The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) is seeking a regional emerging or mid-career artist to pair with the artist selected to create a signature, site-specific work of art for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. The mentorship will last throughout the scheduled three- to four-year design, fabrication and installation process and provide the mentee with the opportunity to learn directly from an accomplished public artist and be part of a project that has the opportunity to become a visual icon for the airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and the Upper Midwest region.

The MAC is working with Via Partnership to help manage the selection process. The submission process is described below. The selected mentee will be provided with a stipend ranging from $5000 to $7000 annually for each of the three- to four-years of the project period. Materials are due April 6, 2018.


Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) is not part of any city but is nestled among several. The airport is surrounded by Minneapolis, Saint Paul and the suburban cities of Bloomington, Eagan, Mendota Heights and Richfield.

MSP ranked fifth among domestic airports in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Airports listing. The airport offers nonstop service to 155 national and international destinations and, in 2016, served over 37 million passengers. MSP’s two terminal buildings sit on 3,400 acres and the facility supports more than 76,000 jobs. The hardworking staff continues to improve the visitor experience both in front of and behind the scenes, garnering awards in numerous categories, including safety, fiscal management, labor relations, legal oversight, snow and ice control, concessions, airport design and development and marketing and communications.


Arts@MSP’s mission is to enhance the Airport’s image, enrich the public’s experience, and promote a sense of place through arts and culture. The Program accomplishes this mission through permanent installations, exhibitions, performance, arts programming, mentorships for artists and highlighting the cultural resources of the region. Through the framework of a 2008 Master Plan, the Program showcases the Upper Midwest’s diverse artistic community, natural environment, and cultural heritage. Multifaceted, dynamic, and supportive of both internal and external communities, the program delivers arts that transform Airport spaces, enhance the travel experience, and create a unique sense of place at MSP, making it more than an airport, but also a creative resource for the region.


Beginning in 2015 the Metropolitan Airports Commission began a project that will entirely transform Terminal 1-Lindbergh’s 54-year-old ticket lobby and baggage claim levels at MSP. Changes will make the facility more light-filled, open, efficient and roomy and ensure it can accommodate the growing number of travelers expected to visit MSP in the years ahead. The transformation will occur in phases through 2022.

Structural changes include replacing escalators and elevators, removing columns and providing an additional 16 feet of space in the ticketing hall, and developing a new atrium space connecting the ticketing hall and baggage claim levels. New finishes include terrazzo floors and furnishings. New meeter- greeter space and lounge facilities will provide places for airport customers to comfortably spend time pre-security.


The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has recently begun the process of commissioning an artist (project artist) to create a signature, site-specific work of art for MSP. The work will be commissioned in conjunction with Terminal 1-Lindbergh’s multi-phase improvement project. This artwork has the opportunity to become a visual icon for the airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and the region. MAC strives to commission a signature artwork to complement and promote the identity of the airport and connect the airport to the region.

The signature artwork will be located in an atrium at MSP, which is a full two stories in height. Both levels of the atrium serve as important points for welcoming travelers to MSP and wishing them well as they depart. The top atrium level is designed as a pre-security gathering place for travelers and will be surrounded by seating, food and beverage and an information desk. The light-filled space will serve as a comfortable resting spot for those preparing to depart and a picturesque area for friends and families to bid each other safe travels. The atrium area below is another gathering place for travelers awaiting baggage or ground transportation, as well as people greeting arriving friends and family.

The signature artwork will be created to fit within the 36’l x 16.5’w x 40’h atrium opening. The artwork will serve to visually unify these two levels while anchoring the central gathering space on both the departure and arrival floors. The signature artwork will fulfill the mission and goals of the MSP Arts and Culture Master Plan to create a welcoming atmosphere and the program’s mission to enhance MSP Airport’s image, enrich the public’s experience, and promote a sense of place through arts and culture. Work could be anchored to the floor, suspended from the ceiling, utilize the fascia between the two floors, or be otherwise situated in the space. The project artist will have the opportunity to collaborate with the design team for the T1-L Operational Improvements: Arrivals|Departures Project. The artist commissioned for this project will help to select a regional emerging or mid-career artist whom they will mentor throughout the design, fabrication, and installation process.


The MAC is currently in the process of selecting a senior-level artist (project artist) from an international pool of artists to create a signature, site-specific work of art for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. This artist will be paired with a regional emerging or mid-career artist (mentee) to provide the mentee with hands-on experience throughout the scheduled three- to four-year design, fabrication and installation process.

The mentorship is designed to serve the regional art ecosystem and remove barriers for historically under-represented artists by providing hands-on experience with a large-scale, site-specific art commission. Through a mutually beneficial relationship, the project artist and mentee will exchange information and develop skills and ideas. The mentee will assist the project artist throughout the process and will provide a valuable window into the regional arts community while gaining knowledge, skills and connections through a direct apprenticeship with an accomplished public artist.

The project artist will be responsible for establishing a scope of work for the mentee. This could include attending planning and community engagement meetings; conducting research regarding materials, design issues and building codes; corresponding with collaborating parties; and other duties that relate to the design, fabrication and installation of the artwork. In addition to the duties assigned by the project artist, the mentee will be expected to document their role in the project, tasks performed and upcoming goals and expectations and provide updates to the MAC at regular installments.


The MSP Arts and Culture Steering Committee has set the following goals for the mentorship:

  • Provide an opportunity for a regional emerging or mid-career artist to assist the project artist and participate throughout the full process of designing, fabricating and installing a signature piece of artwork for MSP that will become a symbol for the airport and the region.
  • Contribute to the local arts ecosystem by providing an opportunity for the selected regional mentee artist to gain technical and administrative experience needed to compete within the field of public art locally and nationally.
  • Support the senior-level project artist with the assistance of an experienced artist (mentee) with ties to the region in order to ensure that the signature artwork complements and promotes the identity of the airport and the region.
  • Encourage female artists and artists from historically under-represented communities and communities of color to apply for the mentee position in order to foster professional growth and artistic opportunities.
  • Ensure a sense of community pride in the artwork by encouraging the mentee to actively participate in the local community engagement throughout the design process.


The signature artwork project will enhance the experience for all MSP patrons. This mentorship ensures that the process of creating the artwork will also contribute to the local art ecosystem and provide learning opportunities for regional artists and the broader community.

While the mentee’s final scope of work will be determined by the project artist, anticipated tasks include:

  • Identify specific personal goals for their role in the development of the signature artwork, communicate these to the project artist and establish an agreed-upon set of goals with the project artist.
  • Attend one or more community meetings organized by Arts@MSP with the project artist during the design development process. During the community meeting(s), the mentee will make a brief presentation about their previous experience and their role in the project.
  • Join the project artist in a design workshop with MAC capital project team and their consultants to review the designs for the Terminal 1-Lindbergh improvements, the details of the atrium space and other technical and aesthetic aspects of the project.
  • Participate with the project artist in presenting the concept proposal for the Signature Project to the Artist Selection Committee. The concept proposal will include a narrative description of the proposed project, renderings from multiple vantage points and a preliminary budget and schedule.
  • Attend a dedication event and other community events as requested by the MAC.
  • Document their role in the project, tasks performed, and upcoming goals and expectations and provide updates to the MAC at regular installments throughout the project.
  • Additional tasks may include attending planning meetings; conducting research regarding materials, design issues and building codes; assisting in project coordination; and other duties that relate to the design, fabrication and installation of the artwork.


The selected artist will be paid a stipend ranging from $5000 to $7000 annually at pre-arranged installments for each of the three- to four-years of the project period. The final stipend amount will be determined by the scope of work established in collaboration with the project artist, and must cover all related and incurred costs, including time and travel.

Selection Process

Submittals will be reviewed by an Artist Selection Committee (ASC) made up of regional arts professionals, artists, community leaders and airport representatives. The ASC will review all qualifications and select 5-8 finalists to be reviewed by the senior-level project artist. He or she will select 3-5 artists to interview. From this group, the project artist will recommend a single mentee artist for approval by the ASC and the MSP Arts and Culture Steering Committee.

The selected emerging or mid-career mentee artist will be placed under contract and will receive a stipend paid at project milestones by the MAC.

Eligibility Criteria

The mentorship is open to artists who meet the following criteria:

  • Have resided within 150 miles of the MSP airport for at least 12 months in the past 3 years.
  • Are professional artists interested in pursuing a career in public art, but have not yet received a permanent public art commission with a budget of over $25,000. For this purpose a permanent public art commission is defined as a work of art created for a public agency, private business, corporation or individual and displayed in a public location.
  • Are available to meet the project timeline.

Selection Criteria

  • Artistic excellence and potential or demonstrated skill as shown by past work and submitted materials.
  • A demonstrated interest in working within the public art field.
  • Willingness to work with project artist to successfully complete the signature project for MSP.
  • Willingness to both learn from and accept feedback from the senior-level project artist.

Pursuant to 49 CFR part 26, it is the policy of MAC to practice nondiscrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin in the award of this mentorship. MAC encourages participation by all artists qualifying under this solicitation regardless of business size or ownership.

MAC, in accordance with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat. 252, 42 USC §§ 2000d to 2000d-4) and the Regulations, hereby notifies all bidders or offerors that it will affirmatively ensure that any contract entered into pursuant to this advertisement, disadvantaged business enterprises will be afforded full and fair opportunity to submit bids in response to this invitation and will not be discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, or national origin in consideration for an award.

The provisions of 49 USC Section 50104 and 49 CFR Part 30 (regarding trade restriction certification) are incorporated by reference into this solicitation.


April 6, 2018 Qualifications due

April 2018 ASC reviews qualifications and develops pool of candidates. Project artist reviews candidate qualifications and conducts interviews.

May 2018 Mentee artist is selected and participates in a workshop with the project artist and the Terminal 1-Lindbergh design team and in community meetings.

May-July 2018 Work with project artist as they develop a concept design.

July 2018 Participates in project artist’s concept design presentation to ASC. Participates in project artist’s concept design presentation to MAC Commission.

Aug-Dec 2018 Performs tasks as needed by project artist as they develop final design and engineered drawings of approved concept design with design team.

Jan 2019 Approval of final design and engineering plans by MAC.

2020 Performs tasks as needed by project artist as they fabricate artwork.

2021 Performs tasks as needed by project artist as they install artwork.


Please send us the following materials by April 6, 2018:

  • A brief letter describing your ties to the regional arts community, your interest in a future career in public art, and confirming your ability to meet the project timeline.
  • A CV/resume and contact information for 3-5 references.
  • 8-12 jpeg images of previously completed projects that show your abilities and experience. Artwork with sound or motion may be submitted as short MP4 files.
  • A corresponding image list with title, medium, dimensions, brief description, location, date of work, and commissioning entity and budget/price (if applicable).


Please email your materials to Angie Villa at For questions email or call Angie at 314-735-9268.

Please save written materials as a PDF and images in JPEG format (at least 300 dpi). If you email, please use a file sharing service such as a Dropbox or Hightail.

The ASC, the MSP Arts and Culture Steering Committee, and MAC reserve the right to reject any and all submissions, to re-advertise or solicit additional submissions, to waive minor irregularities and informalities, to request additional information or clarifications, to adjust deadlines, and to negotiate with any, all or reject all of the artists.


All data submitted to MAC is governed by the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Under Minn. Stat. § 13.591, at the time and date submissions are due, the submitter’s name becomes public information. All other information submitted does not become public until MAC has completed negotiating the contract with the selected artist. At that time, all information in the submissions becomes public, with the exception of trade secret data under Minn. Stat. § 13.37.

During the evaluation process, submitters cannot look at submissions by others or data created as part of the selection or evaluation process. However, in MAC’s public Committee and Commission meetings, Commissioners are able to publicly discuss any information in the submissions to the extent reasonably necessary to conduct the business at hand.

By making a submission, you acknowledge that all information is subject to potential disclosure and agree that MAC will have no liability for any such disclosure.

Persons who supply data about themselves in response to this Request for Artist Submissions are entitled to know the following information:

  1. The information requested will be used to evaluate the submissions;
  2. You are not legally required to supply this information;
  3. Failure to supply information may result in a determination that the submission is nonresponsive; and
  4. The public is authorized by law to receive information that is not classified by law as private, confidential, or nonpublic data.