Expression of Interest: Viola Desmond Legacy Art Project



CALL TO ARTISTS


The North End Business Association (NEBA) seeks to commission a qualified artist or artist team to create a new permanent public artwork to celebrate the life and legacy of Viola Desmond. The installation will be located at the VÉLO Apartments on Gottingen Street, near where Viola’s salon once stood.


This project is expected to be completed and installed by June 11, 2022 with the official unveiling taking place tentatively on June 17, 2022. Depending on the proposal, external factors such as supply chain restrictions may be taken into consideration to extend this deadline.


This is a two-phase artist selection process. Applicants are asked only to submit qualifications at

this time.


The deadline to submit qualifications for this opportunity is December 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM ADT.



BACKGROUND


The North End Business Association (NEBA), along with community organizations have formed a committee to initiate and install a commemorative legacy art piece for Viola Desmond to be erected on Gottingen Street in Halifax’s North End.


Viola is forever remembered for her defiance of racial segregation at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, NS after sitting in the whites-only section in 1946. This historical moment and the ensuing legal battle was formative in the fight for black civil rights in Canada. While this may be what Viola is best known for, her story extends far beyond her role as a civil rights icon. Noticing the absence of black beauty products, Viola studied to become a beautician and opened her own salon in the Halifax North End to fill the void. In addition, Viola created her own line of beauty products. Viola not only became an accomplished entrepreneur and business woman herself, but helped train many black women to become beauticians and start their own businesses through The Desmond School of Beauty Culture. As an activist, entrepreneur, and educator Viola Desmond has had a profound impact on Black Canadians and the North End community.


In 2018 NEBA hosted several events celebrating the release of the new 10 dollar bill, featuring Viola as the first Canadian woman to appear alone on a Canadian bank note. The Viola Desmond Legacy Project is a continuation of these events to honour the impact Viola has had and continues to have on the black community, women and black entrepreneurs. The timing of this project is significant as November 8, 2021 marked the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s challenge against Racial Segregation and subsequent arrest at the Roseland Theatre.




OBJECTIVES


The Viola Desmond Legacy Committee aims to provide permanent recognition of Viola Desmond in the Gottingen neighbourhood, near where her salon once stood, which reflects how the community would like to see Viola and her story represented. In collaboration with our community partners and Viola’s family, we aim to erect a commemorative legacy art piece, along with a promotional campaign and an unveiling ceremony featuring guest speakers and spoken word poets. This project will provide an opportunity to develop community economic opportunities through tourism, support black-owned businesses, educate our youth and share Viola’s legacy with locals and visitors alike. Viola’s story is especially important to the historically Black communities that reside here on Gottingen Street and across Nova Scotia. This project supports Nova Scotia’s Cultural & Heritage Tourism and Cultural Action Plan and we believe will be the catalyst for Cultural recognition and tourism for the North End of Halifax.



LOCATION


The installation will be located at the VÉLO Apartments on 2300 Gottingen St directly across from the YMCA. The space is 9 feet wide, 6.5 feet deep, and 8.5 feet tall. All surfaces within the space are available for the commemorative art piece. Power is also available if needed. Please see the photos below for reference.


It is important to note that the space is currently located between a barbershop north of the space and a black-owned beauty salon to the south. Both of which are significant to Viola’s career. In addition, the site is located near Viola’s former salon on Gottingen.








ELIGIBILITY

  • Be age 18 or over

  • Be able to meet all of the project requirements (see below)

  • Be willing to meet all contractual obligations

  • Artist teams or artists willing to work with an assistant in a mentorship capacity are encouraged


REQUIREMENTS

  • Installation reflects Viola Desmond, honouring her story, impact, and legacy

  • Installation and medium must be constructed in a way that ensures its durability while considering all weather conditions. This is intended to be installed outdoors for decades to come with minimal maintenance.

  • Installation must consider accessibility needs

  • Medium must be tactile in some way for those with visual impairments

  • Installation should consider viewing and interaction by those with mobility issues

  • Artist(s) must be present at the commemoration ceremony (Tentatively June 17, 2022)


ARTIST SELECTION PROCESS


This two-phase process will be undertaken by a Selection Panel. The Selection Panel will be comprised of representatives from NEBA, the North End community, and the arts community. Upon review of applicants from the Expression of Interest, three will be selected as finalists and asked to submit a formal proposal. The first place finalist will be awarded $100,000 and be contracted to complete the project using the awarded funding inclusive of all associated costs. The first and second runners up will each receive a $1,000 honorarium.


Phase I - Expressions of Interest

The Selection Panel will review all eligible Expressions of Interest submissions with the goal of short-listing three candidates for further consideration. The submissions will be reviewed using the following creative criteria:


Project Understanding: Artist demonstrates a clear understanding of project requirements and intent.


Technical Ability: Artist’s history of work indicates professionalism, skill with materials and techniques, and indicates the capacity to meet the requirements of this project.


Artistic Quality: Artist’s past work is appropriate to its medium, represents it well, and shows personal creativity.


Priority will be given to People of African Descent and artists who can demonstrate they will work with a black artist in a mentorship, partnering, or consultation capacity.


Phase II – Artist Proposal

Once identified, the finalists will be asked to prepare a concept proposal for presentation to the Selection Panel. At this time finalists will be provided a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) and awarded a $1,000 honorarium. This proposal must take into consideration feedback from a public consultation session scheduled for December 2021. Feedback from this session will be distilled into a report provided to the finalists. The criteria in Phase I will be considered for the final artist selection, along with a review of the submitted proposals based on the following:


  • Artistic merit of the proposal

  • Technical feasibility of the proposed concept including, but not limited to: safety, structure, ability to meet budget and schedule

  • Stakeholder input

  • How well the proposal meets the project requirements


The proposals will undergo a thorough review by an arms-length Art Selection Panel composed of art professionals and industry experts, as well as members of the project team. Once announced, the finalist will be awarded the $100,000 grand prize. NEBA reserves the right to request any alterations to the winner’s proposal in collaboration with the artist. Work on the art piece to be installed is expected to begin upon receipt of award. The total $100,000 award is expected to be used to cover all costs including artist fees, manufacturing, shipping, and installation.


PROJECT SCHEDULE

Distribute Expression of Interest......................................................................November 30, 2021

Community Consultation……………………………………………………………December 6, 2021

Submission Deadline Phase I: Expressions of Interest...................................December 20, 2021

Announcement of Finalists (3 artists will be short-listed).......................................January 7, 2022

Submission Deadline Phase II: Artist Proposals..................................................February 4, 2022

Announcement of Winner & Runners Up……...................................................February 11, 2022

Installation Completion.............................................................................................. June 2022

Commemoration Ceremony............................................................................................June 2022



HOW TO APPLY


Documents to Include

Artists must submit the following in PDF format by email to violalegacyartproject@gmail.com:


  1. Current Resume or CV: with current contact information

  2. Cover Letter which addresses the following:

  • A short statement about your interest in the project

  • An outline of your artistic practice

  • How you will address the project requirements

  • A short statement about how your past experiences qualify you for this opportunity

  • If you are working as part of a team or mentoring an assistant on this project, please include the details of that relationship

  1. Up to 10 images of past work relevant to this project, clearly indicating the title of the work, description, medium, dimensions, and date the work was realized as well as the associated budget. Video documentation of artworks is permitted. For video documentation, please include a link in the PDF. Please submit all photos and/or video links in a single PDF document, not embedded in an email attachment.


Submission Deadline

Deceber 20, 2021 @ 11:59 PM ADT


It is the Artist’s responsibility to ensure that NEBA receives its Expression of Interest submission prior to the stated closing date and time. NEBA will not consider late submissions.


Any questions or inquiries should be directed towards events@gonorthhalifax.com.


Next Steps

Upon review of the applicants by the Selection Panel the three finalists will be notified on January 7, 2022. Further details on the proposal process will be provided at that time.




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