Request for Qualifications – PDX Terminal Redevelopment Public Art Project – International Arrivals

International Arrivals Art Wall

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.

Working Project Timeline

  • October 12, 4:00 pm (PST) – Information session on Zoom
  • November 13, 11:59pm (PST) – Application due date (Due Date Extended!) 
  • January 2024 – Artist selection for interview
  • January – February 2024 – Artist(s) site visits, interviews
  • Winter 2024 – Design Development
  • Spring 2024 – Spring 2025 – Fabrication
  • Summer 2025 – Installation Completion

*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.


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, security, and is renowned for its local restaurants, beverages, and retail offerings, as well as short films at no cost, rotating art exhibits, and permanent 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.

PDX Airport Overview

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 COVID-19 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.

Port of Portland Public Art Program

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.

Port of Portland Art Program Goals

Artists should also keep in mind the general goals for 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

PDX Terminal Redevelopment Program

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.
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.
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.

Social Equity Policy

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.

Art Sites

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.

One 2D Artwork | International Arrivals

Budget: Not to Exceed $300,000

This is an opportunity for an artist or artist team to create a large scale, signature artwork that will be located on the deplaning level at the North end of baggage claim. This artwork will greet International arrival passengers as they enter the pre-security Terminal area. The wall will also be visibly prominent from the waiting lounge in this area.

This artwork will welcome passengers to Portland and be their first impression of PDX Airport and the City of Portland. This transition space will be a key gathering point for international passengers to meet family, friends, and colleagues. The wall for the artwork is 42 feet long and 8 feet tall. The artwork will be situated at the exit of an 18 foot wide corridor.

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

  • To be made of very durable materials work with an impactful international focus.
  • Build a connection between PDX airport and the World
  • Be impactful, iconic and provide wayfinding cues for travelers

The commission will be awarded to one artists or artist team, with a budget not to exceed $300,000, 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. RACC staff, Artist Selection Panelists, and Port of Portland employees or their immediate families are not eligible to apply.

Applying for This Opportunity

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), November 13 (Due Date Extended!) 

Applications must include the following:

  • 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 your experiences, artistic practice, or values 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Evaluation Criteria

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

Selection Committee/Process

Members of the Art Committee include artists, arts professionals, the project architect, a Port Commissioner, Port staff and community members. Non-voting advisors to the panel include additional Port staff.

Evaluation of the applicants will be in accordance with the Evaluation Criteria listed above. The issuance of this RFQ, and the receipt of applicants does not obligate that Port to award a contract. The Port may cancel this RFQ or reject any or all proposals in accordance with ORS 279B.100.

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.
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.

Selection Phase

Prior to the selection phase, a subcommittee comprised of Selection Committee members will review all applicants and narrow the initial pool of RFQ applicants to no more than 50 artists/artist teams per site.

Proposal/Interview Phase

From these applicants, selected by the subcommittee, the Selection Committee will choose up to 4 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.
During the selection phase, no more than 4 finalists will be selected for the interview phase. Finalists are expected to attend a site visit and orientation session with ZGF and the Port of Portland. Each finalist/team will be paid a $5,000 honorarium to develop a proposal and will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Finalists will present their proposals in an interview format six to eight weeks from the site visit with the entire Art Committee. The proposal shall include: art concept, description of materials, manner of execution/installation, and proposed budget and timeline. At the interview visual representation of proposal and material samples should be provided.

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.

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.