RFQ – Mt Scott Community Center

Rendering of the interior main lobby, including the stairwell wall, lobby seating area and reception desk.

Mt Scott Community Center

Stairwell & Main Lobby Area Artwork – Request for Qualifications

In partnership with City of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) invites artists/artist teams living in Oregon and southern Washington to submit qualifications for a site-specific interior artwork in the main lobby at the soon-to-be renovated and expanded Mt Scott Community Center. One artist/artist team will be selected to create a 2-dimensional artwork along the lobby’s multi-story stairwell north-facing wall. There is also opportunity to activate the ceiling areas above the stairwell/main lobby area. The budget available for the commission comes from the City of Portland’s Percent for Art Program and is $80,000. Submissions are due by Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 11:59pm PDT.

Important Dates

March 21, 2024 – RFQ launch

April 24, 2024 – Applications due

April-June 2024 – Panel review and artist selection (including interviews)

July-September 2024 – Design Phase (including community engagement)

October 2024-June 2025 – Fabrication

July 2025 – Artwork complete and installed

Art Opportunity

This project is seeking an artist or artist team to create a site-specific interior artwork in Mt Scott Community Center’s main lobby area. The stairwell’s multi-story wall will be visible to visitors in the main lobby as well as street and pedestrian traffic on SE 72nd Ave due to the large windows on the building’s west elevation. The stairwell wall ascends from the basement through the 1st and 2nd floors. The stairwell wall is one of the first large-scale features visitors encounter upon arriving through the building’s main entrance and is directly across from the lobby seating area and adjacent to the center’s reception desk. Ideally, the artwork will mainly be focused on the 1st and 2nd floors due to the high visibility of those areas. While the stairwell wall primarily suits a 2-dimensional artwork, there is an interest to incorporate texture and/or 3-dimensional elements, created through either illusion or physical components.

Use of mediums such as textiles/fabric arts, ceramics, mosaics, paint, color, wood, metal and more could be considered. We expect the artist(s) to determine the media(s) for their work through conversations with the project team, taking other design considerations for the space into account.

Additionally, it is possible for the artwork to extend beyond the stairwell wall to two locations in the ceiling areas, allowing for a more 3-dimensional component. These two locations are in the main lobby above the west and east entryways and exits, depending on the artist’s vision and budget allocations. The stairwell wall is about 19’W x 28’H and the two 3-dimensional spaces are about 15’W x 15’H.  The artwork should not exceed 100 lbs.

Rendering of the main lobby area highlighting the art opportunities including the stairwell wall and possible 3-D art sites.

Please refer to the pdf attachment showing the locations of the artwork on the proposed floors at the site here.

About the Mt Scott Community Center Renovation Project

Located in the Foster-Powell and Mt Scott-Arleta neighborhoods, the community center is at the corner of SE 72nd Ave and SE Harold St near the bustling SE Foster Rd and SE 82nd Ave thoroughfares. The center was originally constructed in 1927 as a wood-frame bathhouse for the pre-existing outdoor pool. Over the ensuing years, a concrete building with a gymnasium and lower-level roller-skating rink were built. In 2000, an indoor aquatic center was added to the facility and the outdoor pool was filled and turned into a parking lot. Due to the unreinforced masonry aspects of the building additions built prior to the 1960s, the center is currently undergoing renovations that includes imperative seismic retrofitting as well as bringing more light to the interior spaces, improving ADA accessibility that includes an elevator to all 2nd floor amenities and classrooms, and expanding recreational programming consisting of adding classrooms, meeting spaces and a huge, new event hall. The center is expected to be reopened in summer 2025.

As the only community center that serves the entire Southeast area west of 82nd Ave, the location’s offerings include exercise and fitness classes, pre-school programs, day camps, art and music classes, teen activities, private parties, community gatherings, and rental/party spaces.

Rendering of the west-facing exterior elevation along SE 72nd Ave that includes the building’s main entrance.

Artwork Goals and Qualities

Elements the artwork should consider are the building’s design which is informed by nature through the use of wood and earth tones in the interior and the addition of more windows to allow natural light into the center. It’s also important to note that the main lobby is the central point of connection within the building with its inclusion of the lobby waiting area and reception desk. Consequently, the artwork should be bright, warm and inviting. Additionally, the opportunity for the artwork to help foster inter-generational and cross-cultural connections at this site is great.

Another main goal for the artwork is to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity and richness of cultures that utilize the building. Many of the communities living in the area surrounding the center are BIPOC, households with children, and people living in poverty/low-income. To appeal to these diverse groups of users in this significant location, the artwork should be meaningful and dynamic, possessing the following qualities:

  • align with center’s programming and be relevant to center’s users
  • create art that connects to contemporary and/or traditional art-making practices
  • welcome and entice all folks to utilize the space and its services
  • reflect and compliment the natural and organic elements of the site’s design
  • stimulate and engage the senses

Examples of communities that frequent the center, live in the nearby neighborhoods and attend the local schools include Black/African American, Indigenous Peoples, Somali and other East African immigrants, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin speakers), Vietnamese, Slavic and Eastern European, Latino/a/e (not just Spanish language speakers), youth and elders, LGBTQIA2S+, people living with disabilities, and people experiencing housing insecurity. More information from the community engagement process so far, including demographics, will be shared with the artist/artist team to ensure authentic understanding and representation.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a central component of this project. We are seeking an artist/artist team who welcomes and reflects the diverse communities that are served by the center within their process and work. Genuine understanding and demonstration of community engagement practices in existing artistic practice, past work and/or other key areas of experience where skillsets may be transferable, such as teaching, mentorship, community organizing, care work and other non-typical/non-traditional examples of embedding community into process and practice, are highly desirable.

Prior to finalizing a design, the selected artist/artist team will plan and facilitate at least two engagement sessions to meet with community stakeholders to gather information and insight into the community center’s role in their lives, the community’s cultures, hopes, and desires. The artist(s) is expected to welcome and encourage community participation within the design phase, seeking feedback, input and inspiration from key stakeholders to ensure the final artwork meets the intended goals as outlined above, specifically community representation.


The selected artist/artist team will receive $80,000 for this opportunity to create the site-specific interior artwork. This fee is inclusive of all project expenses including artist fees, design development, materials, fabrication, installation, community engagement scope of work and communication/coordination with the design team, construction team and third-party contractors who may help to fabricate and install the artwork.


This opportunity is open to artists/artist teams based in Oregon and southwest Washington. If applying as a team, at least one member must meet the residence eligibility requirement. Those with significant current or past connections, or those with interest and ability to create meaningful connections, to Southeast Portland, the Foster-Powell and Mt Scott-Arleta neighborhoods and other surrounding neighborhoods and communities served by the center are preferred. Applicants who have an interest in and/or experience with community engagement processes, including social practice, which inform their approach and art practice are strongly encouraged to apply. Strong consideration will be given to artists who have experience working with youth and residents from historically underrepresented communities to develop their artwork including communities of color as well as immigrant and refugee communities.

PP&R and RACC are committed to reflecting the cultural richness of our city by promoting opportunities for emerging and historically underrepresented artists. Artists/artist teams representing communities of color are strongly encouraged to apply. RACC is committed to engaging new communities of artists and expanding the range of artistic and cultural expression represented in the City’s public art collection.

The selected artist/artist team must be able to create, complete and deliver their artwork by June-July 2025.

Selection Process

At this time, the selection process will be entirely virtual. A selection panel composed of City of Portland representatives, project team members, local artists, and community members will review artists’ submissions and choose more than one finalist to invite to  interview for the commission.

Overall, the purpose of the interview will be to allow the artist(s) and the panel to meet each other and engage in a mutually beneficial and informative conversation. It’s an opportunity for the artist(s) to better understand the context of the project and the intentions the selection panel has for the final art piece. Both parties will be given the chance to ask questions and determine best alignment and artist selection for the project. After the interviews are completed, the selection panel will choose a final artist/artist team to award the public art opportunity to. Criteria for selecting semifinalists for interviews are (1) quality of past work as demonstrated in submitted images; (2) ability  and interest in creating site-specific artwork; (3) how past artwork has fit one or more of the general goals described above, specifically community engagement and designing with stakeholder communities, through demonstrated processes and/or final design.

(Note: the selection panel reserves the right to select an artist who does not directly apply to this call, if appropriate. Likewise, the panel maintains the option to make no selection from submitted applications and to reopen the selection process or propose other methods of selection if no applicant is accepted.)

How to Apply

All application materials must be submitted through the RACC Opportunity Portal, an online application system. Applicants will need to create an account, or log into their existing account at https://racc.org/apply. (If you are first-time user, learn how to create an account here). If you are applying as a team, please assign one person to apply and be the point of contact on behalf of the team. Submissions due Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 11:59pm PDT

Application Materials

  • Artist bio/resume. Upload a PDF of no more than two pages that outlines your creative activities and artistic accomplishments. If applying as a team, submit one PDF that includes a bio/resume for all team members no more than 6 pages.
  • Statement of interest. Based on the information given, please address the following:
    • Your interest in this project
    • Describe your capacity and/or experience to complete the scope of work
    • Explain why you value community engagement in your artistic process and share past examples of successfully incorporating community visions, values and voices into a project
    • If you are applying as a team, describe your individual roles on the team and how you anticipate working together
    • There are two options in submitting these responses:
      • Written Statement: 3000 characters or less
      • Oral Statement: Upload a video/voice recording no longer than 2 minutes
  • Up to 8 past work samples. These work samples are the primary way the quality of your work will be judged. Provide up to two images, no larger than 5MB each, for each work sample. For each image, please provide title, artist name, media, dimensions, year completed, budget and location. Conceptual information is desirable but not required.

Once you have started your application, you can save after each step and sign out. Your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on, as needed. Please note that after you click “Submit,” your application is final and no further edits can be made.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us throughout the process.


We are here to support and assist you! If you have questions about the overall opportunity or the RACC application portal,  would like to set up a time for a phone/video call or have any other needs for assistance please email project manager, Salvador Mayoral IV, at smayoral@racc.org.

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. Also, if you prefer these materials in another language you can contact the RACC project team for translation services.

We strongly encourage you to submit your application with enough time for any questions to be answered prior to when submissions are due as inquiries received towards the end of that period may not be responded to. We appreciate your understanding and consideration of our capacity.

Interpretation services are available, please email info@racc.org.

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