Call for Proposals: Founders Park Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit in Johnson City, TN

Call for Proposals: Founders Park Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit in Johnson City, TN

Exhibition dates: June 2021 – May 2023

Issued by the Public Art Committee of Johnson City, TN June 2021-May 2023 cycle The Public Art Committee of Johnson City, Tenn., is seeking pieces of leasable outdoor sculpture to be installed for two years in Founders Park and several other sites in Johnson City.

Compensation to the selected artists will be provided by private donations. Each artist will receive a $2,000 stipend (per piece), exposure on the city’s website, including a new virtual map and tour of all public art installations, and other related media.

This sculpture exhibition, primarily located in Founders Park, is part of a larger greenway vision for the city. The greenway includes areas of pollinator plants and sites for public art, in addition to functional items such as benches, planters, educational kiosks, an outdoor events facility used by various vendors like the local farmers market, and bike racks. The greenway plan is visualized as both symbolic and practical: feeding culture and commerce between the community and university, as well as physically nurturing the environment by providing a habitat that is beneficial to all.

Johnson City
The eighth-largest city in Tennessee, with a population of close to 67,000, Johnson City was founded in 1856 and later became a major rail hub for the Southeast. Johnson City is distinguished as a community that embraces art, the environment, commerce, science, community, and education. It is home to a broad-based economy and to East Tennessee State University. Johnson City, with an elevation of over 2,000 feet, is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Farmland, undulating hills, lush valleys, and many lakes and rivers surround it. Johnson City has an abundance of unspoiled natural beauty and four distinct seasons.

Selection and Guest Curator
The guest curator for this year’s exhibition will be Jason Sheridan Brown. Brown received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999, and has been teaching Sculpture at the University of Tennessee since 2001. His artwork has been exhibited nationally, including solo and group exhibitions in 22 states, and internationally in Canada and New Zealand. His public art projects include large-scale outdoor sculpture installations at the Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, Kentucky, and Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minnesota. Brown is involved in a number of collaborative public art projects in an effort to engage in civic dialogues about individual, community, and place. In addition to teaching and making art, Brown is involved with a number of professional and community organizations. He has been president of the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance board of directors since 2018.

Eligibility: The exhibition is open to all artists, preferably professional sculptors, who are at least 18 years of age and reside in the United States. City of Johnson City employees and members of the Johnson City Public Art Committee are not eligible to apply.

Sculpture: The committee is seeking original art works that may be functional or nonfunctional, temporary or permanent work in any media suitable for outdoor public space. All sculpture must meet the following basic requirements:

1. The work must be structurally sound so as to stand-alone or to be secured to a concrete pad. The project must be of a scale large enough to be clearly visible.

2. The work must be capable of withstanding adverse weather conditions, including hot summers, cold winters, rain, wind, and snow. Founders Park may occasionally flood; sculptures should be able to withstand brief and occasional periods of water around the base.

3. The work must be suitable for pedestrian interaction with a low exposure to injury. The public must be protected from possible injury from materials and the work must not include moving parts.

4. The work must be original and preferably (but not required) be relatable to features of Johnson City and the greenway vision plan.

5. The work must be available for a period of two years, from installation in late May 2021 to removal in early May 2023.

General Information
Installation: Selected Artists are responsible for transportation of their work to and from the site and are encouraged to be on site to oversee installation. Installation costs regarding site preparation will not be the responsibility of the Artist. In addition, the City will provide adequate staff and any heavy equipment required (i.e. crane or forklift) to assist Artist with installation.

Stipend/Awards: Upon the successful installation of selected sculpture the Artist will receive a $2000.00 stipend for the 24-month lease of the piece. Hotel accommodations for a total of 1 night will be provided by the City of Johnson City, Public Works Department, to accepted artists for installation.

Purchases: Negotiation and sale of the sculpture is the responsibility of the Artist, however the Public Art Committee of Johnson City will make every good effort to promote the artists’ work to potential buyers. Artist shall pay the Johnson City Parks & Recreation Foundation a fee of twenty percent (20%) of any sale while on exhibit or within six (6) months thereafter. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the Public Art Committee may recommend one or more works be purchased by the City for inclusion in Johnson City’s permanent collection.

Additional Information

  • Artists chosen shall enter into a contract with the City and in that will agree to temporarily loan sculpture to the City and in return the City agrees to temporarily display Artist’s sculpture.
  • Artist has full legal title and copyrights to the sculpture while on temporary loan to the City.
  • Artist shall be responsible for maintaining sculpture. City shall be responsible for maintaining exhibition site.

Because the City of Johnson City is self-insured, each Artist shall be solely responsible for providing all risk property insurance coverage for the sculpture while on loan and during transportation to and removal from the exhibit site. The Artist shall provide the City of Johnson City with a $1 million liability insurance policy with the City of Johnson City named as the Additional Insured for the duration of the exhibit prior to installation of the sculpture.

Exhibition Calendar:

  • Dates for upload of applications to web site: Oct 20, 2020-Feb 28, 2021
  • Notification to selected artists: March 30, 2021
  • Installation of sculptures: May 15-30, 2021
  • Founders Park Sculpture Tour with Curator: date to be determined

Johnson City Founders Park Sculpture Application Guidelines

Artists may submit up to 5 pieces for consideration. These must all be available for display during the May 2021-May 2023 time period.

Artists must submit a digital packet at

o Cover Letter/Letter of Intent – Letter of intent, not to exceed one page for each sculpture, that includes a description of the sculptures and the media in which the sculptures were fabricated. Label each sculpture description as indicated below.

o Resume Tab (All One Document) – Recent CV and brief artists’ statement (150 words max), Image Detail sheet with one thumbnail view of each piece submitted. Label each image with: Entry #, title, medium, date completed, dimensions, and price

o Two images of each submitted piece – Please label images this way: LASTNAME.#.title.jpeg. For each entry use a new number, i.e #1A, #1B for two views of first entry, and so on.

o Three Professional References – each of whom can speak to your qualifications, with phone and email contact information

o Entries must be submitted by 5 pm on Feb 28, 2021.

Questions regarding the sculpture competition?

Nancy Fischman (Public Art Committee member and chair of the Leased Art Project subcommittee) [email protected]

Point of Contact for General Information only:

Phil Pindzola, Director of Public Works City of Johnson City
[email protected]

The virtual interactive map of public art in Johnson City and site photos are available at You can see examples of previous sculpture rounds at and take a virtual tour of our current downtown art exhibitions at