The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Request for Qualifications - Thornes Marketplace Mural

Call Summary

The Arts and Culture Department of Northampton is assembling a pool of artists interested in creating a large-scale, painted decorative mural important to the growth and culture of Northampton, Massachusetts. The mural is anticipated to be executed in October 2022. For the mural, three artists from the pool will be selected by the mural’s community stakeholder group to create design proposals; one of the proposals will be commissioned.

This is a non-juried pool: the community stakeholder committee convened for the mural will review everyone whose work is in the pool and will select three artists to be compensated to create design proposals for the mural. Artists may submit information to the pool at any time from June 15, 2022, to July 15, 2022. Submitting your information does not guarantee consideration for a commission.

Artists who have submitted their information will be contacted if a match is made between the artist’s skill and the particulars of the mural. Artists are encouraged to keep their information updated and will be contacted periodically to provide new images and updated experience information.

Budget Description

An artist fee of $20,000 for the mural includes compensation for artists’ design work, mural execution, and liability insurance ($1,000,000/$3,000,000 naming the City of Northampton and Thornes Marketplace,) installation, smog armor paint, other paint supplies, travel, lodging, and meals. A boom lift will be provided courtesy of Thornes Marketplace for 4 weeks.

Project Location and Description

The location of the decorative mural will be the east exterior wall of Thornes Marketplace located at 150 Main Street, Northampton, MA. Thornes is the long-standing hub of retail and restaurant activity in Northampton and draws significant foot traffic throughout the year. The areas adjacent to the mural’s location include the EJ Gare Plaza (where various events are held including a weekly Farmer’s Market), Northampton’s largest parking garage, and a flat lot serving additional visitors. The area surrounding the mural is frequented by pedestrians and cyclists.

The wall to be painted measures approximately 49’ wide by 50’ high and includes 16 windows. An architectural plan for the wall is attached as are recent photos. The mural will begin at the awning’s roofline and continue to the top of the building’s parapet. The two existing signs on the wall will be removed prior to the mural’s installation.

We require the winning artist to use Smog Armor paint and primer products on 50% of the final work. (Smog Armor is lab tested and proven to reduce air pollution by up to 95.1% in 1 hour. Smog Armor Breathe is a non-toxic, zero-VOC, water-based paint, infused with our enhanced mineral, which attracts and neutralizes harmful air pollutants, including VOCs/airborne chemicals as well as carbon dioxide.)

We require at least two coats of paint applied for the mural to have the longevity of at least five years.

Artwork Goals

To create a decorative, large format design that is visually captivating, and will promote goodwill and tourism.

All styles of art will be considered.

The design should not be a Northampton-centric one, meaning it should not represent the history of the city and its surroundings in a literal fashion.


Professional mural artists over 18 and legally able to work onsite in the United States.

Application Requirements:

Work examples: 1 - 10.

Artwork Sample Information Sheet must include the name of the project, date, materials, commissioning organization, and budget.

Artists are allowed to apply in teams.

Artists applying as a team must split the allotted number of work examples between themselves.

Additional Requirements:

Artist biography OR CV

Demographic Profile (optional)

Social media information

Technical Experience Statement

2 Professional References

Selection Information

Selection Process

(1) Applicants will be initially screened by the stakeholder team to ensure they have submitted a complete qualifications package, and if anything is missing, the stakeholder team will contact them to provide additional information.

(2) Three finalists will be compensated $500 each and given time to create design concepts. The stakeholder team will review submitted design concepts and will identify the concept they wish to commission.

(3) The selected artist will enter into a commissioning agreement with the City of Northampton Department of Arts and Culture and Thornes Marketplace for the mural execution.

At all times, the selection process will adhere to the Northampton Arts Council’s established diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.

Selection Criteria

Although the artist pool itself is not juried, we anticipate that the following criteria will be used by the stakeholder group when identifying artists from the pool as finalists to create design proposals for specific murals:

Artistic quality: Does the artist have a signature style? What is the reputation of the artist for designs that include innovation, excitement, and “wow”?

Technical expertise: Does the artist have experience working at the very large scale that will be required? Has the artist successfully used the equipment that will be necessary to create the mural for the particular site?

Community engagement experience: Does the artist have experience listening to community-based stakeholders and translating their expressed thoughts into a final design?

Ease of process: Is the artist pleasant to work with? Is there a reasonable expectation that the project will be completed on time and within budget?


- Release of Request for Qualifications: Jun 15, 2022

- Deadline to submit artist information: Jul 15, 2022

- Design competition: August 1, 2022 - August 15, 2022
- Mural installation: Sep 1, 2022 - September 15, 2022

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