Freedom Cornerstone

Call to Artists for the design of a Public Art Cornerstone, including site design, for the Downtown Greenway Greensboro, NC

Action Greensboro seeks submissions of interest and qualifications from professional Artists residing in the United States. Preference will be given to artists who have experience telling stories of African American history and culture through their public art. The Selected Artist will lead their own team to design, fabricate and install the last of four major public art cornerstones for the Downtown Greenway in Greensboro, NC. This project requires that the Artist and their Team also design a comprehensive plan for the site itself, to include landscaping and the placement of site furnishings. Individual Artists are welcome to apply, but must be willing to develop their work in collaboration with a larger team of city planners, local designers and landscape architects. The selected Artist will be responsible for working within a budget that includes funding for both the artwork itself as well as the installation of the site design and any landscaping.

Project Overview

The Downtown Greenway, a nearly-complete 4-mile walking and biking greenway, was conceptualized to celebrate the unique qualities of Greensboro, North Carolina and its citizens, and to stimulate economic development and revitalize downtown. The Downtown Greenway will encircle the city’s central business district and will enhance the urban landscape with aesthetically pleasing spaces that promote fitness, connectedness, and well-being for both residents and visitors. With its emphasis on public art, the Downtown Greenway will tell the story of our city and engage users of the trail in unique and authentic ways. In addition, with connections to other existing and planned greenway systems throughout the city and Guilford County, the Downtown Greenway will connect residents from all parts of the community and beyond. The Downtown Greenway is a collaborative, public/private partnership between the City of Greensboro and Action Greensboro. Action Greensboro is a leading voice in urban livability, civic engagement, K-12 educational advancement, and initiatives to attract and retain young professionals in Greensboro. Established in 2001, the non-profit organization has championed a variety of initiatives aimed at enhancing the city’s quality of life.

From its earliest planning stages, Greensboro’s Downtown Greenway planners determined that visually engaging public art of various types and scale would be an important feature. The Downtown Greenway is anchored in each of its four corners by a major, site-specific public artwork that celebrates the legacy of the city. Each Cornerstone incorporates one of four themes chosen to reflect Greensboro’s unique character—Motion (celebrating the intersection of railroad lines and highways that encouraged Greensboro’s growth as well as the role of education in our city with seven institutions of higher learning here), Tradition (incorporating, in part, the role Greensboro played in the Revolutionary War with the Battle of Guilford Courthouse), Innovation (referring to Greensboro’s entrepreneurial spirit and the role of the textile industry in making Greensboro what it is today), and Freedom (referring to Greensboro’s role in the national Civil Rights Movement with our local Sit-In Movement). Other pieces of public art have been and will be commissioned as sites are identified and construction progresses. To date, more than 15 public artworks of various type and scale, including Cornerstones, benches, bicycle racks and other special features, have been installed on the Downtown Greenway.

Public art created for the Downtown Greenway should celebrate both a forward-looking aesthetic and vision, as well as honor the historical record of the past. A link to the Downtown Greenway website with more information about previously commissioned public art for the Greenway is provided here.

Freedom Cornerstone (Southeast Cornerstone)

This fourth and final Cornerstone commission will be known as the Freedom Cornerstone. The theme of “Freedom” was inspired by the City’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, especially the non-violent protests of the pivotal 1960 Greensboro lunch-counter sit-ins that served as a catalyst to the larger movement. Racial justice and equity have played an important role in shaping our city and defining its identity. The selected artist will be asked to explore this history in depth as they conceive of a vision for the artwork. The site for this Cornerstone is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of North Murrow Blvd and East Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro, NC 27401, a highly visible location situated on a main east/west corridor leading into Greensboro’s city center.

In addition to the artwork, the Artist will be responsible for the design of the entire site and overseeing its installation, including landscape features, lighting, and walkways and/or paths.

Standard site furnishings including trash receptacles, a drinking fountain, and benches, should be included in the overall plan design, but have already been selected, and will be expensed as part of a separate budget. Additionally, an artist-designed bicycle rack, also funded separately, should be included in the site plan design, and may be designed, fabricated and installed by the selected Artist if desired.

The Artist and representatives from their Team will be required to oversee community engagement and public input. This includes conceptualizing the format of, leading, and attending at least two community meetings held to gather public input and comments. Downtown Greenway planners will assist with the coordination and publicizing of these community meetings. The Artist will use input gathered from these meetings to inform the design of the Cornerstone and surrounding site.

This section of the Downtown Greenway serves as an important connector to an extensive network of Greensboro Parks and Recreation greenways and facilities and downtown Greensboro venues—both historic and new. Among them are the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University campus (established in 1890 to serve the state’s black youth), the Union Square Campus (opened in 2016 as an innovative nursing instruction center), Studio 503 (a workspace and venue for artists and other creatives), “Downtown East” (a planned multi-million dollar multi-use development by the United House of Prayer for All People), downtown Greensboro’s important South Elm retail district (home to several entrepreneurial small businesses, the Forge maker space, numerous restaurants, and the elsewhere artist collaborative), and the International Civil Rights Museum.

The Cornerstone itself shall be designed within the following directive: visibility from passing traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, is desired, so scale and impact is important to us. We will ask the selected artist to conceive of a design that will address this requirement. 

The Cornerstone will be installed on an irregularly shaped site that is approximately .5 acre. Download maps of the area below:

The Budget:

The budget for the design, fabrication and installation of this Cornerstone and the surrounding site is $350,000.

The budget shall be allocated as follows: Artwork, $200,000; Site costs and landscaping, $150,000.

The budget includes all costs: i.e. any costs associated with the design and installation of both the Cornerstone artwork and any required base, and the site design and construction, including materials, engineering, fabrication, lighting, installation, landscaping, pathways, insurance, cost of any required permits, sales tax and travel and transportation with the exception of items mentioned previously. Anti- graffiti coating may also be required, depending on the final, approved design.

Artist Eligibility

Action Greensboro’s “Call to Artists” for the Innovation Cornerstone is open to all professional Artists who reside in the United States with experience in implementing and working in the public arena. Artists will be responsible for assembling a team with which he or she will work to design the overall site, or, alternatively, the Artist will, with the assistance of Greenway Planners, identify and work directly with local designers, engineers and city agency representatives. Artists must be able to effectively work within the project timeline and budget, and collaborate with multiple governmental and community agencies.

Application Process

Action Greensboro will manage the application and selection process. An Art Selection Panel will review applications. The twelve-member Panel includes local arts professionals, and city, community, and business representatives. The Art Selection Panel will review submissions, then conduct phone interviews with a selection of Artists and/or Artist Teams. Up to 3 candidates will be chosen from those interviewed by phone, and will receive a Proposal Fee of $500 to formulate a preliminary concept.  The Artists and representatives from their Team will be asked to travel to Greensboro to present their concept in person to the Art Selection Panel, and a finalist will be chosen through that process. The Artist may submit receipts for travel for this visit for reimbursement.

Approximate Timeline

Deadline for Submissions: Received no later than 5pm, August 21, 2019

Semi-finalists Advised        August 29—30

Phone Interviews:             Week of September 10, 2019

Second Round finalists:     September 17, 2019

Artist Visits:                      October 2019 (to present preliminary concept)

Finalist Selection:              November 17, 2019

Visit for Public Input           November-January 2019

Final Proposal due:           January 30, 2020

Design Review/Revisions: February 2020

Fabrication:                       March-August 2020

Installation:                       September-October 2020

Application Requirements & Submission Instructions and Materials

Applications accepted through the CODAworx RFP portal.

1. Sign up for a free account at to start an application.

2. You may return to your application before it is submitted by logging in on CODAworx, clicking your name in the top right, and selecting “RFP Dashboard”.

Required information for this application:

Please submit all documents as a PDF.

Application Requirements & Submission Instructions and Materials

Applications accepted through the CODAworx RFP portal.

1. Sign up for a free account at to start an application.

2. You may return to your application before it is submitted by logging in on CODAworx, clicking your name in the top right, and selecting “RFP Dashboard”.

Required information for this application: Please submit all documents as a PDF.

1.. Résumé/CV

Submit a brief, current résumé or CV including:

Contact information

Your web address

Previous relevant art commissions

Design team experience

Exhibitions, awards, grants


Name this PDF using the artist’s last name and first name followed by _Resume.

For example:      SmithWyn_Resume

Note: If submitting as a team, compile all résumés into a single document.

2. Letter of Interest

Please include a one-page letter that includes the following:

Name, address, telephone, email contact information and any relevant websites or links. If known, the Artist should also include the names and contact information for Team members with whom the Artist plans to collaborate.

Your interest in this project and your experience working on comparable projects.

Include your experience with architectural and engineering project teams.

Include your philosophy on commissioned art, its integration into surrounding environment and how your work and experience will complement this project.

Describe how your experience fits the criteria outlined for this project from the Selection Criteria section of this RFQ

Name this PDF using the lead artist’s last name and first name followed by _LOI.

For example:      SmithWyn_LOI

3. Artwork Images

In the “Images of Your Work” section of your application on CODAworx, please submit at least three (3) and up to five (5) different completed artworks or past commissions.

For each completed artwork, you will be prompted to upload a single main image and specify the title of the artwork, location, year completed, budget, medium, and dimensions.

You have the option to provide more images and information for your completed artwork by publishing a CODAworx “project”. With a CODAworx “project” you can include additional images and more information about your project or artwork. When complete, include the link to the “project” with the main image. Follow the link below to publish the additional images and information for your application:

Images must be JPEG file format with a minimum of 620px width and a maximum file size of 5MB. Horizontal images are recommended.

4. Annotated List for Images

We require an annotated PDF list of all images that includes the name of artist, title of work, media, location of artwork, project budget, and any other relevant information.

Name this document using the artist’s last name and first name followed by _ImageList.

For example: SmithWyn_ImageList

5. References

Name and contact information for at least three (3) professional references who have detailed knowledge of the artist’s work and working methods, including fulfilling deadlines, working with the community, etc. Include contact name, organization, address, telephone, and email for each reference.

Note:  If available would like to see at least one reference included with whom the artist has worked to design and install public art in collaboration with engineers and contractors for the development of an entire site.

Name this document using the artist’s last name and first name followed by _References. For example: SmithWyn_References

Visit our web site for further information about the Downtown Greenway:

Please contact Barbara Peck at with any questions.

Click here to download the Freedom Cornerstone Call to Artist pdf.