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FY20 Playable Art DC

Opportunity for USA Artists and Design Professionals
to Participate in a Placemaking Design Competition

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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District of Columbia Commission on Arts and Humanities (CAH) and District of Columbia Office of Planning (DCOP)

Deadline Date:

08/23/19 4:00 PM ET Receipt


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Opportunity for USA artists, teams of artists, engineers, architects, landscape architects, planners, and urban, product, and industrial designers to compete for a $50,000 to $90,000 prize to design a creative placemaking project for a pre-selected site in Washington, DC. Eligible contest participants will plan, construct, and install playful artistic works in the creation of playable outdoor public spaces.

The CAH and DCOP seek artists and design professionals with prior site-specific public art experience to design, fabricate and install playable artworks at three unique sites in Washington, DC. This design competition includes two selection processes qualifications and site specific designs. The intention is to create engaging and playful works of art that will be a source of neighborhood pride for all residents.

Playable Art DC challenges artists and designers to re-think the design and role of play in their communities by combining play with the creative and placemaking aspects of public art. Through this competition, artwork is sought that will:

  • Incorporate play into everyday spaces of sidewalks, small parks, and plazas;
  • Bring people together around play by designing works that engage children, as well as adults and youth; and
  • Create play environments that are multifunctional and adaptive to users' creativity and interpretation.

The DCOP has selected the following 3 communities, all lacking in access to play space, to be home to Playable Art installations: 

  1.  Anacostia Library in Ward 8
  2.  Greenway Neighborhood in Ward 7
  3.  Kennedy St. in Ward 5

For Examples of Allowable Costs, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186477

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Honorarium Award Amount: $2,250 (Award) per application
- Final Project Award Amount: $50,000-$90,000 (Award) per site location

Term of Contract:

The grant period is from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020. Grant funds may not be used for activities that occur outside of this grant period.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility requirements:

- Artist*/Lead Artist* residing in the USA, aged 18 or older
- Artist/Artist team* is a practicing professional artist with a minimum of four years demonstrated large-scale fabrication and installation experience.
- Artist/Lead artist have a permanent US address, as listed on legal identification and tax returns.

*Artist/Lead Artist/Artist team is defined to include architects, artists, engineers, landscape architects, planners, urban designers, lighting designers, product and industrial designers.

For more details on eligibility requirements of applicants, as well as for applicant restrictions (non-eligibility), see

The Playable Art DC project is open to artists and design professionals with prior site-specific public art experience. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of four years of site-specific public art and/or placemaking work experience.

For examples of unallowable costs, see

Pre-Application Information:

Project Schedule:

- July 12, 2019: Playable Art DC RFQ launched
- August 23, 2019 (4:00 PM ET): Application Submission Deadline
- Sept. 4-6: Art Selection Panel selects Finalists to produce design proposals
- By Sept. 20, 2019: Applicants notified (intention to award / letter of denial)
- Oct. 7-11, 2019: Site visit and community briefing
- By November 1, 2019 (5:00 PM ET): Proposal deadline
- Nov. 6-8, 2019: Art Selection Panel reconvenes with artist attendance to present proposals
- Dec. 2019: Winners announced
- Dec. 2019- Jan. 2020: CAG Grant Process and External Reviews
- Feb.-May 2020: Project Fabrication
- May-June 2020: Project Installation

Applications are to be submitted via the online application portal; they must be received and uploaded to the portal by the deadline time and date.

The competition includes two selection processes, qualifications and site specific designs, as follows:

- Request for Qualifications (RFQ): Applications will be reviewed and evaluated based on prior work demonstrating a minimum of four years of site-specific public art and/or placemaking experience. Up to three finalists will be selected for each of the three sites. Each finalist will be awarded an honorarium to create a site-specific design proposal, produce a scale model and/or maquette, and to reimburse travel and shopping charges accrued. Finalists will present their proposals to the site-specific selection panel who will select one winner for the project site. The winning design proposal will be reviewed for final approval. The winner will then enter into an agreement with CAH for fabrication and installation of the artwork.
- Site Specific Designs: Selected finalists for each site will be required to visit the locations and participate in community input sessions. This will form the basis for the development of site-specific designs that will be evaluated to determine a winning proposal for each site.

CAH staff members in the Public Art Dept. are available to assist applicants through group or individual technical assistance. They are available by appointment to review application drafts until 1 week prior to the deadline. Applicants may contact CAH to schedule an application review meeting.

Applicants may submit 1 application.

Application Process and Workshops:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For questions about the application, contact:

Ron Humbertson, Art Collections Registrar

For questions or additional information, please contact the CAH at:

Government of the District of Columbia
Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I (Eye) Street, SE, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20003

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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