The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program seeks an artist or artist team to create artwork to contribute to and transform the Martin Luther King, Jr. Behavioral Health Center façade. The MLK, Jr. Behavioral Health Center (MLK BHC), a facility undergoing a widely anticipated renovation, will include services such as a laboratory, urgent care center, primary care clinic, mental health clinic, and will house residential services. The commissioned artwork must be sensitive to the complex historical and political contexts that define Willowbrook and the MLK, Jr. Medical Center campus. The artwork will transform the façade and create an innovative landmark experienced by patients, staff, and visitors alike.

Project Willowbrook

The MLK, Jr. Medical Center campus is located in the community of Willowbrook, located south of Watts and west of Compton, CA covering 3.74 square miles.

Project Willowbrook: Cultivating a Healthy Community through Arts and Culture was a year-long creative exploration of Willowbrook lead by Arts and Culture's Civic Art Program. The project identified artists, cultural assets, and resources that are unique to Willowbrook and its adjacent communities.


The all-inclusive artwork budget is $750,000. This budget includes artist fees, liability insurance, artist travel, and all costs associated with the design, engineering, fabrication, permitting, delivery, and installation of the artwork.

Goals and Location

The artwork should embody the spirit of Dr. King and becoming a metaphor for community perseverance and healing while creating a welcoming, humanizing, and uplifting atmosphere for the patients, visitors, and staff. The MLK BHC project is focused on County populations such as individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, people experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and justice involved individuals with significant clinical needs, while providing a mix of residential, outpatient, and support services.

Artwork should contribute to a healing environment in harmony with the programs and services provided at the center and contribute to a vision that recognizes the power and journey of recovery and rehabilitation. The artwork will contribute to the transformation of the facility, and services offered at the health center. The artist will provide original two-dimensional ceramic tile or three-dimensional artwork(s) located on the three façade insets of the structure as indicated in the below image. The façade insets are each approximately 9’x59’. The selected artwork will complement existing artwork located on the adjacent parking structure.

All artwork must consider the broad age range of the visitors regarding their safety and be easily maintainable.

Elevation indicating façade insets to receive artwork highlighted in blue above.

Project Schedule

Date Event
August 14, 2019 RFQ Process Workshop (optional)
August 30, 2019 Deadline for RFQ Submissions 5PM PST
Summer/Fall 2019 Finalists Interviews/ Three Artists Selected to Develop Proposals
Fall 2019 Artist and Artwork Proposal Selected
Winter 2020 Artwork Final Design Complete
Winter 2020 Fabrication Start
Spring 2020 Artwork Installation Complete

RFQ Process Workshop (Optional)

RFQ Process Workshop

Artist Civic Art Application Process Workshop
August 14, 2019 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM
LA County Department of Arts and Culture

Potential applicants are invited to discuss the RFQ process with the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program at the August 14 Artists’ Civic Art Application Process Workshop. This workshop will cover the application process and strategies for successful portfolio submissions for a range of upcoming Civic Art opportunities.


This artwork will be retrofitted on an existing building façade. Arts and Culture is open to professional artists residing in Southern California (defined as Ventura to San Diego Counties) who have had experience with permanent public art projects and familiarity with retrofit projects entailing engineering considerations. Artists who have not had permanent public art project experience entailing engineering and retrofitting are encouraged to apply in artist teams with the appropriate experience. Artists who have artwork in the County’s Civic Art Collection will be eligible if this project has a higher budget than the previously commissioned project or if the artist has not completed a civic art project with Arts and Culture for five years.

RFQ Selection Criteria

Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Program strives to create artworks which reflect aesthetic and technical quality, innovation, site-specificity, and civic engagement. The selected artist or artist team will be required to participate in a rigorous design process. This process includes research through site visits and design meetings, conservator review, structural engineering, budget tracking, and timeline management.

Artists will be selected based on their qualifications, as demonstrated by the quality of their past work and suitability of their artistic expression for this particular site. Artist applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Artist Selection Criteria
  • Proven artistic merit and strong professional qualifications that demonstrate the artist’s ability to achieve the guiding principles of the Civic Art Program: aesthetic and technical quality, innovation, site specificity, civic engagement, and the ability to transform a space and user experience
  • Ability to create artwork for the location as indicated in this RFQ
  • Artist or artist team demonstrate ability to effectively assess the spatial and technical conditions of an architectural space and propose an integrated, easily maintainable, permanent artwork
  • Experience completing a prior public artwork or completing artwork utilizing permanent materials
  • Artist or artist team demonstrate ability to execute project within project timeline
  • Artist to demonstrate ability to work within the given budget
  • Artist or artist team to demonstrate ability to work with a multidisciplinary team (for example: government agencies, architects, and engineers)
  • Artist or artist team must demonstrate affordability of project in preliminary budget and final budget prior to fabrication
  • Artist or artist team demonstrates prior project(s) completed within budget projections

-Only artists who meet these criteria should apply-

To Apply

Application materials must be received on or before August 30, 2019 | 5PM PST. Any application materials received after the date and time specified above will be rejected, considered non-responsive, and the Artist will be notified by email.

Submit the following materials:

  1. Resume including name, mailing address, phone number(s), fax, email and web page (if applicable).
    • Include a team bio if applying as an artist team
    • Resume should not exceed three pages
  2. A maximum two-page letter of interest, addressing:
    • Why this project interests you
    • How you have worked with a government agency, designers, and/or local residents to develop an artwork
    • Your experience with restricted site conditions, strict technical constraints, and material requirements (including specifications for size, strength, and engineering capacities)
    • Your artistic practice, your sources of inspiration, and your method for developing high quality, innovative, and timelessly meaningful artwork
    • For artist teams: your respective roles and history of collaboration

    -Only letters which specifically address these points will be considered-

  3. Up to ten images of your relevant work (refer to Artist Selection Criteria)
    • Submit digital images in JPEG format, PC compatible, no larger than 1920X1920 pixels resolution (do not zip or stuff your files). NOTE: Each image must be unlocked and downloadable
    • Label each image with artist’s last name, first name, and a two digit number which corresponds to the annotated image list (for example: JonesJane01, JonesJane02)
  4. An annotated image list, that indicates:
    • Title, date, medium, and dimensions
    • Location of artwork
    • Brief project description (maximum 100 characters)
    • Project budget
    • Commissioning agency or client, and project manager (if applicable)
  5. Three professional references, with title, phone and email addresses included.

The required method for submitting materials for this RFQ is through Dropbox.

DropBox Link Instructions:

  1. Sign in to, or sign up for an account if this is your first time using Dropbox.
  2. Create a folder using the following naming convention FirstInitialLastName-Application (example: JJones-Application). If you are applying as a firm, use your firm’s design instead of FirstInitialLastName (example: JonesStudio-Application).
  3. Upload the files per our application materials guidelines.
  4. Once you have created your folder and uploaded your application materials, share viewing privileges with Arts and Culture by hovering your cursor over the folder you want to share and click Share.
  5. The next prompt or pop up screen will ask if you want to create a link (if you haven’t already designated your folder from the start as a Shared Folder). If a link hasn’t been created, click Create a link. If a link was already created click Copy link.

Do not send the requested materials as attachments to an email. Instead, copy the link to your clipboard and paste it to the body of an email addressed to the following:


Selection Process

This Project Coordination Committee for this project is composed of an Arts Deputy, an Arts Commissioner, a representative from the Departments of Health Services, Public Health, Mental Health, and Probation Department, the architect, and an art professional. The Civic Art Program staff serves as a non-voting advisor to the PCC.

Artists should send images that can be understood by an audience that is not professionally versed in the arts. Artists should not send art proposals in response to this RFQ.

The civic artist will be selected through a two phased process:

  1. Artists’ responses to this RFQ will be evaluated by the Project Coordination Committee (PCC) with facilitation by the Civic Art Project Manager. Up to three finalists and one alternate will be shortlisted for the second phase.
  2. Finalists will be invited to develop a conceptual design proposal and presentation to the PCC. With guidance from the Civic Art Program, the PCC reviews artist applications, conducts finalist interviews, selects the artists or artist teams and reviews the project from design development through artwork installation.

Additional Information

  • Do not send original artwork.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • If artists are applying as a team, the team must be declared at the time of application in the letter of interest. Include a team bio, outline the roles and responsibilities of each member, and include brief resumes for all team members with the application. Please submit a minimum of 10 images per team (not per member) of completed or proposed projects.
  • The Department of Arts and Culture reserves the right to accept or reject any and all responses received, or commission an artist through another process.
  • All artists who submit their materials for review will receive written notification of the results of the selection process, including identification of the selected artist(s).
  • This request for qualifications does not constitute an offer to contract or a promise for remuneration, recognition, or any other thing. Submission of any materials in response to this request for qualifications will not constitute an express or implied contract. The information contained and/or any program or event described herein may be changed, amended, modified, canceled, revoked, or abandoned without notice at any time and for any reason at the sole discretion of the Department of Arts and Culture or the County of Los Angeles.
  • Artists will not be eligible for more than two County projects at any given time.
  • Priority will be given to artists who have had no prior commission of the same or higher budget with Civic Art.
  • If artwork proposal and/or designs are selected, the artist will be required to enter into a contract with the County of Los Angeles. Because the artwork will be located on public property, and because the County of Los Angeles is a public entity subject to laws, rules, and regulations which are not necessarily applicable to private persons or companies, the Department of Arts and Culture has prepared a form agreement for use in connection with artwork commissioned for Civc Art. A copy of the form agreement can be found on the Department of Arts and Culture’s website, at If an artist is selected, the artist acknowledges that he/she is willing and able to enter into a contract in the form made available on the Department of Arts and Culture website. The Department of Arts and Culture reserves the right to revise or change its form agreement at any time, for any reason, and to require artists to use the revised form for contracting purposes.


A person who has established a reputation of artistic excellence in the visual, performing, or literary arts, as judged by peers, through a record of exhibitions, public commissions, sale of works, and/or educational attainment.
Artist Team
A professional collaboration of individual artists and consultants who do not necessarily operate under a single entity.
The work as ultimately conceived, designed, fabricated, and installed by the artist after consultation with and approval by the Project Coordination Committee and applicable jurisdictional agencies
Civic Art
Artistic and cultural facilities, objects, and amenities, whether created before or after the adoption of the August 11, 2015 Civic Art Policy, such as:
  • Sculpture: Free standing, wall supported, or suspended, kinetic, electronic, or mechanical in material, or combination of materials.
  • Murals or Portable Paintings: In any materials or variety of materials, with or without collage, or the addition of non-traditional materials and means.
  • Earthworks, neon, glass, mosaics, photographs, prints, calligraphy, any combination of forms of media including sound, film, holographic, and video systems, hybrids of any media, and new genres.
  • Standardized fixtures, such as grates, street lights, signage, and other design enhancements as rendered by an artist for unique or limited editions.
  • Exhibit/Performance Space: Public gallery/exhibition space, public performance spaces, public artistic studio spaces, and public art education facilities.
  • Similar facilities and amenities as determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.
  • Restoration of County-owned artworks, and restoration or replication of original decorative ornamentation and Civic Art as part of the rehabilitation of the County’s historic, cultural, and architectural landmarks.
  • Performing Arts: Theater, dance, music, and performance art.
  • Literary Art: Poetry readings and storytelling.
  • Media Art: Film and video, screenings, and installations.
  • Education: Lectures, presentations, and training in and about arts and culture.
  • Special Events: Parades, festivals, celebrations, and similar arts services as approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.
Commissioned Artwork
A means by which the Department of Arts and Culture can authorize the creation of new artwork created expressly for a specific location, client, and/or purpose.
Project Coordination Committee
Representatives from involved County departments, the Chief Executive Office and the County Department of Arts and Culture.

Have Questions?

For questions about this RFQ, please contact Pat Gomez, Civic Art Project Manager |, or to learn more about the Civic Art Policy:


MLK Behavioral Center Facade  RFQ PDF

View and download a PDf of this RFQ.

August 14, 2019 | 6:30PM - 7:30PM
LA County Department of Arts and Culture