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  #1  
Old 01-08-2007, 11:31 AM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Hello fellow sculptors,
I am trying to find out how one goes about creating a professional proposal to submitt for a public sculpture commission? I am a realistic bronze figure sculptor but have never applied for a public commission and have no idea what to do or what to include in the proposal, ie,. do we need sketches (if so how detailed?). I am unable to find any resources on the web regarding this process and would really appreciate any tips!
Thanks,
A.J.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2007, 04:26 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

I would like to help but I'm embarrased to say how much time and effort I have put into proposals for competitions in public works, none of which succeeded in winning me a commission.

The balance of the equation is how often I have won private commissions, and a couple of public ones, with a few words and a handshake, and occaisionally a sketch.

From my biased experience a visually glitzy proposal ( which is not my forte )with a poorly concieved idea will trump a well thought out but less "professional " looking one.

Most requests for proposals include a list of required elements. If you are looking at creating a non-requested proposal, then you may want to search through some requests and see what they are asking for.
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:50 PM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Thanks for your honest reply. I wish a look at my work and a handshake were enough for public commissions but as you say they are elusive. I'd still like to try to find out what is standard if there is such a thing in sending out proposals.
Thanks
A.J.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2007, 05:51 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

I would also like to know. I think there are forum members who have got such commissions.

I suppose a well composed bio and portfolio are useful if not necessary. Would maquette, explanation as well as sketches be better than just sketches alone?

For explanation it is best to include the art concept or idea, as well as materials and size.
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2007, 06:13 PM
BMBourgoyne BMBourgoyne is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Hi A.J.
Call-for-artists fall into two catagories typically:
Request for Qualifications (RFQ's), and
Request for Proposals (RFP's)

Then there are also Slide or Artist Registries that local public art commissions maintain.

RFQ's are when the first round of selection is based on slide portfolios and resumes (previous experience). The Selection panel usually does not want to see proposals for these, though may consider concepts. RFP's are when the selction will be based on both previous experience and the proposed concept, usually with drawings or renderings. Slide registries are lists of artists and examples of their work that are kept on file and reviewed when money comes up for purchases. These are usually smaller purchases (usually 2d or small 3d), often for pre-existing work.

When you download a Call-to-artist, it will list exactly what is needed.

As Glenn says, its a hard nut to crack, with luck as much a part of it as anything. For those looking to increase the visual punch of their RFP's or semi-finalist proposals, I offer 3d rendering services that are really pretty affordable for what you get. Take a look at the projects page of my website
http://www.bourgoynestudio.com/projects.html
to see the kinds of imagery (still and animated) that can be produced with 3d scanning and 3d modeling. As Glenn also said, as strong presentation can be essential, and a strong presentation of a strong concept can be especially convincing.

Also look at my SERVICES link to see the specific services I can offer. I can scan a rough clay model, surface it in the final materials desired, light it and site it, and show multiple views or fly-by animations. The images below are of a proposal I worked up for Paula Slater for a project she was up for-- she didn't get this one, but she said she came close. This model was developed from concept drawing and photos of her clay maquette (which were also included in the proposal-- she didn't have time for me to scan it so I modeled the figure from the photos of her clay).

Good luck with it,
Brad
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:05 AM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Thanks for the tips. I was wondering though, why a sculptor would take the time and money to actually make up a clay maquette before one of the sketches was approved? It seems like a lot of work just to get in the running. That being said, if one was to make a clay maquette how big does it need to be? I would want to make one big enough to have enlarged if I were chosen so that I wouldn't need to make another one! I appreciated seeing the scanned maquettes and will check out the web site. I wonder how important it is for a sculptor to have had previous commissions to show in order to get a new commission or can one just show his or her own work.? if they need to see previous commissions it seems like a catch 22; How do you get your first commission to show them if they require proof of your experience as a sculptor capable of doing commissions?
A.J.
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2007, 09:44 AM
BMBourgoyne BMBourgoyne is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

A.J.
Most of the time, you only start making something in clay if you are a semi-finalist (make it throught he first round), and they pay you a stipend for it. But if its a project you really want, or a subject that may have other applications (say a firefighter's memorial for example), it can be worth the extra effort to improve your chances (unless its an RFQ, in which case they probably won't even look at it). For first round RFP's, they typically want only 2d images.

Most maquettes need to be easy to ship and display in a conference room setting, so that limits the size. Big enough to convey your idea accurately. Its really up to you to decide when it is worth it or not. Remember, to get these commissions, you are competing with a lot of hungry artists-- you have to be willing to put the time and effort even when there is no immediate pay-off.

Unfortunately, many committees want to see previous work that is essentially the same as what they are asking for (in terms of size, materials, imagery) so that they know evactly what they are going to get and can trust you with the large budget involved. I suppose that is why many public artists do the same thing over and over. The expectation is that you develop a portfolio of commissions, first with smaller private commissions, then slightly larger public, and then so on. And to complicate matters, it is very difficult to find outdoor sculpture Call-for-Artists for less than $100K that are not restricted to local artists or that are well advertised. So it can be very difficult to find the first small commissions that will get you started.

And then of course, your style has to appeal to the specific committees or communities that you want to submit proposals to, which is often difficult to discern.

Suffice it to say, if you want to do public art, you really have to want it and be willing to put in a lot of unpaid, unrecognized effort. Because in the end, it does take luck to find the right person who is looking for what you are offering. But then that is true with selling art in general, isn't it.

good luck.
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:15 PM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Brad,
Thanks for the advice on the maquette , if it has to be shipped and displayed that leaves out oil based clay, which adds yet another expense. How much would a 32" clay maquette cost to have scanned into foam (approximate cost for a fairly simple standing figure)?
A.J.
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2007, 01:52 PM
BMBourgoyne BMBourgoyne is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

A.J.
There are many factors that will influence the cost, but it would probably start at about $300 for me to to scan a figure of that size. However, the scanner I use has limited resolution (captures about 1/16" detail on the original), which is fine when using the model for rough enlargements or creating reductions, but is not as good when making high resolution enlargements or 1 to 1 reproductions. Other scanning services can do higher resolution scans, but at a higher cost.

The cost of the CNC foam or 3d printing is the other factor. I don't do CNC routering, but instead use a digital/manual method for lower cost foam enlargements. I do offer 3d printing for smaller models (up to about 3') in a very resilient resin-modified plaster. For a 32" figure, it would likely cost around $1000 for the print (but could be significantly more or less depending on the particulars of the job).

The real advantage of scanning is about being able to create realistic images of the sculpture in the final material and at the site (including turn-table animations or fly-bys) for proposals, as well as use it for the rough enlargement later on. I'm set up to be optimized for maquettes of 12-24". Of course, the imaging and rendering costs are separate from the scanning, and that work is charged by the hour.

For those interested in trying out the process, but don't necessarily want to commit the money for an unknown result, I am open to "trial runs" that is for example, scan a model for free and give some preview of what can be done with it, and charge the customer only if the model is used. This of course would apply to first-time customers only.

Just Private Message me and let me know.

Brad
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2007, 07:45 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

From my experience (also with no public commissions after many applications), Brad has given a good run-down of the overall process. From what I have seen, selection groups often have a specific idea in mind even though they can't mention that in the RFQ or RFP. I suspect they may even have a specific sculptor in mind, but need to go through the general process for legal or public-relations reasons.

On the matter of making a specific figure that could be enlarged for the final piece, I’d say that is unrealistic. My indirect experience is that the final piece often evolves during a discussion between the sculptor and the commissioning group, and that a first drawing or even a first maquette (small example) is only a starting point for the final design.

Also, don’t overlook the possibility of working with one or more other artists in submitting proposals. I know this idea doesn’t appeal to many beginners but, again in my experience, I’ve often seen that in successful proposals. The commissioning group may want to “grow” or enlarge the local pool of commissioned sculptors.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:50 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Another, very similar thread is active at http://www.sculpture.net/community/s...1536#post31536
You might want to check that as well.
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  #12  
Old 01-09-2007, 11:07 PM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Thank you for sharing your experience Fritchie. If you wouldn't mind me asking, on those proposals you din't get, did you include sketches of some different ideas? I honeslty don't know if the committees even care if the sketches are rough draft showing only one angle or if they need to be illustration quility and show the idea for many angles. This is the kind of info that isn't forthcoming when I email the commission commitees as to what they want. I find it all frustrating. I am sure you are right in saying that it is unrealistic to hope that the first maquette can be used for the final enlargement. I haven't thought about collaboration with another artist on a proposal but I wouldn't have anything against trying it. I will check out the other thread as well.
Thank you for responding, every bit of advice helps!
A.J.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:08 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

On a couple of fairly local opportunities (either publically announced or privately discussed), I actually made and photographed small maquettes of oil-based clay or wax. In more remote submissions, and in some local ones, I just submitted concept suggestions or a vitae, as requested or permitted. I find the situations quite varied, according to local expertise or taste.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:41 PM
A.J. A.J. is offline
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Re: how does one create a proposal for public sculpture?

Fritchie,
Thanks for the info. Judging from what I've read from the responses it seems like a fairly common practice to make a maquette rather than simply submitting sketches even though it a lot more work. If you have several ideas for the proposal you can't make maquettes for all of them and that is the problem. I would think ones's chances would increase if they were to submitt more than one option. I use oil based clay and am concerned about shipping it if I had to but wax is too difficult to work with in any detail, at least from my experience, so I guess I'd have to either take photos of the clay or take the chance.
A.J.
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