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UrbanArt Commission | uacmem.org

The Movable Collection | Call to Artists

Release Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Budget: Works between $500 and $5,000

Deadline: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Eligibility: Any artist living and working within the Memphis metropolitan, statistical area. Artists are invited to submit collaborative work if desirable.

The UrbanArt Commission (UAC) works to create opportunities for artists and neighborhoods to connect and shape spaces through public art. Since 2002, UAC has managed the City of Memphis’s Percent-For-Art Program, which allocates funds annually to develop public art in connection to capital improvement projects. A portion of these funds support the Movable Collection, a publicly-owned permanent collection of studio work by local artists. The collection is displayed in municipal buildings, including City Hall, libraries, and community centers, where it can be appreciated by the public. Additionally, the collection serves as an archive for future generations of Memphians, representing the diversity of local visual arts, craft, and design.

UAC is partnering with the Memphis Public Libraries to create pop-up galleries of local art in branch libraries. Newly acquired work will be rotated through these galleries in 2020-21, and artists may be invited to speak about their work in conjunction exhibitions and supporting events. Following these exhibitions, acquired artwork will be eligible for permanent installation at libraries or other city buildings.

Founded in 1893, Memphis Public Libraries have made it their mission to “satisfy the customer’s need to know.” In addition to books and e-books, the libraries offer career services, media production resources, literacy and ESL assistance, and daily programs for children and adults.

UAC and the Memphis Public Libraries are seeking to purchase studio work by local artists for temporary display in branch libraries, and permanent installation in libraries or other public facilities. 

The selection committee is interested in building a collection that:

  • Includes a wide range of media (painting, photo, illustration, sculpture, etc.) and artmaking practices (fine art, design, craft and traditional arts, new media). 
  • Features work by established, emerging, and non-professional artists.
  • Represents the demographic diversity of the Memphis arts community.
  • Consists of artwork that is well-crafted, visually engaging, and thought-provoking.
  • Is appropriate for display in all-ages public facilities.

The committee will select artwork based on artistic merit, professional or community recognition (if applicable), equity and inclusivity goals of the collection, and site-specific considerations. 

NOTE: Applicants should submit existing artwork that is available for purchase; the committee will not consider unfinished work or proposals. Work must be ready to install, framed (if applicable), and should require minimal maintenance.

UAC and the City of Memphis are committed to equity and inclusion in our work. People of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, differently-abled and neurodiverse persons, indigenous peoples, youth, seniors, and women are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • Tamika C. Richmond  Memphis Public Libraries, Teen Services Coordinator
  • Carol Crown Ranata  University of Memphis, Professor Emerita of Art History
  • Kimberly Jacobs  Independent Curator
  • Andrea Morales  Southern Documentary Project, Documentary Photographer
  • Amanda Willoughby  Cloud901, Teacher / Indie Memphis, Mentor Coordinator

UAC posts all open opportunities and accepts applications online through Submittable. Follow the steps below to apply to an open UAC opportunity through Submittable:

  1. To apply to an open Request for Qualifications, go to www.uacmem.org/calls-to-artists. Click on the opportunity that you are interested in to view more details.
  2. Our Submittable page contains all of our current open opportunities. If you are already within an opportunity (like this page), scroll down to the Create your account / Have an account? Sign in form.
  3. If you already have a Submittable account, click the Have an account? Sign in tab to sign in to your account. If you don’t remember your password, use the Forgot? link.
  4. If you don’t have a Submittable account, you must create one to apply. Create your free account by filling out the Create your account form. Fill in all information and click the Create Account and Continue button to continue with the submission process.
  5. From there, you will be able to complete and submit your application. You can now use this account login when submitting to all future UAC opportunities. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email that confirms receipt of your full application.

Please submit the following materials online using the form at the bottom of this page:

  • Up to 3 images of work currently available for purchase, including title, date, medium, dimensions, and price.
  • A brief cover letter or statement, introducing yourself, your work, and your involvement in the arts in Memphis (200-500 words approximately; not to exceed 1/2 page)
    • Résumé or CV (not to exceed 2 pages)


If you have difficulty accessing the website, or require any other assistance with your submission, please contact Brett Hanover at brett@uacmem.org or 901.454.0474 ext. 102.

UAC will host a virtual info session for artists interested in learning more about this project:

  • Tuesday, May 12, 5:30-7 PM Register in advance for this meeting:


You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Artists may also schedule a meeting with UAC staff to review their application and portfolio. Contact Brett Hanover at brett@uacmem.org to schedule a meeting.

Applicants will be notified as to the status of their application. Commissioning of artists by UAC and the pursuit of all UAC activities are implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or age.

UAC reserves the right to modify this solicitation and to request additional information from participating artists.

UAC reserves the right to accept or reject, at any time prior to the commissioning of a work, any or all proposals when the acceptance, rejection, waiver or advertisement would be in the best interest of the project. In addition, 

The staff of UAC will be responsible for all correspondence and communication by and between applicants and members of selection panels. Discussion regarding these projects by and between any applicant and any member of a selection panel outside of regularly scheduled meetings during the selection process may be grounds for the disqualification of the applicant. Such determination shall be in the discretion of UAC.

For more information about this project, please contact:
Brett Hanover | Project Manager
454-0474 ext. 102 | brett@uacemem.org

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.