Request for Qualifications: Leslie Nymark Public Art Public Project, Toronto


Call to Artists: Request for Qualifications
Leslie Nymark Public Art Public Project, Toronto

Art Starts and the STEPS Initiative is launching a Call to Artists – Request for Qualifications for an exciting public art project in the Leslie Nymark community, Toronto.

Ontario-based artists or collectives are invited to submit Requests for Qualification (RFQ) for the community engaged public art project. Deadline to apply is March 27th, 2020 at 2 pm.

The selected artist or collective will be working closely with the community to create a shared vision for the artistic use of the public space. This project represents a return home for many Villaways residents, and the new public artwork is to be reflective of the character, qualities and history of the community.


This project is led through a collaboration between Art Starts and the STEPS Initiative (STEPS): two innovators in public and community art in Toronto. This project is made possible through the generous commissioning of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Tridel.

In 2007, Art Starts began working with the Villaways community after receiving an invitation from residents and local agencies. For 10 years, Art Starts ran weekly art programs at a TCHC townhouse which was converted
into an active art studio.

In 2017, a revitalization of the Villaways neighbourhood began and residents were relocated for the new Leslie Nymark development to begin. Art Starts has continued to support residents post-relocation through a variety of art-based reunion activities and events, providing a platform for residents to express themselves and connect with each other, reducing isolation and supporting residents during this challenging time. Currently, former Villaways residents await the completion of the construction project for their eventual
return in early 2021.

STEPS has been invited to collaborate with Art Starts to present this Request for Qualifications and co-facilitate with Arts Starts the jury process and artist selection. STEPS will project manage production, and installation of this Public Art Project.

Locations for Artwork


Two sites have been selected for this Call. Artists or collectives may apply to one of the two public art locations outlined below. Both sites will be visible to the public and will be used by the residents of the Leslie Nymark community and include a range of demographics, from children to seniors.

Application Process

Selection Process:

The commissioned artwork will be chosen through a competitive two-stage selection process:

  • The first stage will shortlist four (4) applicants based on qualifications demonstrated from the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, portfolio of work, and experience with community engagement;
  • In the second stage, each of the four (4) artists or artist teams/collectives will visit the site, meeting representatives from the production team and community;
  • Following the visit, each of the four (4) artists or artist teams/collectives will create a detailed artist proposal including written information, a budget, preliminary engagement strategy and/ or approach to emerging artist mentorship, names of anticipated consultant, fabricator and artist mentees, if applicable, maquette and other descriptive presentation materials as needed to fully describe the concept intent;
  • Shortlisted artists will be provided with a fee of $1,200 CAD (inclusive) for the site visit, development of the detailed artist proposal and presentation of the proposals to the community;
  • The artist or artist teams/collectives will present their detailed artist proposal to the community for feedback. The response from the community of residents will inform the jury evaluation process.
  • One artist or artist team/collective will be selected by the Jury Committee based on the full project proposal from the shortlisted applicants and community feedback;
  • Once selected and under contract, the commissioned artist or artist team/collective will further develop their concept in collaboration with the community, TCHC and Tridel and technical consultants. An artist or artist team/collective who chooses to mentor an emerging artist will still be required to facilitate conversations with the community that inform the final design.

The Jury Committee members will include representation as follows: residents of the Leslie Nymark community, other artists, and TCHC and Tridel representatives. STEPS and Art Starts will facilitate. The Jury Committee is under no obligation to choose any finalists. All decisions of the Jury Committee are final.

Submission Requirements

  1. Submission Form: Completed in full and signed.
  2. Letter of Intent: One page maximum. A letter outlining your interest in this project, including its relationship to your artistic practice, your history with community engagement and your approach to public art creation.
  3. Artistic Statement and Bio: One page maximum.
  4. References: Contact information (current email and phone number) of three (3) references, with a minimum of one (1) from either a public art commissioning client, consultant, agent or gallery. Please identify their role/ affiliation. Reference letters are not required.
  5. Curriculum Vitae: Three page maximum. Detail professional experience as an artist, past public art experience, community engagement experience and other information relevant to this Call. If applying as a team/collective, please identify all members and include a CV for each.
  6. Support Material List: A written list that clearly outlines the Visual Support Material (below) with corresponding titles and numbers. For previous works, include the following details in order of; Title, date, location, commissioning agent (if applicable), budget, medium/ materials, size and a brief description of the work (maximum 50 words).
  7. Visual Support Material: Previous artworks and/ or public artworks that illustrate a related body of work to the scope of this project. Include 5 images, JPEG files only please (max 1024px x 768px). We will not accept PDF, PPT, or tiff formats. Clearly number and title each image to correspond to the Support Material List. Title images as Last Name_First Name_image number.jpg. Short videos (maximum 3 minutes) are an acceptable “image” to describe a project, if relevant. Acceptable formats: YouTube link, MOV (QuickTime Video), MP4 files only.

Deadline: Friday, March 27th, 2020 at 2pm. Submissions must be submitted through website.

Parul Pandya,, 416-656-9994