Renaissance on Hunter - Artists' Garden Project

children playing on splashpad

Call for Artists’ Proposals

The City of Peterborough invites artists to submit proposals for a series of gardens to be installed this spring in downtown Peterborough.

Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Project Background and Vision

The City of Peterborough 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.

The 2021 program priorities consist of several projects designed to support services and plans across the corporation, while also creating opportunities for our artists.

The Renaissance on Hunter comprises two distinct but related public art projects along Hunter Street that align with the Temporary Downtown Public Space Changes that will be implemented this spring. The traffic calming and mobility strategy for Hunter Street establishes one-way traffic maintained in the westbound direction creating a curb extension and temporary sidewalk space within the closed traffic lane to provide opportunities to maintain public safety along this corridor. A combination of portable planters and barricades in four areas are planned to be installed along the streetscape to de-mark pedestrian spaces, provide physical separation, and further enhance accessibility for those with low vision.

The Renaissance on Hunter public art projects were developed in consultation with the Planning and Transportation Divisions and Accessibility Office and will be presented in partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement Area and Green Up. They are being administered and funded through the City’s Public Art Program.

“The Artists’ Garden Project calls on our artists to create to series of themed gardens and interventions to animate the lanes closures and transform the corridor into a welcoming and engaging pedestrian space for the warm weather season. The installations will adhere to COVID-19 Reopening Ontario Health and Safety Guidelines and will contribute to making the area feel safer while supporting business activity and public health. Over the past year we have faced many challenges, experienced great loss, and witnessed colossal social upheaval. As we enter and navigate the pandemic recovery together, the hope is that the artist's gardens will also support mental well-being and help us initiate much needed conversations to let healing begin."

—    ­­­Mayor Therrien

The interplay of artists and gardens has a long tradition, and gardens designed by artists are as worthy of attention as artwork in a gallery. The Artists’ Garden Project will support thoughtful, and innovative proposals from artists, ad hoc artist teams or collectives working in a range of disciplines and media. This broadly defined call is intended to welcome a range of responses. More information about the project parameters and tips to assist with the application process can be found below.

Project Details   Application Help Guide - Artists' Garden Project 

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have turned to the arts for comfort. When we are willing to ask ourselves what it means to live together, and as we look towards healing, we must also look to our artists. For artists hold the possibility of hope in their creations."

—    City of Peterborough, Arts, Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee, 2021

Project details


The four garden sites will be in the temporary sidewalk spaces created by lane closures on a stretch of Hunter Street West between Aylmer and Chambers Streets. Planters will be provided for each site.   

Located on either side of the entrance to the parking garage on the south side of Hunter, Sites I and II measure approximately 2592 square feet and 816 square feet respectively. There are eight planters allotted to Site I and five planters allotted to Site II.

Sites III and IV are located on either side of the entrance to the Chambers Street parking lot, on the north side of Hunter, and measure approximately 1092 and 148 square feet respectively. There are six planters allotted to both Site III and Site IV.

The planter dimensions are 54” L x 26” W x 21” H. 

Overhead Map of Proposed Garden Sites


Total project budget by site:   

Site I  $6,400

Site II  $4,000

Site III $4,800

Site IV $4,800


The planters and soil required for each project will be supplied and delivered to site by the City. The City will also be responsible for site prep and permits. The associated costs of all other materials required for each project will be the artists’ responsibility. Designs, artwork, and plantings are subject to final approval by the City.


This call is open to both emerging and established professional artists, artist teams or collectives. Partnerships and collaborations are encouraged to create opportunities for a variety of creatives to contribute to the design and installation. Artist fees must be paid.

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 and production of art in public places 

Submission Guidelines

Submit your proposal for the Artists' Garden Project via

You will be asked to include the following:

  • Project Proposal & Work Plan (1-page max)
  • Biography (250 words max)
  • Current CV (3 pages max)
  • 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 garden/installation design included in the Visual Support Material and the Project Description should clearly illustrate the applicant’s intentions, conceptual approach, and preferred site.

Visual Support Material should be labelled 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, and dimensions.

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.

The Application Help Guide below contains additional information to assist with the application process.

Application Help Guide - Artists' Garden Project

We thank all artists contributing their time and professional work for this call for proposals. Applications that do not adhere to these criteria or are incomplete will be disqualified. All applicants will be notified with the selection committee’s decision by early June.

Selection Process & Criteria

A selection committee composed of five (5) 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 selection committee will select four designs considering artistic merit, relevance, and feasibility. Gardening experience and a history of public art projects will be considered an asset.

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

Project Timeline

Proposal Deadline: May 28, 2021, 5 p.m.

Artist Notification: Early to mid-June

Mural Installation: June 2021

Project Close: Late October 2021

About this Opportunity

This Request for Proposals is being administered through the City of Peterborough’s Public Art Program. 

Please direct questions to:

Wendy Trusler

Public Art Facilitator

City of Peterborough

Facebook / Twitter

Application Help Guide

The Artists' Garden Project Application Help Guide 

The Artists' Garden Project is one of two temporary public art projects undertaken by the City of Peterborough’s Public Art Program to revitalize Hunter Street during the pandemic recovery.

The Renaissance on Hunter public art projects were developed in consultation with the Planning and Transportation Divisions and Accessibility Office and will be presented in partnership with the DBIA and Green Up. They are being administered and funded through the City’s Public Art Program.

The following guidelines identify areas of responsibility to be addressed by applicants and other considerations that may help you with your application. 

What is an artist team and how do I form one or be part of one?

It is not expected that you will have knowledge of all processes and materials necessary to realize your artwork. It is common practice to supplement any shortcomings by assembling a team of artists or by hiring professionals to help create the work.   

Among the things we are also trying to achieve by encouraging partnerships and collaborations is to create opportunities for more artists in these difficult times, and to present public art projects that reflect a cross-pollination of ideas and represent the whole of our vibrant arts community. In effect this means, that irrespective of the dominant medium, a multitude of creatives, including but not limited to, musicians, choreographers, poets, visual artists, and community members may come together to design and produce an artwork.

There are no restrictions to team size, but the commission value must be shared as agreed upon by the team members.

The Call to Artists states that artworks are temporary. When will they be installed and for how long?

Pending the lifting of lockdown restrictions, the installation timeline is mid- to late June.

To maintain pedestrian access to shops and restaurants, production will take place in off-peak hours over one to two half-days (ideally Sunday and Monday).

The project close is scheduled for mid-October when the barricades and planters will be removed, and two-way traffic will resume on Hunter Street. At that time, any perennials will either be removed to overwinter or donated. Any other installation items will be returned to the artists. 


Are there any important design considerations? Which site should I chose?

As a traffic safety requirement, reflectors will be affixed to the face of the planters adjacent to the roadway and must be always visible. As such, cascading plants or embellishments that may cover the reflectors are not permitted. 

To ensure that people (especially those with low or no vision) can move safely and don’t accidently bump into things, the face of the planters adjacent to the walkway should not have any component that projects over the walkway zone from the ground surface to around head height (approximately 6 ft 11” overhead clearance is the technical requirement.)

The planters that will be provided for each site measure 54” L x 26” W x 21” with a soil capacity of 0.3 cubic yards and 55 U.S. gallon water reservoir.

Beyond these restrictions there are no design limitations, however feasibility will be considered.

We are looking for creative responses to the physical space. Consider the following:

  • Gardens delight, sustain, nurture, and provide shelter. Think beyond the traditional gardening container and approach to gardens.
  • These gardens may take the form of a sculpture. Think about the area and how your planters will relate to one another as whole.
  • Can you think of the garden not just as the backdrop for artwork but as the artwork itself?
  • What can your choice of plantings and installation elements offer the community or bring to the urban environment?

Artists should make their site selections based on their ability to accomplish the installation within the time allotted. Please identify your choice in your proposal and indicate if your design can be adapted to another site. Designs and completed artworks are subject to final approval by the City.

What type of plantings should I use?  

The planters and soil required for each project will be supplied and delivered to site by the City. The costs of all plantings and materials required for each project will be the artists’ responsibility.

The following resources have been provided by Green Up to help with your selections.

Sustainable Planting Guide 

Pollinator-friendly Plants

Plant Finder Guide

Green Up Catalogue 

Green Up’s Ecology Park mainly stocks perennials. Visit local greenhouses for annuals. 

 What information do I need to include in my proposal?

Your primary goal for the proposal is to convince the selection committee that your project is viable, relevant, and interesting.

In crafting your proposal explain why you are interested in this opportunity.

  • What aspect of the public art commission inspires or interests you?
  • What connects you and your previous work to the vision for this project? 
  • Describe your art practice and how you would approach this opportunity.
  • Describe any other public art projects or large-scale productions you have completed.
  • If you are applying as an artist team, tell us who was involved in the design process and how your ideas coalesced.
  • Who will be responsible for production/ installation and how do you plan to work together?
  • How will the work unfold and how long do you anticipate it will take?
 What is the difference between a resume and an artist CV?

A CV is very different from a resume one would use to apply for a job. A CV or curriculum vitae is an overview of your artistic professional history and achievements. Although it looks similar to a resume, it contains different elements that are related only to your artistic professional practice.

 How do I write a bio?

Artist Bios are different from artist statements. They are an opportunity for you to position yourself as a professional artist with experience. An artist bio often includes highlights from your CV, e.g., where you went to school, where your work has been shown, if you are in any important collections, and where you are based.

General Rules:

Artist Bios are written in the third person

Appropriate length is 100 – 250 words.

Keep it professional.

 What is an image list?
Image lists correspond to digital documentation and give necessary information to help adjudicators understand what they are looking at. Image lists will contain the title, medium, year and dimensions. They can also contain additional information if needed, however this is not the place to include artist statements. It should never be more than a few sentences, and only included if necessary.
Additional Information 
Selected artists will receive an honorarium distributed as two cheques, as per the budget for the site detailed in their proposal or otherwise agreed upon. Artists will be required to sign a Waiver & Release with respect to personal injury, death, and dismemberment, and must work with the Public Art Facilitator and representatives from the DBIA and/or Green Up to ensure all details relating to the production and installation of their work are attended to.