Request for Qualifications | Suspended Artworks at PDX Terminal

Aerial view of the Portland International Airport (PDX) showing planes and terminals with the Columbia River and Mt. Hood in the background at sunset

Portland International Airport (PDX)

PDX Terminal Redevelopment Public Art RFQ

Suspended Artworks

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and the Port of Portland (Port) in Portland, Oregon, are inviting artists to submit their qualifications for the design and installation of a permanent public art display that will be a part of the Portland International Airport’s (PDX) terminal redevelopment project.

The Port of Portland has contracted with the Portland area’s Regional Arts & Culture Council to manage the selection process for this public art opportunity.


PDX has been recognized as the best airport in the United States eight times in the last decade. The airport consistently ranks high when it comes to customer service, based on its facilities, accessibility, and security. PDX is renowned for its local restaurants, beverages, and retail offerings, as well as short films at no cost, rotating art exhibits, and permeant artworks throughout the airport.

PDX seeks to commission distinctive, site specific, original public artwork for the $2B terminal redevelopment project. This unique artwork location has been identified for this Request for Qualification (RFQ) within the newly designed terminal. All public artwork locations in the new facility are identified on the attached Exhibit_A. Separate RFQ documents will be released over the next year for the remaining art installations in the terminal redevelopment project.

A Selection Committee of community representatives, arts and culture professionals, and Port staff has been assembled to recommend artists or artist teams. Each piece of work shall reflect the essence of the region and create a memorable experience that passengers have come to expect from PDX.

This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will determine artist(s) eligibility to propose artwork for the specific location described in this document.

The due date to apply for this opportunity is  Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 11:59pm PST.

The full request for qualifications can be downloaded here. All the exhibits can be downloaded here.

If you would like to be considered for this opportunity and don’t have a computer or online access, please feel free to contact RACC for support.

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PDX serves as the unofficial welcome mat to the Northwest with nearly 20 million travelers a year passing through. Once the TCORE project is complete, in 2025, the facility will be capable of serving 35 million passengers. In addition to passengers, PDX supports a workforce of over 10,000 employees.

PDX served 14,107,240 million travelers during Fiscal Year 2022, which is 29% down from FY19’s passenger count of 19,941,424, due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 2022, PDX has recovered from the impacts of the pandemic by 71%, out-performing Port financial analysts’ recovery forecast by 16.4%. Airline staffing shortages are currently suppressing a full recovery, which is expected by early 2024.

PDX operates primarily as an Origination and Destination (O&D) airport. Only 8% of passengers are connecting to other cities. The other 92% of travelers start or end their journey at PDX, and for all those passengers, the airport will be their first or last impression of the region.

With this in mind, the PDX art program seeks to create an environment that embodies the unique character of the Pacific Northwest. PDX is largely a leisure airport, with a smaller percentage of business travelers. This means that most airport users are either nearby residents or are deliberately choosing to visit our region for vacation, so both groups are particularly interested in a localized experience.

Twelve domestic carriers and six international carriers operate at the airport. The airport currently serves 53 domestic markets and, as of November 2022, will offer nonstop flights to 10 international destinations in Japan, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Iceland, Mexico and Canada, some of which are seasonal. Most international flights operate out of Concourse D. Combined, Alaska Air Group (which includes Horizon Air) is the largest passenger carrier at the airport and Southwest, Delta and United are the next three largest, respectively.

PDX currently contains four concourses with 50 gates and ground loading positions. When the terminal redevelopment project is complete, there will be 59 gates and the concourse connector will make its return in 2024, allowing passengers to navigate the entire terminal behind security.


PDX provides multiple venues for artists and community arts organizations seeking exposure for their works and collections. The program includes permanent art, rotating exhibits, a temporary installation program and a microcinema that showcases short films by Oregon filmmakers. More information on the art program can be found here.


Artists should also keep in mind the general goals of the Port of Portland’s entire art program, including that of commissioned permanent artworks.

  • Represent artists of diverse races, genders, geographic origins, ethnicities, and ways of being with the purpose of advancing fair and equitable inclusion
  • Incorporate a variety of artistic mediums/materials and aesthetics
  • Reflect the region’s creative and cultural wealth
  • Respond to the airport environment in consideration of designated architectural factors and features supporting the general character of the Port and PDX as described above
  • Made of durable materials and easily maintained


The redevelopment of the main terminal doubles the footprint of the terminal and invites passengers and employees to celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with a design evoking a walk in the forest; with vast windows and skylights providing daylight, interior landscaping of living plants, and a monumentally scaled wood roof produced from locally sourced timber.

Overall, the project will grow, modernize, and beautify PDX, preparing it to meet the demands of a new generation of travelers. The upgrades include a 150-footwide

building expansion that houses two brand new security checkpoints with increased capacity. The main entrance and ticket lobby will be fully redesigned to replace the 1950’s original, integrating today’s travel technologies. The concourse connector, which lets visitors move between the two sides of the airport without passing through security twice, will return. We’re also adding two new airline lounges, along with stunning artwork, lush greenery, and an impressive wood lattice roof.

The ticket lobby will be a bright and airy space with ample space for passengers to check in at their ticket counters while admiring the new pieces of artwork.

Artist Rendering of the new PDX Ticket Lobby with a lattice work ceiling and skylights

The pre-security concessions will surround a large community gathering space with stadium-style seating, which all departing travelers will pass through. The gathering space will regularly host special events, celebrations, and entertainment.

Artist Rendering of the new PDX Market Hall, pre security, showing people staggered around amphitheater style seating on either side of a performance area with someone playing grand piano in the center

Not to be outdone, the grand halls immediately after each security checkpoint will be reconstructed with 30-foot ceilings, expansive window views, tons of natural light, greenery at every eye-level, and a lineup of concessions designed to look like a city streetscape, complete with pergola-style canopies and sidewalk seating. To get a more concrete idea of what the new main terminal will look like, visit, where you’ll see renderings and construction photos.


The Port of Portland’s Social Equity Policy promotes social equity, using a racial equity focus, with the purpose of advancing fair and equitable inclusion and creating the conditions in which all people can participate, prosper, and achieve equitable outcomes with respect to the Port’s employment, business, and services.

Cultural and racial equity will be considered throughout the process of selecting artists or artist teams, in terms of the demographics of the artists selected, the cultural communities served, and the diverse perspectives represented through the artwork. The Port encourages partnerships among artist/artist teams that reflect our region’s cultural heterogeneity.


The terminal redevelopment project is comprised of 9 separate opportunities for artwork, each with different budgets dependent on the project’s size, location and anticipated material and fabrication needs. Additional locations are listed in EXHIBIT B. The Selection Committee intends on selecting a different artist or artist team for each RFQ.


Suspended Art | Concourse Connector

Budget:  Not to Exceed $900,000

This is an opportunity for two large scale, signature artworks to be suspended from the ceiling in an area between both entries of the concourse connector passageway and situated around and above the concession’s pavilions. The concourse connector is a wide corridor that connects the north gates, Concourses D and E, to the south gates, Concourses B and C.  The two artworks are intended to visually complement each other. The artworks will be accessible to ticketed customers, PDX employees and vendor employees. Each zone measures approximately 100 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 9 feet from the top of the celling to the lowest point allowable. The artwork must be at least 15 feet from the ground plane. Each area is engineered for a distributed weight load across the designated area for approximant 4,300 lbs. total. Specifications and detail drawings will be provided during the interview phase.

The primary goals of this opportunity are for the art to:

  • Evoke delight and intrigue
  • Create beacons of texture, color, or pattern
  • Be impactful, iconic and provide wayfinding cues for travelers

The commission will be awarded to one artist or artist team with a budget not to exceed $900,000, inclusive of all artist design fees and associated travel costs, insurance, fabrication, transportation and installations of artwork on site. Eligibility: Open to artists living in the United States and internationally. Applicants must have successfully completed at least one art commission (public or private) within the past five years. RACC staff, Artist Selection Panelists, and Port of Portland employees or their immediate families are not eligible to apply.


In response to the RFQ, applicants will be asked to submit the following items through RACC Opportunity Portal  Incomplete applications cannot be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to complete and submit materials by the application due date: 11:59pm (PST), December 6th 2022


Applications must include the following:

  1. Statement of interest. In 2000 or less characters and spaces, explain why this project is of interest to you. Describe how your previous work addressed site and similar goals stated for this project. Address how you and your artistic practice connect to or align with the Port’s Social Equity Policy detailed above. Include descriptions of how you worked with design and construction teams, and other comments that might help to differentiate you as a candidate for this project. Do not submit a proposal for the commission at this time.
  2. Two-page résumé uploaded as a PDF that outlines professional accomplishment and includes two professional references (name, affiliated organization, email address and phone number) for both individual applicants and teams (2 per team). For team applications, include a 2-page résumé for each team member that are combined into one PDF.
  3. Up to 10 images of past work including details. These images are the primary way the quality of your work is judged. Provide the following information for each visual: title, year produced, dimensions, budget, medium, and a brief description. Do not embed label information into the jpeg image. Up to 2 videos may be included.



Selection Phase
During this phase, qualified applicants will be ranked by the Selection Committee on a 100-point system based on the following points distribution:

  • Artistic vibrancy of submitted past work
 30 points
  • Statement of interest to include:
    • Artist’s interest in project
10 points
    • Connection/Alignment to Port’s Social Equity Policy
10 points
  • Ability to create impactful artwork for PDX Airport
20 points
  • Potential to work successfully as part of  design and construction teams
10 points
  • Meets the goals of Port of Portland’s art program
20 points


Proposal/Interview Phase
During this phase, applicants will be ranked by the Selection Committee on a 100-point system based on the following points distribution:

  • Demonstrated artistic vibrancy and feasibility of the proposed concept
40 points
  • Mastery of materials and fabrication through own skills or subcontracted fabricators
20 points
  • Potential to collaborate successfully with the project design and construction teams
20 points
  • Ease of maintenance, durability, and sustainability of materials
20 points


Artistic vibrancy is defined as an artistic practice that:

  • Demonstrates integrity of process.
  • Embodies excellence of craft and skills.
  • Demonstrates imagination, distinctiveness, and originality.
  • Contributes to artistic practice.
  • Engages with the diversity and complexity of contemporary life.
  • Is relevant in a local, national and global context.


The RACC and the Port reserve the right to make changes to the RFQ.  Changes will be made by written addendum which will be issued to all prospective Providers on the RACC’s list of RFQ holders. A Provider may amend or withdraw its proposal any time prior to the time and date established for proposal submission. Refer to Exhibit C for specific disclosures and protest rules associated with this RFQ.

Proposal/Interview Phase

From these applicants, selected by the subcommittee, the Selection Committee will choose up to 5 finalists to prepare a more in-depth art proposal. Finalists will receive more site-specific information and supplemental documents to aid in the proposal process at that point.

A three-day site visit will be required of all interview finalists. Each finalist will be paid a $3,500 honorarium plus travel expenses. On Day One, artists will visit the site and meet with the design team to learn about the construction project and materials used in the new terminal. Day Two is reserved for the artists to reflect on what was learned and the development of a short presentation for the interview that provides initial thoughts, questions and direction for the artwork based on what was learned the previous day. Interviews will be conducted on Day Three. Project specific proposals will not be required at the interview stage

Following the presentations/interviews, the Art Committee will select a single artist/team  who will enter into a Design Phase Contract with the Regional Arts & Culture Council and begin collaborating as needed with the design team of ZGF and the Port of Portland. Following approval of the final design by the Art Committee, the artist/team will then enter into a Fabrication Contract with the Port of Portland, a sample contract is attached as Exhibit D.



Information session:
Instagram Live on: Tuesday, November 8, 2022 2:30pm

Zoom on: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 3:00pm

Application due date: 11:59pm (PST), December 6th 2022

Artist selection for interview: January 2023

Artist (s) site visits, interviews: February 2023

Design Development: Winter 2023

Fabrication: Spring/ Summer 2023

Installation Completion: Spring 2024

*Dates provided are estimates based upon current knowledge of preliminary project schedules and are only intended to assist artists in determining their own availability to participate. Above dates in no way represent final approved schedules and are subject to change through future iterations of design and construction phases.

All questions relating to this RFQ must be posed through RACC’s online portal. Questions received fewer than five (5) business days prior to the deadline for receipt of submissions may not be considered.