Needham Heights Mural Project

Request For Qualifications- Needham Heights Mural Project

The Needham Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), on behalf of the Town of Needham, MA, has announced a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the “Needham Heights Mural Project.” The NCAC is requesting qualifications from professional muralists to paint the side of a commercial building in Needham Heights. The mural’s objective is to, “enliven and educate the town with public art that connects and inspires the community.” (NCAC FY22 Public Art Objectives).  The mural design should also reflect Needham as a welcoming and inclusive community. The NCAC would like to bring its first professionally painted mural to Needham Heights in the Spring of 2023.

Grant funding for this mural has been secured from the Town of Needham through The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The NCAC will grant $20,000 toward the completion of two murals. The mural projects along with funding will be given to artists that show they have been economically impacted by the Coronavirus public health crisis. The Needham Heights Mural Project using ARPA funds is intended to hire a professional artist at a time when many cultural workers are suffering because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The NCAC hopes that, much like the prolific WPA Murals of the 1930s, hiring mural artists to create uplifting paintings will provide artists with work opportunities as well as create meaningful and lasting works of art for the community. 

Location Description and Map:

The location of the identified mural will be on the side of a busy retail building located at West Street and Highland Avenue in Needham Heights.  This commercial property is home to many thriving businesses and this work of art will be the first to be sited in this cherished and prominent neighborhood location.

Location map

Mural Location 2 

Design Requirements:

Arts and Culture are powerful tools for communicating values, connecting neighborhoods, and inspiring a sense of unity for all who live, work and visit. The NCAC hopes that the artist, with community engagement, will create a mural that will communicate a message that inspires, connects, and reflects the diversity of the people of Needham.

The design may be representational or abstract but should be appropriate for Needham’s community setting and acceptable to a broad audience of all ages. The design cannot include logos, copyrighted or trademarked images, or be a form of signage or advertising in any way, other than non-copyrighted words or phrases that may be incorporated into the design. The approximate size of the wall for the mural project is 70’ by 20’.  

2022/2023 Timeline:

April 27 
 Announcement of RFQ
June 8    
Artist RFQ deadline, 5pm
June 21   
Finalist(s) selection notification by NCAC
September 15/Date TBD
Finalist(s) required Community Engagement Session
October 30
Finalist(s) design proposal due
November 15
Selection Committee chooses 1 design to proceed for review
November 30  
Anticipated review process by NCAC, Select Board, Design Review Board, Site Representative        
January 15 
Anticipated review process by Town Counsel and Contract Signed
Beginning Spring 2023
Anticipated installation date 


Budget Information:

Selected finalists must submit an all-inclusive mural budget of up to $14,000. The budget may include but is not limited to artist design fees, supplies, equipment, equipment training costs, labor, liability insurance, travel costs, and police detail if needed. The artist design fee should not exceed 25% of the entire budget.

Eligibility Requirements:

1.    To be eligible, applicants must submit an affadavit verifying that you have been negatively affected financially due to the ongoing public health crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. We understand that all artists have been impacted greatly by the pandemic, this affadavit is a requirement for the use of ARPA funding. Please click here for a copy of the affadavit which must be signed and submitted with your application 

2.    Applicants should have an interest in working with the Needham community.  Priority will be given to applicants with a connection to the region.

3.    Applicants should have a relevant body of work with completed projects of similar size and scale. 

4.    Ability to demonstrate understanding of large works and knowledge of durable materials and response to environmental conditions is necessary.

5.    Applicants must have experience in being able to work within a budget.  The selected finalist(s) must submit a proposed budget.

6.    Applicants must have experience working with community stakeholders. The selected finalist(s) must attend a community engagement session hosted in collaboration with the NCAC. This session is intended to share information and gather input for the design proposal. 

7.    Eligible applications must include a completed online application.

Evaluation Criteria:

    Artistic quality is exemplified in application work samples and statements.

    Ability to work within the approved budget.

    Ability to work with multiple stakeholders within the town.

    Ability to think and work on a scale appropriate for outdoor public artwork.

    Ability to convey community values and aspirations in completed artwork.

    Ability to submit complete qualifications by the due date: June 8, 2022.

Selection Information:

The Selection Committee will make a recommendation to the NCAC for 1-3 finalists to create a design proposal. Finalist(s) will be paid a $500 honorarium to create a proposal based on the design requirements, technical specifications, stakeholder input, and input that comes from a community engagement session. The NCAC selection committee will then choose the final proposal to be submitted for review by the Select Board, Design Review Board, Site Location Representative, and Town Counsel. 

The selected finalist(s) with the winning design will be required to enter into an agreement with the Town of Needham and abide by the terms and conditions included. The final design installed must very closely resemble the art that is painted on the site.

The Selection Committee will be composed of at least 3 members of NCAC’s Public Art Committee and 3 other community members.  Out of the 3 community members, one should be a visual artist, one a resident of Needham Heights, and one a youth representative under the age of 18. 

Submission Process:

Artists must complete the online application found here by 5 pm on June 8, 2022. The Selection Committee will review qualifications and notify 1-3 finalists by July 21, 2022.  Finalists will then receive a $500 honorarium upon submission of a final design proposal, attendance at a community engagement session, and a proposed budget.  The NCAC reserves all rights to select or not select the final design proposal for installation.

Technical Specification:

The mural will be painted directly on the painted brick wall and is subject to sun and prevailing wind and rain.  Artists must demonstrate a technical understanding of appropriate materials and installation guidelines for durability, longevity, and safety. The artist or artist team must work with appropriate parties to coordinate a safe installation plan. This may potentially include but is not limited to artist fees, supplies, equipment, labor, liability insurance, and police detail if needed.