Art Opportunity Alert: Kick Off Salem Arts Festival With Public Art

Salem, Mass., which you’ve probably heard of before, has released a call for artists for an installation that will kick off the annual Salem Arts Festival.

The town is looking for “artists and designers working in any media, including light.” Installations that are effective as both daytime and nighttime pieces and/or include an interactive element will be considered highly, according to the Request for Qualifications.

The selected artwork will sit in downtown Salem at an evidently busy, mixed-use site:

The architecture includes historic colonial buildings as well as newer structures. In addition, various landscape and hardscape features could be integrated with the public art project, such as bollards, steps, lamp posts, brickwork, and trees. Notable topography from the bottom of the plaza at Front Street to the top of the hill at Essex Street creates a dramatic space around Old Town Hall.


Salem’s Old Town Hall. source:

The public art will serve as “a prominent feature in the kick-off of the Salem Main Streets Salem Arts Festival,” but will remain up throughout the summer and fall.

The submission deadline is Feb. 12. Finalists will be selected March 4. Full submission guidelines for the RFQ are posted online here.

Following RFQ submissions, three to five finalists will be invited to submit concept proposals. According to Public Art Planner Deborah Greel, (Salem’s first, as its public art master plan was completed relatively recently), the winning artist will receive $7,000 for the project while the other finalists will receive $150 for their proposals.

This installation will mark the second time Salem has incorporated public art into the Arts Festival. Last year, artist Liz LaManche painted murals on the brick walkway around Old Town Hall, which celebrated Salem’s seafaring history.


“Salem’s Connected Word,” Liz LaManche. source: