Artist-initiated Public Art Projects 2022

children playing on splashpad

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge that the City of Peterborough is on the treaty and traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabeg. We offer our gratitude to the First Peoples for their care for, and teachings about, our earth and our relations. May we honour those teachings.


The Public Art Program invites artists or artist teams to submit their ideas to create art in public spaces. This call is open to both established and emerging artists, including those interested in expanding their practices into the public realm for the first time. Artists can propose artworks in any scale, scope, and medium in any part of the city.

Background and Vision

The Public Art Program produces contemporary artwork to enhance and animate public spaces throughout the city, create landmarks and gathering places, and to commemorate events and sites of historical significance. Artwork is incorporated into planning and development through public art plans and civic commissions. Many public art projects have also been developed in collaboration with arts or community organizations or with local businesses.

Special projects, such as Artist-initiated Projects, are a key area of focus of the Program that enable us to keep up with emergent practices, respond to the needs of our community and integrate art into multiple sites within a short timeframe. These initiatives also provide opportunities for artists to experiment, and the freedom to create artworks outside the limits of a predetermined site, theme or medium.

Proposals for Artist-initiated Projects may include, but are not limited to workshops, performative works, projections, events, urban interventions, and temporary or ephemeral installations. Interactive and participatory projects are encouraged, as are projects that invite collaborations with artists from different disciplines. We are particularly interested in projects that provide opportunities for co-creators to gain valuable training and hands on experience in developing a public artwork.

Projects must be presented or installed within Peterborough city limits between June and December 2022.

Submission Deadline: Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 4 p.m.

The Public Art Program is committed to supporting artists in the creation of these new works by providing resources and staff support through the course of project development and realization. Please read the full call for proposals below and consider prompts and questions found on the application form before submitting your proposal.

Who Can Apply?

This opportunity is open to professional artists of all disciplines. Applications are welcome from individual artists (emerging to established), artist teams, artist collectives, ad hoc groups, or arts and culture organizations, as well as partnerships and collaborations between arts and non-arts applicants.  Artists and cultural practitioners from the Hiawatha and Curve Lake First Nations are especially encouraged to apply.

A professional artist is defined as a person who has specialized training in their artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions); is recognized as a professional by their peers; is committed to their art practice; and has a history of public presentation or publication. Artists do not need to be working professionally in the arts full-time.

Eligible applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or people upon whom refugee protection has been conferred.

Projects must take place in Peterborough. If the applicant is not based in Peterborough, the Selection Committee will determine eligibility through the applicant’s commitment to and impact of their scope of activities on Peterborough’s arts community.

Applicants or project teams may only apply for one project. We will only accept one application per applicant, and one application per project. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

The City cannot fund projects retroactively, meaning that projects that began before the deadline in May 2022 are not eligible.

Commission Value

The total commission for each approved project is $12,000 split into three phases over the project. Applicants are encouraged to seek other funding sources.

The eligible and ineligible expenses and activities listed here are given as examples. If you have questions about eligible expenses, please contact Public Art Facilitator, Wendy Trusler.

 Eligible Expenses 

The artist or artist team is responsible for their project budget. There are no additional funds available for cost overruns.

Projects will be assessed for budget feasibility to determine if the budget is appropriate for the type of art proposed, and whether the budget appropriately pays artists, and collaborators, etc.

Funds may go towards almost any expenses that are directly related to your project and its goals, for example:

  • Accessibility expenses
  • Artist fees
  • Documentation
  • Engagement expenses
  • Fabrication expenses
  • Honorariums
  • Materials
  • Marketing, publicity, or outreach
  • Meeting expenses
  • Purchase of equipment, including hardware (up to a maximum of $1,000)
  • Professional fees (e.g., fees paid to individuals offering professional services such as web design, publicity, or marketing, financial, accounting 
  • Rental of equipment or space
  • Technical fees (e.g., web service fees, licensing fees etc.)
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL)

 Ineligible Expenses 

Project funding is not intended to support any of the following:

  • Lost wages or salaries
  • Purchase of or financial contribution towards equipment, land, or buildings over a total of $1,000 (capital expenditures)
  • Purchase of any equipment not directly related to the project
  • Tuition, or other costs related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs         

Location and Siting  

The location of the artwork or activities must be approved by the site owner. Applications will be reviewed by program staff for site approvals prior to the selection panel review. Projects that do not meet siting review criteria will not be considered.

Private Land: If the proposed artwork or activities are to be on private land a copy of a written agreement or letter of commitment with the site owner will be requested in Stage II of the submissions process.

Public Land: If the proposed artwork is to be on public land, it is the responsibility of the artist or artist team to determine if it is City owned or provincially owned. If the proposed artwork is to be on City land (i.e., parks, roads) or City infrastructure (i.e., pedestrian underpass) the applicant is required to collaborate with their community association, or equivalent, to support the project. A copy of a written agreement or letter of commitment with the association will be requested before the location of the artwork can be approved by the City. Additional assistance can be provided to work with the City after the project is commissioned.

Please contact Public Art Facilitator, Wendy Trusler, with any questions about submitting a project on City land before applying.

Equity and Inclusion

Peterborough’s Public Art Program seeks to embody the values, policies and practices that ensure that all people — including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geography, or religion — are represented in the planning, selection, and production of art in public places.

Special attention to the importance of artwork created by Black, Indigenous, and racialized artists, as well as other equity-deserving groups, is appropriate and essential to the future of the arts sector.

Accommodation & Accessibility

The Public Art Program is committed to open, fair, and transparent processes. Staff are available to assist applicants, answer questions and provide feedback on your drafted application, up to one week before the deadline. Please contact us as early as you can to ensure we can provide the best support possible. We are available to provide support through email, over the phone, or the use of audio and video platforms. To book an appointment please contact Public Art Facilitator, Wendy Trusler.

Submissions Guidelines

This is a two-stage Call for Proposals. An initial artwork concept, and preliminary site approvals and expressions of interest from co-creators and other participants are required in the first stage. For the second stage of the selection process, shortlisted artists will be invited to an interview to discuss more in-depth their experience, vision, and approach as well as the financial viability of their plans.

Stage I Submission Requirements

Project Proposal & Work Plan: Project proposals should illustrate your intentions, conceptual approach, and preferred site. Broadly give insight into what kind of projects you envision undertaking, how you plan to research, engage the community, interact with the public, and create awareness of your project (including social media, blog, etc.). Further description and information about Stage I Submission Requirements can be found in the application form.

Biography: 250 words max. One for each team member, if applicable.

Current Artist CV: No more than 3 pages. One for each team member, if applicable.

Visual Support Material with Support Material List: 15 images max. 

  • Please select all support material that reveals your experience and expertise as related to your proposal.
  • A preliminary concept drawing and the project description should clearly illustrate the applicant’s intentions.
  • Visual Support Material should be labeled numerically with the applicant’s name (01_name.jpg, 02_name.jpg, etc.).
  • The Support Material List should include title of work, date created, medium, dimensions, and short description, if necessary.

If you wish to include video documentation it should be uploaded to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo and linked in the application. Regardless of duration, please include full videos. Due to time constraints, the Selection Committee may only view up to five minutes of each video. Please note the clip you would prefer the Selection Committee view by including time marks in the documentation list.

 Additional Considerations and Requirements  

Projects should have a clear start and end date, with a specific set of goals. Projects cannot begin before the application deadline and must be completed by December 31st, 2022.

Projects must be accessible and safe for public interaction. Signed engineering drawings may be required.

Artworks must have a defined lifespan. If you are creating an object it is recommended the artwork be temporary (have a lifespan of five years or less).

If your project involves working with a vulnerable community (e.g., minors, those living with mental illness, economic disadvantage, etc.), Police Vulnerable Sector Checks (PVSC) will be required from anyone  interacting directly with members of that community.

Successful applicants will need to complete a scope and fee agreement defining project deliverables and payment schedule.

Successful applicants will need to confirm a Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy for bodily injury (including death) and property damage.

To ensure the project meets project goals, as well as the requirements of this program, the artist or artist team will be required to work closely throughout the project with the Public Art Program staff as well as other stakeholders.

Ineligible activities

 Project funding is not intended to support any of the following:

  • Art projects that are not publicly accessible
  • Projects started before the application deadline
  • Projects related to post-secondary or credit, degree, certificate, or diploma granting educational programs or artistic work related to those educational programs
  • Fundraising activities (e.g., activities undertaken for the purpose of raising funds on behalf of a political party or charity)
  • Contests and competitions
  • Activities that do not comply with or respect cultural protocols
  • Activities that use or present Indigenous cultural material, traditional knowledge, or stories without permission from the community
  • Activities that promote hatred or intolerance
  • Activities that are illegal or contravene provincial or federal law
  • Activities related to campaigning for a specific political candidate or party in an election

How to Apply

Applications for this project will be accepted online through the Submittable platform.

Apply now: Artist-initiated Projects

Submission Deadline: Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 4 p.m.

We thank all artists contributing their time and professional work for this call for proposals. Late submissions, or submissions that do not comply with the requirements and format will not be accepted.

All applicants will be notified with the selection committee’s decision by mid-May.

Stage II (By Invitation)

In the second stage, shortlisted candidates will be paid $500 to further develop and present their proposals to the Selection Committee.

Stage II Submission Requirements:

  • A Schematic Drawing, Design Sketches or Storyboard
  • Description of Methodology 
  • Materials and Technical Requirements
  • Project Budget
  • Project Plan and Timeline
  • Maintenance Requirements
  • Location Approvals
  • Letter of Commitment from site owners and all collaborators, including other artists (if applicable)

Selection Process & Criteria

A Selection Committee composed of five voting members will review all submissions. The Selection Committee will represent a diversity of artistic, cultural practices and expertise, and include two members of the City’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee (ACHAC), and three members from the community at large.

The Committee will discuss each application and make final funding decisions in a meeting facilitated by the Public Art Program staff.

Artists and proposals will be selected for recommendation to staff by the Selection Committee’s majority vote based on artistic merit, relevance, and feasibility.

 Artistic Merit 
  • Applicant’s achievements, professional qualifications, and relevant working experience
  • Quality and clarity of the applicant’s creative statement, project description, goals and rationale
  • Quality of the applicants support material and its relationship to the project
  • Appropriateness of the proposal to the project terms of reference and ability to advance the Public Art Program goals
  • Appropriateness to the site and community context and the Public Art Collection as a whole
  • Appropriateness of collaborators and major contributors to the project  
  • Clarity of goals and plans for having an impact on the applicant, other artists, communities, participants, and  or audiences
 Project Feasibility
  • Artist’s project management experience and capacity to work in demanding environments with communities and other design professionals where applicable
  • Technical feasibility, budget, timeline, and probability of success.
  • Proposal’s materials, construction, intended durability
  • Public access
  • Safety, liability, and risk management
  • Maintenance and conservation

The City’s Public Art Advisory Committee and Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee (ACHAC) will receive the selection committee’s findings.


Call for Proposals issued: March 31, 2022

Submissions Deadline (Stage I): Thursday May 12th , 2022, at 4 PM

Selection Committee Meeting: Mid-May

Shortlist Interviews: Early June, 2022

Notification of Winning Proposals: June 9, 2022

Contracts/Letters of Agreement Issued: Mid-June 2022

Project Implementation: June 2022 – December 2022

About this Opportunity

This Call for Proposals is being administered through the City of Peterborough’s Public Art Program, Arts Culture and Heritage Division, Community Services.

Please direct questions to:

Wendy Trusler

Public Art Facilitator

City of Peterborough

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