RI State Council on the Arts: Medicinal & Wellness Garden proposals

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
Request for Qualifications

University of Rhode Island
Medicinal & Wellness Garden for the College of Pharmacy
Kingston, Rhode Island
Budget: $500,000

Artwork for the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus (URI) will be commissioned through Rhode Island’s Public Art Law, which mandates that 1% of all state capital construction and renovation funds be allocated to the purchase and maintenance of public art.  Through this program the State recognizes that “public art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment, and pride for all citizens.” 

This art commission will be for the design and construction of a Medicinal and Wellness Garden.

ARTIST ELIGIBILITY: This call is open to all artists.  Applications may be submitted individually or in collaboration with others. The panel will not discriminate against any applicant artist on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or physical challenges. Excluded from participation are RISCA Council members, staff and their family members as well as Public Art Selection Panel members and their families.

If you have questions about the RFQ, email Elizabeth Keithline: Elizabeth@arts.ri.gov.    If you require technical support for CAFÉ, please email cafe@westaf.org


The new Medicinal & Wellness Garden will be a strong component of URI’s approach to learner-centered education.  It will feature an educational display of medicinal plants, herbal plants, and spices and also function as a conservatory source of standard specimens. The garden will aid in the study of pharmacognosy and help illustrate sources of plant-derivative drugs.  Beyond serving as a botanical resource, the garden will inspire the visitor to explore man’s relationship to nature and the natural environment’s role in human wellbeing. The garden will be a unique work of art, a landscape that engages science, nature, aesthetics, and human spirit.

 The new garden will replace and relocate plants from existing Heber W. Youngken Medicinal Garden, established in 1958 adjacent to Fogarty Hall on the Kingston Campus.  The existing garden has functioned as an educational display of medicinal plants, herbs, and spices and a conservatory source of standard specimens. The brick pathways which crisscrossed the ¼ acre formal style garden provided easy access for visitors to examine the labeled plants.  A list of medicinal plants in the current medicinal garden can be referenced at:

Other issues include: The site encompasses approximately 15,275 sf. The scope of the Work includes the design and installation of all permanent landscaping, the initial seasonal medicinal garden plantings (including existing plants transferred from the existing garden), additional medicinal garden development as defined by the accepted design-build plan, all surface materials and related substrate preparation, walkways, paths, planting beds, sculpture, walls, and other artistic structures, surface and subsurface site drainage systems leading to existing storm drainage systems, site lighting within the garden, irrigation or other water systems required to sustain plantings. The scope will include all labor related to the artist’s installation, permit fees, equipment, supervision, testing services, RI engineer’s stamp, and all other costs incurred in the delivery of the finished installation. 

Handicapped accessibility and wheelchair access is important and the garden must be able to be experienced by sight and mobility impaired. ADA requirements apply to the final commissioned work.

The Work should demonstrate environmentally sensitive landscape design.  Water management is a key element, and the accepted design will demonstrate good management of storm water drainage to avoid erosion or adverse water retention in planting areas.  Rainwater is available from roof surfaces and its storage and use for irrigation is encouraged.

Durability and sustainability of the Work is very important and the college is committed to keeping the new Medicinal Garden maintained.  However, there will not be a dedicated gardening staff to oversee its care – the maintenance if the garden will be carried out by faculty, students, and URI’s Master Gardener Program: http://www.uri.edu/ce/ceec/mastergardener.html  Thus designs with elaborate maintenance requirements should be avoided.

The Work should include artistic sculptural or structural components that can be viewed from the neighboring buildings, as well as experienced within the garden.  It should have year-round aesthetic interest, especially in the winter months when plants are dormant or temporarily removed to greenhouses.

In order to integrate the College of Pharmacy’s research and educational needs within the garden design, the design process must be participatory with representatives of the college and responsive to their requirements.



 Please note: This Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is the first step in the URI public art selection process. 

 RISCA will conduct the URI Public Art application process online, with all materials submitted in digital format through CaFÉ (see below). There is no charge to the artist for applying or for submitting digital images.   At this preliminary selection stage, we are requesting submissions from artists or art teams consisting of six (6) images representing current work (completed within the past five years), resumes, and very brief descriptions of potential site-specific proposals.  If an artist wants to apply as an individual as well as part of a team, two separate CaFÉ profiles and two separate CaFÉ applications must be completed (i.e., one application submission for you and one application submission for your team). Applications consisting of six images, answers to designated questions, and resumes will be reviewed by the URI Public Art Selection Panel to assess the quality and appropriateness of the artist’s work, interest in their proposal idea, and the artist’s ability to carry out a substantial public art commission.

Applicants are asked only to provide a short description of their proposal for artwork at the site along with a rough outline of expenses for the design and construction totaling no more than $500,000. Three finalists will be selected from the pool of RFQ applicants and those finalists will craft detailed proposals including an itemized budget, scale models and renderings, and an in-depth project description. For this they will each be paid an honorarium of $2,500. This stipend includes all travel expenses: hotel, transportation, mileage, etc., for both the site visit and the subsequent presentation meeting. Finalists will not be reimbursed separately for any travel costs.

 No slides or hard copy materials will be accepted for this call. First time CaFÉ applicants must allow enough time to prepare their CaFÉ formatted digital images and electronic submission prior to the deadline. CaFÉ surveys have shown that it takes approximately 2-4 hours to prepare images and submit an online application, dependent on a variety of factors.

 Each application must be submitted via the CaFÉ ™ web site (www.callforentry.org) and must include:

 A current resume for each artist. If you are applying as a team, include all team member resumes within one document.  

 Six digital images of relevant artwork. In the Description of Image, accompanying image annotation must list media, size, title, date of completion and a brief description of the artwork if necessary.  Please do not present more than one view of artwork per image.  If you wish to show a “detail”, include it within the six (6) artwork images.

 A written statement, not to exceed 2000 characters, that addresses the artist’s/team’s preliminary concept or potential approach for creating site-specific public art for URI’s Medicinal & Wellness Garden as well as the proposed project budget.  The artist’s budget must list artist’s team commission fees, anticipated cost of the installed work, and anticipated administrative costs.


 June 4,  2010 at 5:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) Deadline for submissions

Late-June 2010: panel meeting for selection of semifinalists

July 2010: Artist notification

September 2010 (TBA): Finalist site visits

October 2010 (TBA): Finalist presentations to selection panel

November, 2010: Final approval by RISCA Council

tba: Contract signed

tba: Work installed and completed

According to law, final recommendations of the selection panel will be presented to the governing council of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts who will have final approval of the public art selection.

Finalists’ site-specific proposals should convey artists’ ideas and plans through designs, renderings and/or scale models with a statement that describes the project’s intent, proposed materials, fabrication and installation methods, and an itemized budget. Artists chosen as finalists are also asked to explain how their artwork will be sourced and fabricated.  The finalists will be supplied with plans, photographs, and specific information about the College of Pharmacy and the URI campus. A site visit as well as a meeting with the architect and the URI administration will be scheduled for the finalists.  An honorarium of $2,500 will be awarded to the finalists following presentation of their proposals. The proposals will remain the property of the artist. However, RISCA reserves the right to retain proposals for up to one year for display purposes and the right to reproduce final proposals for documentation and public information purposes.

The Public Art Selection Panel reserves the right to determine which proposal will be funded and the extent of funding. The panel also reserves the right to not accept any final proposal submitted. If the recommendations of the Public Art Selection Panel are approved by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the selected artist/s will enter into contract with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for the selected commission. The accepted artwork will be owned and maintained by the State of Rhode Island.


The panel will select the artist based on the following criteria:
Artistic Quality: Quality and suitability of the final proposal in relation to the project description, program goals and site descriptions.
Intellectual Expression: Work that is intellectually engaging and reflects the potential of man to explore Nature to better understand and improve the human condition.
Research and Educational Aspects: Attentiveness to the College of Pharmacy’s needs for maintenance of a medicinal plant conservatory and demonstration garden.
Ability of the Artist’s Team: The artist’s ability to carry out the commission, to keep the project within budget, and to complete and install the work on schedule.
Value: The quality and scope of the proposed completed work in relation to the commission and fees paid to the artist’s team.
Durability of the Work: Permanence and durability of materials for this heavily used public facility. It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure that all artwork meets safety standards, adheres to building codes and other state regulations. Artworks must be durable and require minimal maintenance.
Collaborative Spirit: Willingness of the artist to consult with the architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, general contractor and building staff (or designated representatives) to assure smooth integration of the artwork into the site and to make necessary adjustments in relation to building codes and other construction issues.

Healthcare + Wellness

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