View Full Version : Finding a sculptor
I work in urban design for a town where we will be starting construction on a plaza this summer - it's an area that we're redeveloping and this is going to mark the entrance to a neighborhood. There will be seating, plants and a fountain, and we'd like to commission a sculpture. We've been thinking in terms of life size or slightly larger people but would be open to other good ideas.
We haven't done this kind of thing in recent memory, so I'm trying to find out where to start. Are there good places to advertise? Is there a "request for proposal" type of system? What information do we provide? We'd like to be able to put out a request with the background info and receive proposals with idea sketches and portfolio samples.
Any input would be appreciated.
04-23-2003, 12:16 PM
Try to get an artist on board before construction is fully under way, this will allow them a more creative approach to integrating their work into the square, they may be able to create a focal point as you envisage, but also have the work spread around the space as well, maybe just in the form a of subtle interventions.
These are easier when you are working as a place is being built, harder if you have to start digging it all up again.
I'd say allocate a budget to the project and see who comes forward, they may have a variety of ideas and solutions that will supprise you, thats their job.
If your not feeling confident about commissioning artists, it may be worth finding an individual or agency that can act as an intermediary.
Some artists are well geared up to work in the public domain, work alongside designers and contractors. Some arn't, but they can still deliver the goods with the right support.
The first decision to make is whether you feel you can spot the difference.
05-12-2003, 09:52 PM
Forgive me, I just saw this. A major consideration for artists is the budget, as well as working relationship with the commissioning agency. I donít want to throw cold water either on your plans or on the possibilities for an artistís opportunity, but in projects I have seen, I have been advised that a single full, life-sized figure in bronze should be budgeted at about $30,000 in the U. S. (You donít give a location.) On the other hand, I have seen bids come in as low as about $10,000. It partly depends on the sculptorís background (not necessarily ability) and interest in the work.
Iíd be interested to hear other reactions to this question.
Gordonrogers is right about involving a sculptor at an early stage. He/she could help with planning, in a cooperative way. I also think other threads here have similar ideas, but I canít give a reference right now. Maybe someone else can.
05-12-2003, 10:36 PM
Yeah, if you're on a budget, figurative bronze is probably not the way to go. Perhaps state in the prospectus that all styles/mediums are welcome, describe as best you can the location (pictures even better) and then see what you get. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I will diverge from the conventional wisdom here slightly and say you don't necessarily need to get the sculptor in on the ground level. If your design is nothing radical (typical park, some plantings, perhaps a bench or two) it is entirely possible to find a nice "stand-alone" sculpture that will fit your needs.
05-13-2003, 06:14 PM
Forgive me for saying this, but the most direct path is to talk with local galleries. They will naturally push for their artists, but they will also have had had experience with projects.
The down side to this is that it will exclude unrepresented artists, and possibly increase the overall cost.
The upside is that they will be aware of contracts and mediate with problems.
Many artists will pay a comission to the gallery anyway, even if you never meet the gallery yourself.
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