital Commission/Canadian Heritage review of the final concept design, and painting of the mural.

Mural Locations

1. Queen Elizabeth Dr under Laurier Ave Underpass (west wall)
Dimensions: 9'h x 94'w (up to maximum 9' from the ground level)
This underpass is located where Laurier Ave intersects above Queen Elizabeth Drive. The mural will be installed only on the west wall of the underpass.

2. Colonel By Drive under Laurier Ave Underpass (east wall)
Mural Dimensions: 9' x 84.5 'w (up to maximum 8' from the ground level)
This underpass is located where Laurier Ave intersects above Colonel By Drive. The mural will be installed only on the east wall of the underpass up to, not including, the vents.

Design Requirements for the Murals on Underpasses Project

Artwork or design must draw from the vision of the Murals on Underpasses Project and highlight the symbolic and cultural importance of the Rideau Canal, while demonstrating contemporary artistic excellence. This commission includes an opportunity for community engagement / consultation, dialogue, and collaboration of the artistic concept and/or creation of the artwork with the surrounding community.

Completed works of art will:

  • Demonstrate artistic excellence
  • Reflect the community
  • Celebrate the history of the Rideau Canal in this area
  • Meet National Capital Commission and Canadian Heritage requirements (below)
  • Meet City of Ottawa by-laws (below)
  • Be safe for the public
  • Be durable and easily maintained

The applicant must provide a detailed strategy on how they intend to facilitate and implement this plan. Preliminary research is encouraged.

Additional information on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site:

The Rideau Canal was constructed for strategic military purposes to help Great Britain defend the colony of Canada during a time when the United States of America vied for control of the region.

The Canal remains the best preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America. Construction of the Canal was a catalyst for development around which the Capital grew.

The Canal today is a defining element of Canada's Capital. The arrival of the railroad in Ottawa in the early 19th century supplanted the Canal's role as a commercial waterway however it was always a focus for winter leisure activities.
Canada's Capital grew around the Rideau Canal. Until the mid-twentieth century, the Rideau Canal was predominantly used for commercial and industrial activities. Over time, the Rideau Canal was transformed into one of the country's primary recreational corridors.

Lansdowne Park has been a fixture along the Canal since the 1860s. It has been the staging site for celebrations, military training, sporting events and scientific innovations.

The Rideau Canal demonstrates the use of European slackwater technology in North America on a large scale and Dows Lake is an example of this technology in the heart of Canada's Capital.

The Central Experimental Farm is a living symbol in the heart of the nation's capital, of the central role of agriculture in shaping the country. Its location next to the Rideau Canal was important at the time of its founding in 1886 but its modern reach can be measured by the substantial contributions to the development of Canadian agriculture through scientific research, experimentation and practical verification.

The Rideau Canal system stretches over 202 kilometres between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River. It was a vital corridor for thousands of immigrants moving to settle in western Canada, for the transportation of commercial goods and now is a jewel in Canada's Capital.

National Capital Commission, Canadian Heritage and City of Ottawa Requirements

  • The mural cannot contain any advertising
  • Concept must be suitable for a public of all ages
  • Concept must make a nod to the significance of the Rideau Canal in this area
  • Permanent scaffolding is not permitted due to high volumes of traffic and accessibility considerations
  • Artists are responsible for all materials and equipment on site
  • Artists must have $2 MIL commercial liability insurance for the project
  • Artists will be required to maintain a clean and safe working environment at all times.
  • Mural must be completed with a high quality primer (e.g. Zinsser Bull Eye 1-2-3 or Durex Brush
  • Coat or approved equivalent). Please note the City of Ottawa will clean the wall prior to mural installation.

Lighting Information

• Underpass roadway lighting at Laurier bridge shining outwards towards both the abutment walls
• 4 X 70W Metal Halide Fixtures on both Colonel By and Queen Elizabeth sides
• Initial light output equals 5500 lumens per fixture
• White light and high CRI >= 70
• Photocell controlled and on at dusk, off at dawn


The total budget for each commission is $20,000 (plus HST if applicable). The commission budget must include all costs required to design, fabricate and install the project as well as any workshop sessions, events and/or meetings required to fulfill the community engagement component of this call. Please consider any technical requirements such as a scissor lift (if required) and additional lighting, and insurance.

Request for Qualifications Submission Requirements

A complete submission must include the support material listed below. Support material must be saved on CD or DVD in a recognized file format. All other file formats will not be accepted. Please write your name and contact information on the disc. Paper documents are not required.
Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

1. Concept outline
An outline of the proposed concept in no more than 500 words in DOC, DOCX or PDF file format. Indicate your approach to art-making, stating how you will interpret vision of the Murals on Underpasses Project, how you will meet the design requirements, which materials and equipment will be used and how the work would be installed/painted.

2. Concept outline synopsis
A concise synopsis of your concept outline in no more than 100 words in DOC, DOCX or PDF file format. Your synopsis will be referred to during deliberations as a quick reference for the peer assessment committee. Your synopsis should include the most pertinent, factual and memorable information concerning your concept outline and must include the following: conceptual theme, proposed material and scale, and the basic Community Engagement Plan (see next).

3. Community Consultation and Engagement Plan
This plan should include knowledge of the surrounding communities, a strategy on how the community will be engaged, and evidence of the artist or artist team's ability to implement a final plan if selected.

4. Current Résumé
Maximum three pages and in DOC, DOCX or PDF file format, focusing on experience directly relevant to the project. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If multiple artists are involved, include each artist's resumé and indicate the artist team lead.

5. Previous Work
A maximum of 10 digital image files are permitted for artists and artist teams.
Digital images must be PC-compatible in JPG, TIFF or BMP format 72dpi and no larger than 2 MB each.

Files must be named with a number, followed by title, date, material and support, metric dimensions, and cost, each separated by an underscore.
01_title_date_material and support_height x width x depth cm_$cost.jpg
02_work in progress_2014_LED and resin_1 x 4.5 x 7 m_$180,000.jpg

Materials that require specialized software, plug-ins, extensions or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed, or materials that are embedded in any type of presentation, such as websites, or Word or PowerPoint documents will not be accepted.

If you wish to submit a video or other time-based media on DVD/CD, contact:
Allison O'Connor at allison.o' or 613-244-4435

6. List of previous work samples
Provide a detailed list of each image in PDF format as shown below:
01_Title_date_material and support_height x width x depth cm_$cost
When relevant, include a note listing the location of installed work, more details on the medium and the total art commission budget for any previous public art projects.

CDs and DVDs will not be returned. Please retain a copy for your records.
The City of Ottawa will not be responsible for loss or damage to any materials.

Selection Criteria and Process

Request for Qualifications should demonstrate the ability to address the vision of the Murals on Underpasses Project, the thematic, the design requirements, and the Community Engagement Plan. All proposals will be evaluated based on creativity of approach (written concept and visual rendering), experience and qualifications (resumé) and previous work (digital images).

These commissions will be awarded following a two-stage arms length process as follows:

• Stage I RFQ – All submissions will be evaluated by a peer assessment committee consisting of artists with mural experience, the project management team and a community representative (TBD). This committee will review and evaluate the qualifications from all artists in accordance with the selection criteria and will select a maximum of 6 artists to move forward to the Stage II.

• Stage II – Shortlisted artists will be given Terms of Reference for refining their proposals and preparing a detailed budget. Artists will then meet individually with the peer assessment committee for an interview of approximately 30 minutes in length where they will present their final concept design and results of their community engagement. Artists will be required to provide details of their Community Engagement Plan. This plan can include, but is not limited to community consultation with stakeholders such as community centres, community associations, Business Improvement Associations, NAC, NCC, Canadian Heritage, Parks Canada, National Defence, and Ward Councillors.

• Stage II Honorarium - Each shortlisted artist will be given a $450 fee which will go towards the costs pertaining to the design and implementation of the Community Engagement Plan as well as concept drafts or designs to be presented during the second stage.

Deadline and notification

Request for Qualifications Submission must be received by hand or mail no later than Monday, June 6, 2016 at 4pm. EST. This is not a postmarked deadline. Fax or email submissions will not be accepted. Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. All participants will be notified of the results of the initial stage of the selection process by email mid June, 2016.

Mail or deliver proposals to:
Mural on Underpasses Project c/o City of Ottawa
172 Guigues Avenue, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1N 5H9

Inquiries 613-580-2424 x 13350 613-244-4435

Copyright and moral rights

Copyright including any and all designs, drawings, maquettes and final works of art shall remain the property of the artist. Moral rights remain with the artist. The City of Ottawa will seek permission to reproduce the images for non-profit publicity purposes.

Confidentiality of information

City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of proposals and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. To protect confidentiality, committee members turn in their copies of proposal materials for shredding at the end of the assessment meeting.

Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees, and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal information contained therein shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 7

The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise any project.

Award of contract is conditional upon the City of Ottawa receiving National Capital Commission (NCC) approval of Federal Land Use. Should the approval not be granted, the City will not proceed with a contract award.